A fine ending to a week long cruise. Newport Harbor.

Ken and I ended up our cruise with two days in Newport secure on a mooring at the New York Yacht Club.    This club, one of the most prestigious in the world, does not offer reciprocity with any but a very small number of yacht clubs, two I think.

For this reason, visiting the club requires you to do so in the company of a member.  Ken is a member so off we went to Newport.

The run from Cuttyhunk to Newport began very sportily, with east winds behind us beginning with a squall in the upper 20s.   As we rounded the point to head west to Newport we were treated to a rainbow.  Perhaps not the most perfect one but a rainbow, never the less. We sailed the entire way to the mouth of Narraganset bay when the wind shifted to the north and on the nose as we made our way the last few miles to Newport harbor.

The Castle Hill Light, still maintained by the USCG was completed in 1890.  It was the first sight that greeted us as we headed up the Bay.  It is always a treat to see the grand hotels that overlook the Bay. With all the investments going on with wind power, this brand new service ship is evidence of all the jobs that this emerging sector is bringing to the area.  And, in the background a house perched on a rock that’s been there since the early 1900s.   It’s called “Clingstone” as someone once remarked that it was “a peach of a house”.   This “cottage” is 10,000 square feet with 23 rooms.    Check out this link to learn more about this remarkable home.

I love visiting Newport for all the wonderful boats and all it’s history.  For decades Newport was the playground of the ultra rich in the days before income tax.  Today, well, it’s still for the very well heeled.  And, the center of all that is, arguably, Harbor Court, the Newport “clubhouse” for the New York Yacht Club, once the summer home of the Brown family, founders of Brown University.

The home was purchased in the 80s by the club and renovated to serve members as it does today. The club is very focused on all things sailing with a huge and active member racing fleet.  This video is highlights of the 2022 Rolex race week.  It gives a good feel for the true international reach of the club.The number of “tenders” is evidence of how much goes on during the summer. In the evenings members line up on the bluff overlooking the bay for an “adult beverage”.   A spectacular “bespoke” view, just like the clothing that they sport when they are “out to be seen”.    It’s quite a spot.  Here, a view of the back of the clubhouse from the formal gardens.
Imagine having a pond of lotus behind your home.    It’s always hard for me to understand how something that looks so tropical is hardy in our winters. Each of these flowers is the size of a grapefruit. And beautiful architecture isn’t limited to the huge mansions.   As you walk on side streets one home is more beautiful than the next. And what New England city is complete without a church with a white steeple.
Or a home with a turret that evokes the style of a lighthouse?  I’d be curious of who owns this place but can’t find any reference. Touristy of not, Ken and I enjoyed a lovely lunch overlooking the harbor in Bannister’s wharf, downtown.    It was a busy place, even on a weekday.And off to the side, Rumrunner II, built back in 1929 for some NJ mobsters to smuggle, well rum, among other illicit liquors.  Now she is an elegant day boat that gives tours of the harbor.  Your group is large?  No problem, she can manage a group of dozens for a tour of the harbor and bay.  Tennis anyone?   If you follow the sport I am sure that you have visited the Tennis Hall of Fame.  It’s an elegant place and a throwback to earlier times. Makes me want a mint julip, whatever that is.   Nice gardens. Well, it’s nice to be home again but I have to admit that I am already thinking about when we can get back aboard Pandora.  Still lots to do to prepare for her run to Antigua in November. 

Not a lot of time left as I have a reservation at a marina in Hampton in late September for a month before our departure.

For now, all I can say is that visiting Newport and the NYYC was a fine ending to a wonderful week afloat with my old friend, and we are all getting old it seems, Ken.


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