by Ed Johnson
My wife, Kimberly, and I—both experienced Noankers—were fortunate enough to be aboard a “shakedown” cruise for the schooner Mystic, which sailed from her Mystic River berth north of the Swing Bridge on a breezy Tuesday morning of June 4 and arrived in the historic port of Newport, Rhode Island, in the waning hours of that afternoon.
As Mystic sailors well know, the river and its approaches can be tricky for a 150-foot-plus vessel, so it was a pleasure to observe Captain Geoffrey Jones and his crew expertly navigating in our rocky, sandy, and shallow channels and, turning eastwards, providing us with a full-sail cruise on a beautiful sunny day. For Captain Jones, this was to be a business trip of sorts, sailing to a certification yard in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, for a variety of updates and maintenance before the onset of the full tourism cruise season. For us—it was a great day on the water.
Today’s cruise included staff and some 50 passengers—friends of the captain and crew, civic and tourism leaders, and one very enthusiastic dog named Daisy. The food, guitar music, and refreshments were excellent, and the followup bus transportation home was well-organized.
We left Mystic at the 9:40 a.m. bridge opening with a strong 20-knot wind from the northwest and a favorable tide to power down to the mouth of the Mystic River, after which we raised seven sails and traveled east past Stonington, Misquamicut, Charlestown, Point Judith, and entered Newport Harbor at around 4 in the afternoon.
Most of us have probably never sailed in a boat this size with such comfortable accommodations; by my count, that’s 34 passengers in 17 private cabins. It was a pleasure to watch the crew go through their paces raising and lowering sails…and to help them when asked. It’s all part of the voyage.
Thank you again, Captain Jones, for a great trip!
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