Silent Maid: Loud Statement
This 33-foot catboat, the reincarnation of a storied Barnegat Bay racer, is the latest success of a former Wall Streeter devoted to bringing classic wooden sailboats back to life. Yacht Style from our December 2012 issue.
A Ride to Remember
We rounded the leeward mark with a one-boat-length lead on Vapor. Elf and Windigo were still well behind. We now had a long beat back to the windward mark. With Aaron at the helm, I was free to look around and noticed that we were nearly fetching the next mark, which was about two miles away.
Both Silent Maid and Vapor tacked after rounding the mark to port. And then Vapor sailed through us to leeward: Yikes! She kept gaining bearing but was sliding off to leeward. After about 10 minutes, Vapor tacked to cover, but her crew didn’t see that a wind shift made it easy for both boats to fetch the windward mark.
I felt like yelling “Tack!” over to my friend Jenny, but fair is fair in a race. I didn’t say anything and instructed our crew not to look at Vapor’s crew—I didn’t want to give away our private knowledge that we were heading for the mark.
Vapor crossed us by two lengths and kept sailing away from the mark. When she finally tacked, we were well ahead and on the lay line.
Sometimes it’s good to be lucky. Silent Maid got the gun, and we won the regatta. I could visualize Sweisguth with a quiet smile and Mower, with his hands on the back of his head, wondering why Vapor didn’t cover soon after crossing. Well, as the old adage goes, wait until next year.
After the long ride back to the dock, Kellogg, Rapoport, and I went for a swim in the ocean off the beach at Bay Head. I sat there for a few minutes looking out at the horizon.
There were many boats sailing, with the late-afternoon sun still high in the sky. The light made the boats on the sparkling water look like one of those Buttersworth paintings. What a difference it is to sit on the shore versus being out on the ocean.
Your final standing in a regatta is never as important as the experience and the camaraderie a crew enjoys by racing together. In the end, we never learned why Vapor didn’t cover.
But who would even ask? Silent Maid had been a special ride. I asked Kellogg if he contemplated building any more classic boats.
“I don’t know,” he said, smiling. “You tell me.”
Gary Jobson, a CW editor at large, grew up sailing on Barnegat Bay.