Chip Ford's 1974 Catalina 22 Restoration Project
Sail #3282  l  Marblehead, Massachusetts

My Introduction to Boat Restoration and Sailing:
The Even Song (1975-76)

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Click thumbnails for a larger picture


Even Song and crew at last and officially had begun our long-planned year's cruise, leaving our dock for the past couple of years behind forever.  That moment is one that none of us will ever forget; a bit melancholy but surging with excitement.  The adventure had begun.  None of us suspected what was to come, or how short-lived it would be.  (Oct. 21, 1976)

As we left Salem and Marblehead behind, heading out onto Massachusetts Bay we came across Ted Hood's 12-Meter "Independence," his new aluminum-hull America's Cup contender built to defend in 1977 the Cup he'd won in 1974 with "Courageous." I believe the other boat he's sparring with in practice runs was his Courageous.  Hood subsequently sold Courageous to Ted Turner, who sailed it to victory over Ted Hood the following year, taking the Cup from him.  Little did we know at the time just how soon we'd unexpectedly wind up in Newport, RI, home then of the America's Cup races.

Shelter from the Storm

Soon after we were on our way heading for the Cape Cod Canal, NOAA weather radio announced a nor'easter heading our way fast.  We'd reach the canal by mid-afternoon, then had to find a safe harbor.  We chose the westernmost of the Elizabethian Islands off Martha's Vineyard, Cuttyhunk.  Its harbor was, according to our cruising guide, sheltered and well-protected.

Cuttyhunk Island offered the best shelter to us while we could still push on, with its protected small inner harbor.  We arrived in the late afternoon and arranged a place at its dock.  The plan was to sit out the blow.

The next morning, Monica and I arose early, climbed onto the dock and took a walk around the island to see what we could see of the conditions.  It was certainly blowing, as this  shot of Cuttyhunk Island's Westend Pond and lighthouse attests, but we didn't need to move Even Song -- didn't expect we would.  (Oct. 22, 2007)

As we hiked around the island, the nor'easter's effect was obvious. 

We were glad we had a secure dock inside Cuttyhunk Pond and needn't venture out beyond its shelter.  When we got back to the boat, we'd share our observations.

Cuttyhunk is a strange and desolate place.  Despite my cajoling and politesse, I couldn't get us breakfast at the only restaurant.  They would only serve residents.  I did manage to get a half-gallon of milk and loaf of bread in someone's basement "store" to bring back to the boat, both frozen.

The hike had its high moments, like when Monica found a skate washed up on shore.

Wow, a photo of yours truly -- as the "official" ship's photographer they are few and far between.

We made it back to the boat a couple hours after leaving.  The rest of the crew had awakened and, it seemed, departure was still being discussed.  We informed them of our observations of the conditions -- counseled that we were lucky to be where we were . . .

But the general consensus was that we could handle heading out soon.  The plan was to sail across to New Bedford -- where there was more life and amenities.  Some of the local fishermen, hearing that we planned to depart, came down and warned us that now was not the time to leave -- too many boats had done so in similar conditions and were never heard from again.  Monica's and my votes were to remain where we were.  We were outvoted, and the Even Song moved out before noon . . . much to our later regret.  (Oct. 22, 1976)

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