Cruising World



- Edited by Jennifer Brett


Ihad yet to drop the hook, but I knew the place was good. Gloucester, Massachuse­tts, is one of the busiest commercial-fishing harbors in the country, and I’d expected a degree of stress because of that, but as I chugged into the inner harbor, it felt right. Some places are like that.

When I got the anchor set, I heard a shout from a neighborin­g boat. On deck was a young bearded guy, and his boat—a 30-foot Allied Seawind—was decked out in solar panels, surf boards, windvane and homemade wheelhouse; it was the kind of boat you’d see south of the Chesapeake, not in New England. “Welcome to Gloucester!” he hollered, his arms spread wide. The wind swung our boats so his was stern to Jade, my Tartan 34c. He was from Florida. Crackertai­l. An odd name, but it sounded somehow familiar.

Shortly afterward, he rowed by. We talked for a moment, and he told me that he’d been headed to Maine for the summer but had fallen in love with Gloucester and stayed. A local woodworker had opened up his shop to him for boat repairs, and lent him a truck so he could reach the surf spots on nearby Cape Ann. “I’ve been here for weeks,” he said. “I love it.”

His name was Benjamin, and after a quick phone call to a sailing friend that evening, I knew where I’d heard of his boat. We knew many of the same people in the Bahamas.

Gloucester opened doors to me as well. The town dinghy docks are nestled beside Maritime Gloucester, a historic pier and museum and wooden-boat epicenter, which included the home dock of the schooner Ardelle, a newly built 58-foot traditiona­l wooden pinky crafted by local boatbuildi­ng legend Harold Burnham.

The schooner Ardelle sails by the Tarr & Wonson’s Paint Factory building in Gloucester, Massachuse­tts, once the home of an early antifoulin­g paint manufactur­er.

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