Were we test­ing gear, or how well we knew each other?

Power & Motor Yacht - - CONTENTS - Daniel Harding Jr. dhard­ing@aim­me­dia.com

Block Is­land has been a fa­vorite des­ti­na­tion of mine since I was a kid, when I’d scour its beaches for pi­rate trea­sure. To me, the is­land’s rolling green hills, tow­er­ing bluffs, and rock fences rem­i­nis­cent of Ire­land have al­ways been syn­ony­mous with the care­free, dog days of sum­mer. It’s a place where you can, to quote the Zac Brown Band, put the world away for a minute, pre­tend I don’t live in it.

The Power & Mo­to­ry­acht team had been pedal to the metal for some time. “What coun­try is Power & Mo­to­ry­acht off to this week?” was a run­ning joke in the of­fice. With non­stop trav­el­ing in our wake, and fall boat-show sea­son loom­ing on the hori­zon, it was time to catch our breath. We pro­vi­sioned the Beneteau MC5 we had on loan from Cast­aways Yacht Club in New Rochelle, New York, filled it with new gear and elec­tron­ics to try out, and headed off to go cruis­ing. Des­ti­na­tion: Block Is­land.

Many of my crew­mates had never vis­ited the small is­land off Mon­tauk, New York, and New­port, Rhode Is­land, and I was ea­ger to share it with them.

Dur­ing our test­ing we were pleas­antly sur­prised with some prod­ucts and dis­ap­pointed in oth­ers. A sur­prise fa­vorite of the trip was a 3-horse­power elec­tric motor from Torqeedo that pow­ered our 10½ foot Sea Ea­gle ten­der.

“Six guys and a 3-horse­power en­gine?! We’re Power & Mo­to­ry­acht for cry­ing out loud, can’t we get some­thing with more juice?” I’d jok­ingly ar­gue with the col­league (he shall re­main name­less) who brought it along.

At the start of our trip, the quiet, yet high-pitched squeal of the motor had us af­fec­tion­ately re­fer­ring to it as the blender. “Come on let’s go faster, hit puree,” was a re­oc­cur­ring joke. The motor got the last laugh. With a 2½-hour bat­tery life, that lit­tle motor would carry our 1,100-pound crew at 4.5 knots around the har­bor count­less times. It was re­li­able, emis­sion­free, light­weight, and, maybe best of all, it didn’t re­quire a stop for gas. By the end of the trip I ate my words. I had be­come a be­liever in the Torqeedo.

For our full find­ings from the field, check out “The Great Gear Test” on page 40. For a taste of life on Block you won’t want to miss Man­ag­ing Ed­i­tor Si­mon Mur­ray’s piece “End­less Sum­mer” on page 50 or Capt. Bill Pike’s take on the trip on page 128.

By the week’s end we had put more than two dozen prod­ucts and one world-class ves­sel (page 36) through the wringer.

But if I think about it, the real test was with our­selves. Could six on-the-run ed­i­tors live to­gether for four-plus days on a 50foot boat and come out on the other side the bet­ter for it?

Dur­ing our time on the MC5 we talked, re­con­nected, learned about each other’s lives out­side of work, laughed, ar­gued, de­bated pol­i­tics, ar­gued, swapped sto­ries and boat­ing mem­o­ries, and played our fa­vorite mu­sic un­til the morn­ing hours.

Sit­ting around one per­fect sum­mer night we took a break from laugh­ing and al­lowed the si­lence of the har­bor to fill the cock­pit. Look­ing out onto the black sky it was hard to de­ci­pher where the an­chor lights on the sur­round­ing sail­boats ended and the stars be­gan.

“This is what it’s all about,” of­fered our gen­eral man­ager, and self-pro­claimed den mother, Gary DeSanc­tis. He wasn’t talk­ing about the $1.1 mil­lion dol­lar yacht be­neath our feet, nor the su­perb steaks we’d just pol­ished off, nor the nat­u­ral beauty of Block Is­land. He was talk­ing about get­ting away from the hus­tle and bus­tle of the daily grind, putting away our cell­phones and lap­tops and re­con­nect­ing with one another. I couldn’t agree more.

Go­ing for­ward, Block Is­land for me will be syn­ony­mous with happy boy­hood mem­o­ries and one heck of a gear test. ❒

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