829 Southdrive

829 Southdrive

A New Jersey state of mind

Friday, December 7, 2012

Crew Trophy or Trophy Crew?

I've still got most of my crew trophies, made from silver, pewter, wood,
cotton, and this one which has actually gotten the most mileage by far.
 It's spent time in my garage, bookshelf, and summers down below in Bay
Rhumb. Sometimes your least conspicuous possessions
carry the most weight, and this piece is no exception.

Dad and I had a few good years, actually a few really good years
racing the Penguin together before I plain just got too big for the
boat.  Here I am, 11 years old and no doubt big for my age but
still shorter than my Dad.  Three years later, I would be almost five
inches taller than him, and a bit heavier.  From 1969 through '72, we 
raced all the BBYRA races, as well as Toms River Fall and Spring
 Series, Bay Head Frostbites, New Years Day on Long Island and 
Staten Island, a few memorial regattas, Downer regattas, 
Metedeconk River Yacht Club Labor Day Handicap Races around 
Herring Island. Gibson Island, Tred Avon, Severn River, Miles River,
 Choptank, Packanack Lake, Carnegie Lake for God's sake, Gobbler 
Bowl, Turkey Bowl, the frickin' Schuylkill (with Carnegie, two of the 
most God-awful places to race sailboats, but the best to row boats),
Cooper River, the Delaware, the Potomac (with a thermos of hot
buttered rum for the skipper)  Region IIs, ACs, Nationals, and one
Internationals in Babylon NY.  A local sailor, Mel Reid, won with
 South American sailors in the next few spots.  I remember being
glad that an American won, and I'll never forget the trophy 
presentation.  Somebody put one of those fake rubber puddles
of vomit in the silver bowl that Mel was presented.  One of my
most vivid memories.  I was 10.  Maybe that explains things.

Gibson Island, home of Penguin legend Len Penso.  I clearly remember
sailing there, but maybe we didn't do so well, hence the generic no 'place'
designation on the 'trophy'.  I chuckle to myself when I think what may have
been the reason that I, as an eight year old, got custody of this ashtray.
It's clear that this trophy has also gotten some serious mileage.
There may have been some foresight involved in the decision.

Following are some of the duties expected of the crew.

The crew must procure the donuts at the registration table he has
 been thinking about since 6 a.m.  Jelly and cream-filled are 
priorities. Arrival time dictates whether
 or not they will be obtained. 

The crew must fend other boats while skipper sails boat without
rudder secured in gudgeons due to the shallow water.

The crew must pull string during tacking to twist the mast so it is 
pointing toward the wind.

The crew must hike in a puff and get the hell down in a lull.

The crew shall be seen and not heard.

The crew shall not point one's finger in any direction, so as not to 
give any trailing boats a hint as to what crew's boat may do next.  

The crew shall make sure no lines are dragging overboard, so as not
to slow the boat down.

The crew shall not drag one's hand in the water as a result of being 
bored to death in light or no-wind races, so as not to 
slow the boat down.

The crew shall not move suddenly or jerkily, so as not to alter the 
course of the boat, or slow the boat down.

The crew shall be seen and not heard.

In my garage.  The two championship banners I grabbed from my
Old Man's house after he died.  The rooster and qualifier flag I got
as well.  These represent the 'cotton' trophies.  I was a part of the
two big banners, the rooster came after I got too big, and the '53
flag came when I was but a twinkle in my Dad's eye.  That one may
have been the very first year he sailed in the BBYRA.  I knew then, 
that may be one worth grabbing. 


  1. Wow, you spelled Schuylkill right. That adds a certain air of authenticity to this post.

    But where was the sailing? I was up and down the East River Drive all the time, especially during my last years in Philly and don't remember seeing anything but rowing sculls and Canadian geese there.

    1. Ours was probably the first and last time ever that there was sailboat racing on the Schuylkill. You probably took a different route that day.

  2. Very cool...wait, you were 11 back in 72! My God, you're approaching Tillerhood.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Why? How the F old are YOU Caballo? :)

    3. I'm so old that I remember Fred and Wilma.

  3. man, I am jealous of the sailing memories you have with your dad. great to read and see the old pictures.

  4. I bet your Dad got an even bigger kick out of all those years sailing with you than you did.

    1. Probably. Honestly, it didn't mean too much to me at the time, except for the donuts. It was just something that was expected of me. Years later is when I realized how lucky I was and now I'd give anything to sail with him again.

    2. Having known Jim (my dear and redoubtable uncle) so well, Baydog's recitation of the crew's duties sounds to me like a complete transcription of his dad's communication with him while in the boat together. It was definitely not an occasion for small-talk exchange with the future blog-loquacious Baydog.

      Did he mention that the crew shall be seen and not heard?

      He was, and would be today, so very proud of his boy. I can only imagine how enriching/entertaining his commentary would be on this blog were he with us today.

      And there is another fine fellow (Baydog's Uncle Don) who also would have absolutely thrived in his nephew's enlightened corner of the blogosphere.

      If only. How we dearly miss them!

    3. You have a way with words, Mojo. If only.

  5. Tears in my eyes.....Bay wife

  6. Seen. Not heard. Got it. Working on the pointing thing.

    1. The "no-pointing" rule is a subject of much contention on our boat. When Trophy Wife (aka Light Wind Specialist) is in command & on the helm, it is strictly enforced "so as not to
      give any trailing boats a hint as to what crew's boat may do next"
      . I maintain that as long as no one on our crew can point, no one on board can express the foggiest idea was WTF we might do next. When I'm at the helm, everyone else on board is pointing in different directions. I don't think pointing gives anything away....

    2. And yes, when I'm steering, there are some trailing boats. Some....

  7. This was a great post. You are spot on. When we are young, we do not realize the true value of what our fathers and/or mothers are trying to impress upon us. Then we become parents and it all becomes overwhelming clear. Your dad taught you skills and now you have made those skills into a passion. God speed Baydog!