We think we have a good idea of what stories will appeal to our readers, but judging from my own experience, it's hard to predict at any given moment which story will hit home with anyone who spends time thinking about cruising. When I read Wendy's report on the I.C.W., it lined up neatly with a recent sequence of events. Last spring I wrote an article about cruising on Chesapeake Bay, and I included a sidebar that my father, David, wrote about his catboat trip from New York to the Chesapeake in 1948. (See "Going Nowhere for the Moment," May 2008.) My article prompted Island Packet Yachts president Bob Johnson to send me a copy of a book about an I.C.W. cruise that, he promised, contained "lasting images of pastoral, unheroic cruising experiences."
The book is called The Boy, Me, and the Cat,* and Bob was right. The remarkable tale, one not without a few adventures, was written by Henry Plummer, who took his son, Henry Jr., on a 1912 cruise down what had yet to formally become the I.C.W. They spent eight months sailing from Massachusetts to Miami and back in a 24-and-a-half-foot catboat.