By Patrick Daniels
(originally published in Goat Island Skiff Amateur Style and the Sea Pearl 21 Too, April 2015)
Oh man, where to begin!!?!? So I made up my mind to build a dang boat finally. Even decided what type: The famed Goat Island Skiff of story and song. I had begun to cast about for some decent building space. New York City is not a great place to seek shop space for a labor of love like a small sailboat, so my search was fruitless and plagued with daydreams of tents in the mother-in-laws yard or a temporary shop in a storefront in a rundown neighborhood…
Anybody got a shop I can borry part time for like the next 2 years or so? While I figure out how to build this boat as I build it…?
Well I am not a big fan of “The Universe Will Provide” but the way things go some times what else is there to say? You make your luck. So I hooked up with DaveL. who had recently completed his GIS and was looking for crew for BIG ADVENTURE TIME. I thought “well here’s an opportunity to have a sail or two in my chosen vessel” kind of a try before you buy kinda thing. Suffice to say, I ended up aboard GIS “Chivita” bound for adventure on the Long Island Sound and most epic of all in NY Harbor!!?!
in very close proximity to Lady Liberty and all her attendant craft big and small. Amazing and wonderful to say the least. Cap’n Dave at the helm ( I got some too!) and we sailed to and fro near Liberty Island and then made our way up the Hudson to visit the Entrepid on Mahattan’s west side. What a day! This day became more sailing and aboard Dave’s brother’s yacht Flor D’Luna, a fine and comfortable Beneteau Oceanis 34′.
Transit from Liberty Landing marina to her home port in Glen Cove at Brewer Yacht Yard was in the offing:
Through the East River and Hell Gate out into the Long Island Sound… A sailing weekend that started at a public ramp in New Jersey aboard a tiny yet beautiful hand crafted wooden dinghy (GIS Chivita) and ended with a cool beverage aboard a swanky modern yacht (SV Flor D’Luna) Whoa! how did that happen??!! You make yer luck.
So the Summertime rolled and I got to go aboard Flor D’Luna a coupla more times, all the while dreaming of my GIS in waiting and my magical NYC Storefront boatyard…
Come the winter and Cap’n Rick of the good ship Flor D’ Luna made it known that he would be entering the lady Flor in the Around Long Island Regatta. For those ignorants, (few and far between of course) this regatta starts in the Atlantic Ocean off Rockaway Beach, Queens NY, heading East, leaves Montauk Light to port and finishes some time later in Glen Cove Long Island, Home port of the Seacliff Yacht Club, Regatta Sponsor, and Flor’s home slip as well. Would I crew? Heck yeah! Sailing day and night? Excellent! Multiple days aboard Flor D’Luna? COOOOL!!! You make yer luck. Planning commenced and soon the crew manifest was full: a salty bunch of fools the lot! Ideas and Questions and Charts and What Goes Where and EPIRB and Harness etc. etc.and all the while looking at pictures and videos of various Goats, and the one in particular that is I Am Zinea, Pteradactylus. You know the one:
No question that Callsign has truly captured the essence of something very intense and special with his builder and sailor blog about boaty exploits along the rugged and spectacular Maine coast. At least since somewhere within 2012 I had been ogling the scenery and the sailing within GIS Amateur Style: this is exactly what I envisioned I just didn’t know it till I saw it here.
Spring begins to crack open a bit in 2014, and I get a message from DaveL amongst the planning and dreaming and ogling… Callsign is selling his boat! IAZ,P is in need of a new skipper as Sea Pearl Scout becomes the Adventure Realization Engine Callsign needs to fulfill further Adventure Realizing! IAZ,P is for sale!!!!???!?! Hurriedly, breathlessly, I send an email and I join a woodenboat forum. Hey Dude! I want that boat!!! Emails are exchanged and a plan begins to formulate: we will meet to look over the boat, but where? Well, it turns out that about halfway between us is a little town in Connecticut where Callsign’s ancestral manse is located, complete with ancestors (very charming folk indeed) white picket fences, a town dock, you get the picture. Very Boaty.
When I arrive IAZ,P is on a trailer behind Callsign’s car. After lunch and a chat with the parental units, we look her over and turn her over and “…here’s this ding and that scuff…” “…rig this tie that…” and like that. Stashed her bottoms up in the grass in front of the house keeping company with a slightly sagging Aquarius relaxing into her trailer bunks. I am bursting with amazement at my luck. Imma buy this boat from this guy! Came time to fork over the cash so I did. What came next? Well, Callsign gave me back some of my cash and handed over a really nice bottle of rum. The good stuff! What a Prince this fellow is! A real reverse haggler. What you might call potlatch I guess in the give better than you get vein. Afterwards, a stroll to the waterfront, a coffee, and good conversation about sailing, water, life, current and tide… y’know, the important stuff. We agreed that I would retrieve the boat from the parental yard within some small space of time, (Thanks Mama Callsign!)
Well now what? I bought a boat with no place to put her!!??
Of course I had some ideas and possibilities, and certainly there are yards and marinas and mother in laws… all storage potentials (some more dubious than others) and none quite right for a fine craft such as Ms. Zinea.
Well, I go to the internet one day (as we do) searchword “small boat storage NYC” or some stupidness like that and there on the glowing screen is the website of the Sebago Canoe Club. Cool. I went down to Canarsie, Which is on Jamaica Bay in South Brooklyn to check out the facilities. I met up with JimL and Beth E. and signed up for Conditional membership. Huh. That was easy. “Yeah bring the boat on down, we’ll find a place over there for her. Buy yourself a dolly.” Which I did. The Brothers LaFontaine and Cap’n Paulie, (Skipper of GIS Kathleen Marie) volunteered to help load and transport IAZ,P, and get this: we cartopped her from Connecticut to Canarsie on a Saturday in late May. Full on Beverly Hillbillies action.
Hilarious and wonderful. Cap’n Paulie saw us safely down I95 til we got to his exit and sent us on our way with some positive words about the state of our tied down to the roof of the ManVan boat. JimL was at the Club when we arrived and helped us get IAZ,P off the car and onto her dolly and ensconced in the yard.
From that point on, IAZ,P has plied the waters of Paerdegat Basin and Jamaica Bay with interest and abandon, beaching for lunch, running aground, dodging jet skis and fishing boats, sailing with her buds, capsizing a coupla times intentionally and not so intentionally, and teaching me volumes about sailing and my own self in the process. So great to spend the summer on the water with my family and new friends at Sebago.
and DaveL instigated a GIS meetup in the finger lakes at Cuyuga Lake in Central New York State. We cartopped IAZ,P there and back, again on the ManVan, and it seems she doesn’t mind the upside down time rolling at 60 knots, or at least she ain’t complaining…
What it all comes down to is this: I thought I was buying a boat and I bought a whole new lease on life. Sailing I Am Zinea, Pteradactylus has saved my life. I can be a happier, nicer, more rested, and slightly more reasonable human. At times I even move through the world with more purpose. This little boat brings everything into focus. The immediacy and presence of being on the water sailing carries over in many small ways to the rest of my time on this earth, and I am ready to get on the water as much as I can. It’s almost been a year now and it’s always time to go sailing.
And did I mention, We’re building a boat? You make your luck.