The Schooner Sara B Log

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July 01, 2008     Post 22
A Schooner Gam (with Ketches)

Sara B, crew Susan and Jim, sailing to the Gam
On the longest day of the year, marked by the 8th International Sailstice Observance, Sara B joined a half dozen other two masters for a gam at Sodus Point. From Hamilton at the lake's west end, and from Mexico Bay at it's east end, and from points between, five schooners and one ketch converged. Sara B with Chris, Sue, and Jim Aspenwall chugged down on a calm but beautiful first day of summer. Upon entering the bay, she saw Liberty gliding along with everything up, and Lotus enjoying a gentle bay sail. It was the first sail of the year for 90 year old Lotus and her young crew and she had a good number of kids aboard, nearly a dozen, I think. They looked grand, especially Liberty who had topsail and fish flying, along with her lowers.

We passed the evening with sea stories and various boat talk. After dinner Ramsey's Dream came rolling in. Ramsy Luddington and his son had come up from Mexico Bay under power. Ramsey's husky big Tahiti ketch complete with proud figure head, was a sight to stir the heart of any do-it-yourselfer. It took Ramsey fifteen years to complete her. He said he couldn't have done it with out David. "Dave's a tiger for work" he said with a smile.

At noon Saturday we were to converge for a skippers meet for the gam's single organized event on the water, a boat parade. Host and sponsor Bob Wood of the Sodus Bay Captain's Association and the Sodus Bay Yacht Club had worked hard on the parade. We'll converge in the lake and parade down the channel he told us. We'll then proceed across and around the end of the bay maintaining a distance of half a foot ball field between the boat ahead. Keep track of the boat in front of you. Each skipper was then given a paper with the ordered list of boats, and the club's resident ketch Champaign penciled in as she had decided to join at the last moment. Marinna, the smallest and presumably slowest boat, would set the pace by going first.

At 1 pm a dozen or so sail and power boats plus one amphibious DUCK were milling around the entrance under the watchful eye of the Wayne County Sheriff. Channel 9 was busy with comments - Where's the Coast Guard Auxiliary? Which one is Sara B? Is Lotus out here yet? Five minutes until start!

Ramsey with Ramsey's Dream on the right
The boats fell in line about ten minutes later and set off down the channel and a sweet little lake breeze filled their sails. A number of folks stood on the west jetty waving and snapping photos. Pretty soon the breeze freshened a tad, and Sara B began creeping up on the Coast Guard auxiliary outboard skiff in front of her. We sheeted in hard, hoping to slow her down. Hurry Marinna! Faster! As we rounded Charles Point, I looked aft.

Sixty foot Solstice Moon, now gliding across the water with real authority leaned to the wind with her tall main mast and stay sail rig spreading an impressive amount of canvas. She was a splendid sight. Ramsey's Dream was steaming along too, coming up hard on the outside, and Liberty had caught up, so the three boats with an aggregate 47 tons among them were in a line abreast and closing fast. The heck with going slow -let's get outa the way! Sara B's crew cracked sheets and swung wide passing the boat ahead. As the 'parade' disintegrated into a grand glorious reach down the bay, the point of sail schooners and ketches love best, the organizer called to his unruly little fleet over Channel 9 "Well, it looks like the parade has broken up. Let's go sailing!" And so they did.

Solstice Moon, center, and Ramsey's Dream, left

The amphibious Duck parade escort

Solstice Moon

Liberty with Ramsey's Dream chasing - photo by Alison Wheeler's brother

Onboard Solstice Moon - photo by Alison Wheeler's brother


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