July 7th – Grey Fox the party boat!

“It’s 5 o-clock somewhere…” — Jimmy Buffett

My wife is off on a 2-week trip to India with a Girl Scouts group, so I invited my 22-year old daughter and her roommate, who recently finished college and moved to Brooklyn to find their way in the Big Apple, to come out for the day to go sailing and swimming off of Grey Fox, to be followed by dinner on the porch at Horseshoe Harbor.  Since she is barely scraping by and counting every dollar, and everything in New York City is insanely expensive, I figure that’s a pretty good free mini-vacation for her.  And I’m thrilled to see her, since even though Brooklyn isn’t that far away, I really don’t see her much anymore.

She, her roommate and her roommate’s boyfriend arrive early afternoon and we head down to the Horseshoe.  The day is perfect, hot but dry and with just a tiny bit of wind to move the boat. We sail about 2 miles out to Huckleberry Island, a nice little uninhabited and wooded island off of New Rochelle that belongs to the New York Athletic Club.  I’ve never actually seen any NYAC people on the island, although they have some sort of picnic pavilion and a yurt out there.  Mostly it’s teeming with birds, especially in the winter.

Skipper on GreyFox

After about an hour of leisurely sailing (yes, it’s very light wind) we drop the hook off of Huckleberry.  Out come the beers, the Bluetooth speaker and iTunes, and we are loving it.  It’s so wonderful to be able to chill with your kids as young adults.  It balances out the bittersweet nature of becoming an empty-nester. I’m a happy man.   I get the swimming going and eventually convince kids to jump in too.  In the heat, the semi-cool water feels great.


After an hour or two of relaxing on the hook, we’re ready to head back to base and get dinner going.  I go to haul in the anchor, get it to vertical and that’s it.  It won’t come up.  It’s only a 5-pound Danforth, but even heaving with all my strength,  I can’t get it off the bottom.   It’s clearly stuck on some wreckage down there.   Huckleberry may be currently be uninhabited but in the last 200 years it’s had all kinds of activity and construction on it.  Who knows what kind of wreckage is the bottom that is tenaciously holding onto my anchor.  Realizing I won’t be able to free the anchor, I check my ditty bag for a knife to cut the line.  No knife. If I had a knife I could have at least saved a hundred feet of anchor line.  But with no knife I have choice but to throw the whole thing overboard in an offering to Neptune.

Note to self:  always keep a knife in the boat.  Preferably in an easily accessible place.

The wind kicks up a bit and the sail home is really nice.  With 4 people aboard and modest wind, the boat moves along at 3-4 knots.  My daughter finds that sitting down in the bilge up forward is the best place to stretch out and catch some sun rays — until we sail through a little chop and she finds that it’s also the best place to get splashed!


Author: Larchmont Jim

A 50-something investment banker from Larchmont, New York (about 15 miles from midtown Manhattan). Amateur small boat sailer, boatbuilder, kayaker, musician. I grew up spending summers sailing the New England coast on my grandfather’s beautiful 47’ 1952 Sparkman & Stevens wooden yawl. I’ve lived in Larchmont, a major and historic sailing center on Long Island Sound, for 25 years, but career and family obligations kept me off the water for all of my 30s and 40s, and only about 7 years ago did I get back on the water, first in sea kayaks, and then in small boats.

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