Sometimes I wish I could yell “stop the action!” I’d like to freeze things long enough to truly savor the sight, concentrate on enjoying the emotions, the memories it brings to mind. One such moment happened when, late on a beautiful and breezy Sunday afternoon, I walked around the corner of the Situate Maritime Building and saw Larry seated in Seraffyn’s cockpit.
When we wrote to say we planned to drive to Boston and stop in Situate during our US tour, George Dow, who has owned our little Seraffyn for the past ten years, told us he would like to invite some of his friends and sailing mates for an evening with us. “I’ll have Seraffyn moored right in front so everyone can just step on board her if they want to,” he said. We arrived a few weeks after our letter and had a fine weekend with George and his family, then on Sunday Larry spent part of the day out sailing on the little ship that took us around the world so many years ago. (I’d been invited to share a lovely time with George’s wife Pam.) “I tried to use the best materials when we built her,” Larry told me after he came back from sailing. “ I hoped she’d last for 50 years. Guess she’ll make it ‘cause at 43 she’s looking great. George sure takes good care of her. Wait till you get on board.”
When we went back to the harbor for George’s gathering, Larry had rushed on ahead of me. So by the time I walked to a place where the building didn’t block the view to the water of this lovely bay, he was already seated in the cockpit, lounging back as comfortably as if he’d never been away from Seraffyn. Two folks were there with him and though I couldn’t hear his words, from his actions I could tell he was describing how the windvane worked to control the rudder which then controlled the boat’s course through the water. I stopped and memories flooded in, memories of the many times we’d come alongside docks in countries all over the world and folks had stopped to look at this handsome little classic, only to become fascinated by the simple details that made her so seaworthy. It a few minutes latter it seemed Larry had them on board, seated in her ample cockpit, offering them a glass of wine. Many of those casual encounters lead to friendships that carried us into the daily life of the places we visited.
On this day, Larry spotted me before I had time to savor the scene. “Come on down and see how well the mast has stood up,” he called. I climbed on board and went forward to caress the beautiful straight-grained spruce we’d carefully glued together. Then I climbed below and settled in to admire the new cabinetry that had been built in the galley to return “My boat’s” interior to the original layout. (it had been changed by her third owner to conform with his idea of a boat layout.) As I ran my eyes over the new and very nicely done woodwork, I noticed how well it blended into the old cabinetry. So little had changed since we built her. I felt right at home. Then I began to laugh. I rushed out to hug George who had just come down to the boat to join us. “You didn’t let them take out the dent,” I said. “Thanks you so much, that is a really important part of her life.” Yes, the deep dent right in the front of the varnished dish rack is a souvenir of her knockdown in a winter gale in the Baltic Sea. And everywhere I looked I saw memories, I saw reasons I wished I could stop time and recall each story. But George’s idea of a few friends was about 85 or 90 really great folks who had come along to share fresh oysters, lobster bisque, pulled pork sandwiches, wine and beer, sea shanty’s plus some sea stories. So time didn’t stand still, nor did I. What a special evening for us.
So now I look at the photos I took that day, the ones George sent along afterwards and do my remembering. The two weeks following that fine rendezvous with our past were just the beginning of our east coast tour. At each spot we’ve stopped to introduce Bull Canyon and to present sailing seminars, we have had encounters with folks we met during our Seraffyn days. Each has special memories of times on board a 24’4” long boat, that some would say, was too small for ocean voyage. But to us she was the perfect size, the perfect boat to fulfill the dreams of the young sailors we were when we finished building her.
Thank you George and Pam and family for caring for an important part of our life and for making us feel part of your special family.
Lin and Larry