A Souped-Up Sail

After tense, chilly sailing on waters blanketed by fog, these sailors craved a warm, nourishing lunch. "People & Food" from our April 2012 issue.

P&F April 2012

Lynda Morris Childress

The fog would burn off soon, we hoped, as we searched for signs of the dock jutting out into the harbor at Port Jefferson, New York. Last night, the dock had been directly off the stern of Wyntje, the Hinckley 64 on which my partner, J. Holt, worked as captain and I worked as crew. Today, in the low visibility, it felt miles away. The captain and I dilly-dallied, slowly securing items down below while enjoying cups of steaming tea. Delaying departure, we reasoned, would mean that we'd spend less time stumbling about in the dense fog choking Long Island Sound. We'd faced fog before off Southern California and while up the coast of Maine, but we hadn't applied our fog collision-avoidance skills in an area as heavily trafficked as the Sound. Finally, we could stall no longer. It was time to go.

“We’re free!” I called back to the cockpit as the mooring pendant went over the side. A muffled reply bounced through the dampness. We had a long day ahead of us, but we hoped that if we motored until the fog lifted, we might still have a beautiful afternoon of sailing before tying up at Mystic Seaport Museum for the night.

With the automatic foghorn on the fritz, I stood bow watch holding a tiny, orange manual air horn that I blew at two-minute intervals. I stared into fog as thick as the proverbial pea soup, straining to see or hear another vessel. Suddenly, a deep, chugging sound reverberated through the dense air.
"Anything on radar?" I called to J. at the helm.

“No!” he called back. “Where’s it coming from?”

I strained to hear, imagining a tug about to mow us down. Louder it pulsed, with my heartbeat matching its mechanical rhythm. Just as I was about to call a “Full reverse!,” the echoing engine faded away as quickly as it had materialized. I wanted to sigh in relief, but instead I blew the air horn once again.

After a few hours of this chilly, nerve-wracking duty, I began to dream of lunch: something steamy, hot, and savory—but not split pea soup! I slipped below and lit the oven. An hour later, the fog lifted, as if on cue. I was finally able to put down the air horn—and we picked up mugs filled with a delicious hot lunch that matched the color of the horn: bright-orange carrot-ginger soup!

Roasted Carrot-Ginger Soup

2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut
into 1-inch slices
1 large red onion, cut into eighths
1/4 cup fresh ginger, peeled and
roughly diced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and
smashed
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
Garnishes (optional): yogurt or
sour cream; fresh cilantro or
scallions, chopped; paprika

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss carrots, onion, ginger, and garlic in olive oil until well coated. Spread vegetables in shallow roasting pan. Season with salt and pepper. Roast until carrots and onions are soft, stirring occasionally, for about 60 minutes. Transfer roasted vegetables to a stockpot and add broth. Simmer for 15 minutes, then let mixture cool, either a bit or completely. Blend until smooth. Season to taste. Gently reheat or chill; this soup can be enjoyed either hot or cold. Optional garnishes include a swirl of yogurt or sour cream, a sprinkle of cilantro or scallions, and a sprinkle of paprika. Serves four.

Can Be Prepared: At Anchor, Under Way
Prep Time: 60 Minutes plus
Degree of Difficulty: Easy

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