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Bump's World


Bump's World - October 2019
October 7, 2019


When I was growing up my dad wanted me to be a sailor. When I was 8, dad bought me a very cheap, plywood copy of an optimist. It was called a Sun Bird. I have never seen another one of these. My brother, Rick, and I sealed the joints and painted her. We installed oar locks for auxiliary power. Named her "Bumpa".

Sometimes alone and sometimes with Rick, I sailed my 8 foot sailboat in Narragansett Bay. If I was not home by 6, for dinner, my mother called the fire department and they came out with their fire boat and put my boat on their deck and took me to the dock. My mother came to the dock in the family station wagon and the firemen put my boat in the back and tied the mast on the roof. We drove home with me sulking in the back.

Sailing alone in Narragansett Bay as an 8 year old, today, would result in my parents getting arrested for child neglect.

When I was 12 we up graded to a 15 foot really bad copy of a Town Class. She needed a lot of work but she did float, which was the only requirement. We named her the "Jean" after my mother.

A year later, in 1963, my father, who was a minister, got a new church in Middleton, MA. So we moved to Middleton. My mother drove Rick and I over to Marblehead to scout out the nearest sailing port. Rick and I came up with a plan. Mom took us to the Middleton dump and we got an old radiator, a foam block, and some chain. We went to the hardware store and bought a bag of cement. Back at the house we wrapped the chain around and threw the radiator and poured the cement over everything. We took a couple of pieces of wood and put the foam in the middle and ran the chain thru that. Then we put and eye on the end of the chain and tied a line to it. We later found a lobster buoy and tied the end of the pick up line to it.

The boat had a really bad trailer but we made it to Marblehead. At riverhead beach Rick and I pushed the "Jean" off the trailer into Marblehead harbor The mooring we built was suspended over the boat with 2 by 4s that we had put there. The wooden mast was tied on top of everything. We also had the old 8 foot Sun Bird that now was our dingy.

Rick and I got our fleet floating and headed down the harbor looking for a spot to drop our mooring. We were kneeling on each side paddling with the oars for the dingy which we towed behind.

We were not doing well finding a good open spot. Finally we got off of Fort Sewall and found our spot. We lowered the chain to measure the depth. It was about 20 feet deep. We threw a bunch of chain over with the radiator. Our mooring assembly was now in the water. We picked up our line and tied Jean to so we were secure. We paddled in circles to set the mooring and see if it would hold, we also wanted to see how close we came to the other boats. After we felt confident that our mooring was going to work, we stepped the mast and rigged her. Finally Rick and I got in the dingy and rowed to the little beach just before Fort Sewall. We pulled the dingy to the top of the beach and left it there. We then walked back to riverhead beach where my mother was patiently waiting hours for us. She seemed as always to have no worries about what we were doing or how long it took. She drove us back to Middleton.

We kept that boat in Marblehead for 3 years. Rick and I sailed her many times, with many adventures.

After 3 years we took her to our land in Eaton, NH and sunk her in our lake, and built a dock on top of her. She is still there today.

In 1976 I bought a C&C 25 and moved to Marblehead. I went into the harbormasters office and Augy Milgram was the harbormaster. I told him that I had moved to Marblehead and need a mooring for the C&C 25 I had just purchased. Augy was an old salt and he looked at me and said what makes you think you should get a mooring?? I had no good answer.

Augy then said "I know you". I said I'm sorry I do not think we have meet. Augy said many years ago he was at the Landing Restaurant having lunch, when he saw a small sailboat being paddled down the harbor. Two young boys with a make shift mooring on deck, making their way down the harbor. He followed them and watched them throw the mooring into the harbor and proceed to tie the boat up to it. These boys rigged the sailboat and then rowed their dingy ashore and left the dingy on the shore. Augy did not know what to do. Later he went out and tested the mooring and it seemed to hold. Two young crazy boys. Who is going to tell them they can not do that??? It breaks all the rules. People are waiting years for moorings in Marblehead!!

Augy said to me "son I will be glad to issue you a mooring". So I got my mooring.

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Bump Wilcox