Dickerson Sailboat

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NEW ENGLAND DICKERSON GATHERING

New England Dickerson sailors held their first New England Gathering on Block Island during the weekend of July 31st with four yachts participating. Mike Aitken and Una Folan sailed their Dickerson 36 “Iris” and Al Sampson sailed his Dickerson 37 “Wanderlust”. Dave Hemenway sailed aboard a friend’s boat because his Dickerson 36 “Tenacity” was still undergoing renovations. Two additional Dickersons were not able to make the cruise to Block Island because of the blustery weather on the days immediately preceding the rendezvous, or because of crew challenges. They look forward to joining the New England fleet next year.

L- R-- Al Sampson’s 37 ft.” Wanderlust” and the Aitken/Folan 36 ft.”Iris”

On Friday night, we were treated to great hors d’oeuvres aboard “Iris”. Una and Mike provided some wonderful food and wine. We had a good time discussing all the improvements made to “Iris”. Their new electric anchor windlass was particularly impressive as was their freshly painted interior.

Saturday morning brought crystal clear weather and warm temperatures—something we had not experienced during the spring and early summer this year. We enjoyed coffee and Danish from the Boston Whaler bakery boat, which goes around the Great Salt Pond selling freshly made baked goods, coffee, and newspapers. This is somewhat of a tradition on Block Island, since he has been offering this service for many years. After breakfast, we all dinghied ashore. We walked throughout the town, had fun shopping in the funky little stores, and had a delightful lunch on the porch of a 19th century hotel overlooking the Old Harbor where the ferries came and went. I had a wonderful lobster roll, and our table also had delicious French fries that were seasoned with Parmesan cheese. After lunch, we hiked up a hill to a gazebo with an excellent view of Block Island’s beautiful beaches and the Atlantic Ocean. On the way back to our dinghies, we had to have ice cream cones!

On the trip back to our boats, we had an informal race between one crew in an outboard powered inflatable, and a nice old wooden rowing dinghy. The rowing dinghy won when the inflatable’s outboard had mechanical troubles. The only mechanical trouble the rowing dinghy had was keeping off the sand bars which impeded our progress as we rowed down the creek that led into town.

L- R—Una Folan, Al Sampson, Mike Aitken and Dave Hemenway on “Wanderlust”

We had a nice visit on “Wanderlust” in the afternoon. Al has done a great job keeping his boat in Bristol fashion. Shet has a great bimini/dodger setup, which allows Al and his crew to sail out of the elements. It was interesting to see how the Dickerson’s evolved from the Dickerson 36 era to the Dickerson 37 era.

On Saturday evening, sailors from all four boats met at a seafood restaurant that overlooks the harbor at the Great Salt Pond. It was a great view with a good meal and lively conversation. We all enjoyed our seafood dinners.

L-R—Kerry Gustafson, Dave Hemenway, Mike Pichandra, Una Folan, Mike O’Neil, Al Sampson and Mike Aitken

While Al Sampson was in the rest room, we had a quick election, and voted him Fleet Captain for next year’s New England Gathering, which has been tentatively scheduled for Narragansett Bay in the summer of 2010. We look forward to next year’s Gathering. Hopefully, some of the Dickerson folks who wanted to attend this year, but could not, will be able to make next year’s event, and I hope to have “Tenacity” completed so I can sail her to next year’s gathering!

Dave Hemenway, “Tenacity”