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