My husband and I never sailed or ever thought about this subject until one day out of the blue he said, “I want to learn how to sail”. “Okay” I said. “Why?”? We didn’t live on the water at that time. We weren’t associated with other sailors or owned a boat. I was perplexed.
We were young and eager to start a family together that would last a lifetime. He, more than I, started to read more and more about sailboats, and cruising, as well as where to go and what to do. We started visiting boat shows and chartered a 26 ft. boat in 1971 on Long Island Sound to see if our family of two young boys, ages three and five would be comfortable aboard.
I was very pregnant with our daughter, who was born on Oct 20th. We found a boat that was perfect for our needs and experience at that time; 26’ Grampian. After many hours of conversations with other sailors as well as sailboat dealers, we ordered a shiny new Grampian 26’ sailboat from a dealer in Annapolis, MD.
Our new boat was chosen to be displayed at the upcoming boat show. We could not go to the boat show at that time as we were awaiting the delivery of another kind; the birth of our daughter, Victoria.
After the boat show, the dealer sailed our shiny new boat up the coast to Atlantic Highlands, along the New Jersey Coast, where my husband took possession. As you know, all boats must be registered with the state. Also, most boats have a name. Our boat’s name was “CIRCE”.
As an English major in college and a high school English teacher, I was aware of Greek mythology. One ancient goddess’s name came to my mind quickly, “CIRCE”. Circe was a goddess whose siren song warned the ships of the dangers of rocks and hazards of the sea. Iimmediately thought of her and was confident that she would do the same for us.
Well, we now own a boat. My husband, his father and our oldest son sailed our new, shiny white sailboat to her new berth in Stamford, CT. I sometimes wondered what my husband was most excited about: baby/sailboat or sailboat/baby. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt. After two rambunctious little boys, I am sure it was his daughter who took first place instead of his new boat. But it surely was a close call!
After all these many years, we still have our daughter and sons, but the first and second boats are gone. Our newest one, named GRENDEL, is still here after 29 years. She remains a magnificent vessel. For those who asked about her name, she is named after the “Fen Dragon” from the ancient tale of “Beowulf.
For those who ask ”why”, all I can say is that Grendel was a strong and valiant creature who guarded the spoils of the sea from intruders. No, he was not warm and fuzzy. However, he was full of determination. Beowulf on the other hand, slew the mighty dragon so all might benefit from the spoils of the sea. I know that my analogy is farfetched. I look at it this way. Grendel, (a.k.a. our boat,) protects us from the dangers of the sea. She watches over us so that only those who belong on or near our vessel are permitted. Hopefully, Grendel commands the happenings on the sea and sees that we are safe.
In the saga, Beowulf, still controlled the wrath of Gendel by killing him and sending him forever to be a part of the sea where he can never harm any more sailors who wish to visit his lair.
Frances is a Commodore of the Seven Seas Cruising Association and a member of Sailing Association of Marco Island and AP United States Power Squadron.