A tradition begins anew.

Shortly after Brenda and I were married over 4o years ago.  Did I mention that we met in High school?  “Yes Bob, only 100 times so get on with it.”  Anyway,  we joined Mystic Seaport shortly after we were MARRIED OVER 40 YEARS AGO and one way that we celebrated special occasions during all those years was to go for a “cruise” aboard the Sabino at Mystic Seaport.   We were poor, she was wonderful and it didn’t cost much.

Our routine has been to arrive with wine and cheese and join her for her two hour “cocktail cruise” down the Mystic River.   It’s always a lovely excursion and one of the highlights of summer for us.  Unfortunately, for many years we missed these outings while we lived in NJ as it was just too far for us to visit regularly. However, as we had many cruises to the Mystic area on our own boat, we always did our best to visit Mystic and enjoy evening cruises aboard the Sabino when we were able.

When we moved to CT about five years ago we were thrilled to be “back in the game”.   Unfortunately, as luck would have it, the seaport put the Sabino on the hard for a 2.5 year refit so while we were only a short drive from her, the classic “so near and yet so far” was an unfortunate reality.   Now all that’s behind us the Sabino “rides again” and she is just grand.

A few weeks ago Brenda and I were treated to a tour before she was really “ready for prime time” by her chief engineer, Jason.   In spite of it being a busy day, as he was working hard to get the Sabino ready for her debut, Jason invited us aboard for a look around.  It was wonderful to see her back in the water again although her decks and engine room were strewn with tools and workers that day.

But now her work is completed and all the time and money that’s been lavished on her really shows. She’s beautiful with her fresh paint and varnish.   This short video, narrated by her Captain David Childs is worth looking at.
Captain Dave is a very nice guy and I loved it when he was true to his word and invited children to the pilot house as we left the dock.  Unfortunately, his invitation didn’t include those of us that are is touch with their “inner child” so unless I move the decimal place on my age to 6.2, I can’t qualify.  Besides, I should qualify that as Brenda says I don’t act my age.  Not certain that she means this in a positive way.

Pilot house visit or not, back on the upper deck Brenda and our friends were all ready to set out our food and drinks.  I wonder what the crew would have thought if I had brought along a folding table to hold everything and I didn’t push my luck.   Notice the beautifully finished benches and the white rope lashings on the seats in the lower left of this photo.   Everything was just perfect. What a lovely view forward with her pennant waving in the breeze. On the lower forward deck others were enjoying the view. I spent some time watching the wake, a favorite pastime of mine, as we steamed our way toward the Sound. Of course, the “soul” of the Sabino is her wonderful little steam engine, the very same one that powered her along the Maine coast as a coastal ferry for so many years. Her new coal fired boiler glowing.
Every little detail down to the lacing on the steam pipe insulation is perfect. Nice job Jason. Brightly polished brass gauges keeping track of her “vitals”. As we finished up our cruise, Sabino made a final pass along the Seaport waterfront.  The Morgan, surely one of the most photographed ship in the US was positively glowing in the evening light. And this wonderful ships gig on the Seaports training vessel,  the Joseph Conrad. But perhaps the sight that brought back the most memories for me was the Cape Cod catboat, Breck Marshall.  This sweet boat is named after the man who perhaps had more to do with renewing interest in catboats when he founded Marshall Marine back in the 70s when he began making these iconic vessels in fiberglass, insuring that this classic design would endure.  The Breck Marshall is wood and honors the man that did so much to keep catboats alive.  When Brenda and I purchased our first boat together back in the late 70s , it was a 20′ catboat so these wonderful little boats will always be special to us. We had a wonderful time aboard the Sabino, the weather was perfect and we were cooled with a light SW breeze as we made our way down the river.  As we left the Sabino after our cruise, Captain Dave was gracious enough to pose outside of the bridge, complete with the ever present smile of a guy telegraphing that he too loves this little ship.  In the beginning twilight signifying the end to a wonderful evening.   I couldn’t resist one more look at the Sabino as we headed home. Brenda and I were thrilled to renew our tradition of cruising aboard the Sabino now that she’s back and back she is.  Indeed the Sabino is lucky to be at Mystic Seaport and the seaport is lucky to have her.

Dying to cruise aboard this little ship yourself?  Follow this link to learn more.

3 responses to “A tradition begins anew.

  1. Bill and I had our wedding reception on the Sabino after many, many bottles of champagne at the house. We had a Dixieland Band and we were “stranded” on the other side of the bridge when the bridge was “jammed” – the band, of course, had to play on. Great time! Glad to hear that you and Brenda have fond memories as well.

  2. Barbara Van Riper

    Great story, Bob. Did you know that Chris lives in Mystic? I will ask him if he knows of the Sabino.

  3. Great stuff. My oldest one is doing sailing camp on J Conrad next year. We heard great things about it

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