Kiss the Wind, Sea, and Sky
by Arthur MacDonald

(click here for more information about MAIB)

The lead photo shows a steady wind on a gorgeous September afternoon, inside the Breakers at Crescent Beach, an extension of Revere Beach. This is the site of the famous dance hall. Holt's Pier, extending out on top of Cherry Island Bar. Knobby piles are all that's left of the landmark Big Band era hot spot. All the swingers frequented this huge artistic hall, it was the age of swing, jitterbug, and Charleston dancing.

My ancestors loved that place along with the Old Revere Beach, but I'm more of a today and tomorrow person, having only been there for some of the past tail end pieces and not the captain's cut. I am presently reading The Islands of Boston Harbor by Edward Rowe Snow (updated version), now when I go out to the many Islands in my Bolger/ Carnell sailboat, I'll know what the heck I'm looking at!

Once upon a time three years ago, I attended a teenage anti-substance abuse coalition meeting and I suggested that Phil and Dave's sailboat was the best design suggested by me to suit the over all needs of the endeavor, a safe, dry, stable, simple, nicely priced, potentially feasible do all sailboat. The materials used in the construction process were frowned upon by some of the members who were unable to fathom the concept of this boat (scary). One member asked what if it pops a seam! Another asked whom will you sail with, in that this Renegade boat has no class definition!

I replied, we can sail with each other to various destinations, with actual headings (accomplishing adventures) in and around the Boston Islands. He was quiet. I think sailing around aimlessly is less exciting after a short time, but some folks are satisfied with that. I want to beach and disembark after a while of sailing and scout around a little.

The Bolger/Camell sailboat was shot down by the coalition, so I built two of them to prove my suggestion was a valid one. Now two years later, after hard use and trailering, the boats are fine.

Now the coalition is showing some interest in using my boats and my building experience to interest the kids and parents in sailing and building this design as a kicker to the already active Sea Kayak Program which is in its third year.

I love changing around the sail for a little discovery here and there, but so far the lateen style always proves the most desirable and the snotter will get that forward point almost parallel with the mast, allowing you to install a forward traveler and a self adjusting jib or a Genoa. However, the boat is plenty powerful with just a main. Sometimes it's overpowered so this chicken is going to install reefs.

I got caught up in a September squall last year which had me damn near dismasted, had to beach on Gallops Island and the ride home after two hours on the island was hair raising under full sail; damn if I didn't need every ounce of seagoing experience. The wind and waves would have liked to give me a damn heart attack!

The 14' mast was bowed like a Ziti! Reefs please. Ground kissing thanks was appropriate if we live through this one. When I finally reached the Winthrop public launch ramp the sail was on the wrong side to execute my approach and at the last second I jibed and skidded up the ramp hollering, "look out!" A fellow on the ramp was watching in awe at my maneuvering and the boom was about to take him out. "Now that's sailing," he said. Little did he know that I was sailing to avoid death! But then again I do love the thrill, heck I'm only 51 and it's just another log on the fire.

Cruising Boston Harbor in this renegade type sailboat was an especially entertaining venture last season because the Winthrop State Ramp is very close to Logan International Airport and the sailboat sure looks international, especially to the United States Coast Guard!

As I approached the radar pier and runway the big orange Zodiac full of C.G. boys had a bead on me and were on their way towards me, now I fully knew what this sailboat looked like to them. Stopping 100 yards short of this lateen sail Nile River oriented terror craft, they stalked me for about a half hour, only then realizing my innocent tactics, as I headed the other way in an effort to escape Logan Airport and the vortex of landing jet craft.

Our little plywood boat sure does attract a lot of attention in Boston Harbor, including a lot of curious picture takers and yellers. "Is that a Bolger hull," I hear from the larger sailboats and yachts. I can only answer yes, so they can relate. The big party boats go nuts picture taking, am I a show off or what!

Congrats to Phil and Dave for their expertise in design and simplification. I will be spearheading the effort in 2003 if all goes well.