Sitting at Compo Beach, our first summer in Westport, watching a parade of boats power and sail in and out of the harbor, I knew that I wanted to spend future summers out there, on the water. One of the many attractions of living in Westport, CT, is its location along Long Island Sound. Boating is a popular resident activity, with local accommodations available at private yacht clubs, public and town owned marinas,
Our first boat was a 17 ½ foot, inboard/outboard, complete with camper top. Armed with the knowledge gained from our Power Squadron Safe Boating Course, we ventured out, onto the Westport waters.
After zipping around the local waters, we often anchored off Cokenoe Island, sometimes flipping the engine up and pulling the boat close enough to walk ashore. In 1967, United Illuminating proposed building a nuclear power plant on the island. A group of Westporters filed suit against UI's proposal and their challenge prevailed, in court. As a result, Cokenoe remains a favorite anchorage for Westport boaters.
It didn't take us long to realize that we wanted to expand our horizons and cruise Long Island Sound, docking at inviting ports, along the way. Our second boat was a 25-ft ChrisCraft Express Cruiser, with a v-berth and convertible dinette, just large enough to allow our family of four to stay overnight. After a couple of summers, we again traded up. By now, we were members of Saugatuck Harbor Yacht Club, surrounded by ever larger vessels. Our sights were once again set on a larger boat. We now wanted a twin screw boat, large enough to sleep six, with air conditioning, two heads, full size refrigerator and color TV.
I recall a boating friend of ours quipping that the first 25 feet of boat you buy for yourself. After that, the additional size is for guests. Although our larger "yacht" allowed us to spend extended vacations travelling to Montauk, Block Island and Newport, I can't totally disagree with his assessment. Friends and relatives were regularly invited for a day trip which might include swimming, fishing and, of course, lunch. Weekend jaunts often found us rafted up with a half dozen member boats, at selected harbors along Long Island's North Shore. While the Captains/husbands plotted the course, checked the tides, and made sure that engines, generators and navigation equipment were all in working order, the more important preparations guaranteed that galleys were well stocked and ready to provide extensive cocktail hours and elaborate dinners.
In recent years, we've done more boating at the dock, than at sea. Over time, most of our cruising companions left boating or moved away. Our boat has become our summer home. We still spend weekends (and some stolen weekdays) onboard. From my perspective, the surroundings are terrific. My view from the back deck is of boats and water. It's a great spot to pull up a chair, put my feet on the railing and read a good book.
As for the guys' perspective...Well...They can always find something interesting to do in the bilge!
Copyright © 2009 Marilyn Katz, WestportCTProperties.com, All Rights Reserved, Westport, CT Pleasure Boating - A Gender Perspective