In August, more than 130 sailors aboard more than 64 boats from all over the United States, Canada, and Europe attended the Seven Seas Cruising Association’s 17th annual Down East Gam in Broad Cove, Gilkey Harbor, Islesboro, Maine. My wife, Kathy, and I hosted the event at out Islesboro Island home.
Thunderstorms postponed the usual Friday afternoon dinghy raft-up cocktail party. On Saturday, the early morning fog gave way to bright, clear skies just in time for a potluck lunch. Sailors landed their dinghies on the beach in front of the cottage and came ashore carrying their contribution to the varied, tasteful, and plentiful meal on the lawn. Sea stories and reunions began.
I gave a brief welcome speech, and after lunch guest speaker Mary Verlaque of I Wanda spoke about three years spent cruising the Mediterranean with her husband, Christian. They culminated their journey by shipping their 40-foot sloop across the Atlantic from Toulon, France, to Newport, Rhode Island, in the spring. Mary and Christian presented us with a hat from the French frigate De Grasse in recognition of my French ancestry. French Admiral Pierre Devie arranged for the gift.
With gusto and humor Mike Arbo of Anahata read the list of attendees and fielded questions about cruising and fishing in the far out islands of the Bahamas. From a show of hands, it appeared that over half the attendees had crossed the Atlantic Ocean on their own boats. At least one circumnavigator was in attendance, and there were two British boats and several Canadian boats. Friends arranged winter reunions in the Bahamas and further south in the Caribbean.
At least 40 dinghies rafted-up behind Ed and Linda Longo’s Linda B for the rescheduled cocktail party Saturday evening. Music and laughter flowed along with lively conversation as h’ors dourves circulated from dinghy to dinghy. Ed and Linda were generous in letting fellow sailors climb all over their boat during the party, and many others came early to help set up for the Gam.
Due to illness in the family, cohosts Alex and Diane Allmayer-Beck of Ariel III could not attend. We hope to see them next year for the 2008 Down East Gam, which takes place August 1-2. The Gam is open to all boats cruising in Maine.