favorite anchorage 368
Dinner formalities were over, and outside the large glass windows of the riverboat I noticed a stately granite building that stretched impressively, even by London’s standards, along the shore of the River Thames. Feeling very much the wide-eyed tourist, which I was, I was about to ask when someone pointed out Big Ben, partially eclipsed by Westminster Bridge, and clued me in to the fact we were about to pass the Houses of Parliament.
I left my tablemates behind. With my nose pressed against the glass, I could see the current swirling past the bridge pilings as we churned our way upstream. Then Big Ben’s tower came squarely into view, and the lit-up façade of Parliament cast its stunning reflection on the water. It was one of those memorable sights you can see only from a boat.
An Oyster owners dinner is held at a different location each year during the London boat show, and this winter’s venue was an evening cruise, complete with champagne, dining, and dancing. The Rob Humphreys-designed Oyster 655 had won our Boat of the Year award last fall for Best Premium Cruiser Over 50 Feet, and a CW colleague and I had been invited to present a plaque during the brief awards ceremony that followed dessert.
It’s my observation that Oyster owners tend to be a well-heeled bunch, people who enjoy lovely boats and sailing them pretty much anywhere they want. On hand that evening were three owners who’d get a circumnavigation award, several others who talked about the adventures they’d had on their own great circles, and still more taking a holiday break from their current global excursions.
Of course, I had to ask them, “What was your favorite place?” And I’d have needed my National Geographic Atlas of the World to pinpoint many of their responses. But they got me thinking: No matter what sort of joinery fills your hull, water’s water and wind’s wind. Along the way to wherever it is we’re going, we run into interesting people; if we’re lucky, we meet new friends; and we come back with memories of places that hold a special fascination for us. Like Big Ben did for me that night.
Now I’ve not hopped around the world on an Oyster, nor any other boat, for that matter. But if you were to ask me to name my favorite place, I might be inclined to say Bucks Harbor, Maine. We sailed there with another family when our children were still young. We worked hard to reach it and, once there, couldn’t get enough of the hot outdoor showers, the nearby reversing falls, or the mussels we pulled off the rocks and steamed back on the boat. Then again, last spring during a Seawind Catamaran rendezvous in the Golfo de California, I woke up early one morning convinced that I was in the most beautiful place in the world. Pelicans dove for baitfish as our four boats sat in calm water surrounded by jagged rock walls. Ashore, green cactus grew boldly in the gravelly brown soil, and a one-lane dirt road wound enticingly up into the hills.
What’s your favorite landfall? The best place you’ve visited? Visit the forums and tell the rest of us about it. After all, destinations, along with storms, are the root of all salty tales, and they’re best when shared.
Now, speaking of special places, did I tell you about the windy night we spent anchored behind the reef at Tobago Cays and the heavenly blue water that greeted us the next morning?
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