I learned how to sail in Barnstable, Massachusetts on Cape Cod. My Twin Sister, Mercy, and I sailed on a rented beetle cat—a 12 foot gaff-rigged sailboat that was the racing craft at the Barnstable Yacht Club. With Mercy as my loyal crew, we developed our skills slowly and eventually cleaned up in the racing circuit at BYC and even participated in the New England Beetle Cat Championship in Falmouth, MA. I loved sailboat racing and continued and improved my racing skills at Tabor Academy. Tabor was located on Sippican Harbor where we raced Mercurys. I once represented Tabor in the New England Scholastic Sailboat competition and came in second out of 15 schools. We'd have won this series if my crew, Charles Ives and I hadn't been so small—as the wind freshened and we weren't able to control our boat.
Sailing with my sister and our Barnstable friends as teenagers was great fun. I was abit of a loaner while Mercy was the socialite in our family. If it hadn't been for her influence, I would really been become a loner. She kep me active in Barnstable socializing but occasionally, I'd go off by myself in my small skiff, powered by a Firestone outboard motor. Barnstable has a fairly large harbor that filled up at high tide and also had the 'great marshes'. I explored these marshes by myself for many hours and learned to enjoy being alone. I remember reading Great Expectations by Charles Dickens in high school and relating to Pip as he explored the great marshes in that fascinating book.
Our father and mother enjoyed sailing. Actually mom grew up sailing (also in Barnstable) and she taught dad how to sail.They went on their honeymoon on a sailboat off Scituate, Massachusetts; were shipwrecked in a storm. Their rescue was chronicled in the Boston Herald with their photo.
Once dad learned how to sail, he became much more interested in it than mom was. His first boat was a Nova Scotia schooner built in 1939 in Mahone Bay. I sailed with dad and mom on that boat on Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island. Dad's second sailboat was a 37 foot motorsailor built by the Stonington Boat Works in Connecticut.Dad named his boats Emily Morgan after our mother (and also after a sister-ship to the famous whaling ship, Charles W. Morgan, owned by my great great grandfather Morgan in the 1850s.). That Stonington motor sailor was a beauty and dad and I watched her being built and launched. Dad and I later cruised the New England coast on her and he even let me take her cruising when I was a college student I remember sailing with Mercy and her friends from Wheaton College (circa 1953) when 13 Bowdoin/Wheaton boys and girls sailed to the island of Nantucket on this boat.
Dad developed his sailing and racing skills when he moved to Hilton Head Island and helped found the Yacht Club of Hilton Head Island. The older he got the larger boat he owned and the more competitive he became. Dad and his 'Haskell's Rascals" won most of their races in Calibogue Sound against other seasoned sailors. The yacht club named a room in honor of H. C. Haskell and his contribution to sailboat racing on Hilton Head Island.
Dad loved the Maine coast and he and I cruised this coast a number of times on his motorsailer. On one cruise, we were in Boothbay Harbor. Dad had to return to run his textile mill and left me with the boat. Before he left, the hurricane of 1954 came right through Boothbay Harbor. We rode the storm out tied to a coast guard cutter at the main dock in Boothbay. I later brought dad's boat back to Connecticut and saw a large number of boats ashore on the Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut coasts from this hurricane.
While I was in business myself I was too busy to own a large boat and cruised with a group of men from POrt Huron, Michigan. We selected a large number of areas and cruised for 14 years for one week together. I later wrote a book about our cruises called: Cruising With the Salty Four.
When Pat and I moved to Hilton Head Island ourselves, I bought a Marshall catboat, 18 feet, and sailed for afew years off Windmill Harbour, SC. It was fun and I loved that boat but one day a man approached me to buy my boat and I sold it. We'd started going to Maine summers and I felt it was time in my life to transition from sailing to motoring. More on this later!