New England Trailer Sailors

Why I'm Glad I Belong to MOANE/NE-TS

By Tony DiStefano

August 5, 2003

Most of those who are reading this know "The Beep". She is a 1990 26S and usually in need of a wash. I purchased "The Beep" in 1997 and joined MOANE in 1998 starting in Allen Harbor (but the memory is gone so it may not have been there). I'm not a racer or constantly adjusting the sails. Most of the time I'm reading or just enjoying the music as the boat slips along. People have called over from other boats "to trim the sails" which wakes me up and remind me I do not want to be the last boat. What I'm trying to say is that I enjoy the peace, quiet and the beauty of sailing, not the challenge of how fast I can make my boat go (I might add at this point that when I'm in front it sure feels great!).

But this is not the point of the story. While on Lake Champlain this year "Mental Floss" had rudder problems. Bill was lucky enough to know people in the area who could provide the tools to fix the problem. Well we all are not that lucky, or maybe we are due to MOANE . I usually travel 4 to 5 hours on a Friday to sail for the weekend. "The Beep" carries enough of everything should I forget. Basically it is just put the full cooler on and go. Recently I chose to go to Buzzards Bay to sail with Ed Goodhue, and Barbara Garland and the three of us had a plan. We called Steve Silvia but he was on his way to a family vacation and could not go. Leaving early from work we met at the ramp by 5pm on Friday and were in the water by 6pm headed across the bay for the night. Ed said the water was a little bumpy but not to bad for the area. Remember sailing with Barbara means I have to pay attention to sailing not to other things (I'm trying to teach her my way, but not very well).

As we left Warehem Bay the wind picked up and we were flying with a reefed main and the jib. Actually pushing close to 7 knots. Then Barbara started to remind me that I was getting to far off the wind (boy do I take instructions well) I made corrections but had to continue doing so. Something was wrong. After checking the obvious things I looked over the stern and saw that the rudderpost had broken and the rudder was at an unusual angle.

We called Ed. Under his watch full eye and using the (new 4 stroke Honda with reverse) motor we were able to get back to the dock and Steve Silvia. This is the reason for this story. Here I was 4 and half hours from home with a broken rudder and Ed, with out being asked, sailed back to the dock to make sure we were ok then did a night sail back to his mooring across Buzzards Bay. The start of above and beyond for me! While motoring back to the dock Barbara became Roger and asked how are you going to fix this and what are you going to do. I sort of became Roger also as I said I'm not going to think about it now but we'll see what will happen at the dock, While all sort of things were going over and over in my mind. Mostly what I thought about was that I had a ruined weekend for 3 people because I have never checked the rudder connection. I also thought of the words of Sam Wycoff as he told me about his rudderpost problems while we were at the Willsboro launch ramp this year.

I'm sure most of you remember the Lone Ranger well in my case it was Steve Silvia. With the boat on the trailer in the parking lot, he tried to help me remove the rudder but when he realized I had Barbara, who is more than just a passenger but a person who kicks in and solves problems, he was off finding a welder among the fishermen. He did and made a date in the morning to fix my problem. A great dinner at a local restaurant (paid by Steve & Karen) and good night sleep on the boat for Barbara and I and a good breakfast for the 4 of us to start the day of repairs. The women had thing to do for the Sylvia vacation trip and Steve and I were off to the welders. To make a long story short after many stops and searches and a string of bad luck, there was no welder to find.

I had joked that there must be a welder in Steve's garage as there is everything else in it. There was and Steve stepped up to home plate (his work bench) and started to do magic. Not having welded in 5 years he took his time and ended showing what a master he is at it. The finished product was better than the original and by about 3pm we were on the water and headed out into Buzzards Bay. What can I say but a weekend that would have been ruined was saved. Had I not been a MOANE member I would be towing my boat back 4 and a half hours and had a bad week because I did not get my sailing fix.

Thank you Steve, thank you Ed and thank you Barbara. You all went out of your way to save the weekend. Especially Steve who put a boating problem before his packing for his family vacation. This is not a group, it is a family.

Thanks to all

The Beep

PS. Steve's work held up in some very rough seas and gave us a good ride but the post itself was bent and I had to order a new one thru "". They are building super rudderposts that should not break as mine did.