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All Is Well That Ends

It is the end of the charter season in Newport, RI. I can tell because the very full charter schedule of this summer fell off a cliff and anchorages are increasingly empty. Yet it has been great sailing still, which is why I say that if you like to sail, fall in New England is a good time to charter a sailing boat.

The 2018 charter season has brought the most diversity from age to backgrounds since Cénou was offered for charter in 2012. The youngest guest to make the climb from the tender to the vessel was six years old and the oldest was eighty one. The eighty one year old did better than fifty percent of people half that age!

What I enjoy most about chartering, aside from the sailing, is the range of people I get to meet and spend time with. This year has of course been “political” as it seems no one could leave the subject alone. If a charter was five days, politics would surface like a whale on day three. If the charter was six hours it would be a full breach, tail included, by the third hour but sometime sooner.

Politics was out on the water too. For the first time I saw flags with the word “Trump” on vessels. They were invariably motor vessels. Then Newport had a small invasion of rainbow flags in late July. Those were both power and sail, a true show of diversity.

In any case, the focus for me was not politics but figuring out what to do next. From a charter stand-point this year was unusual in two ways. I only had two bookings for the whole season by mid-June which had me nervous. Yet it turned out to be the busiest season ever. People sought to book sometime on the same night, as if the vessel is a hotel and sometimes I would have several calls a day for the next day. But the boat is not a hotel and the last thing I want to be is someone’s back up plan. The second unusual part was the amount of day sails booked as well as one night stays. It had me running to the laundromat more often than I envisioned when I first thought about doing this.

While chartering out of Newport and sailing daily is certainly not a job to complain about, I found it has a way of being exhausting when done alone. Prepping the boat, sailing, holding conversation, thinking out the weather, answering all the questions ahead of time day in and day out all adds up. In other words there was a lot of pre-boarding work for each daysail charter when a multi day charter only requires this once. And the vessel actually gets to go places when sailing out for multiple days. Cénou is designed to travel and remain independent for long periods of time. Sailing a fifty mile stretch a few days ago with the boat pushing and surfing through the back of quartering waves, it felt like this was what Erik Lerouge meant when he designed the boat. Cénou was where it should be, out on the ocean, going places fast but nowhere in particular.

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