Log In   ·   Become A Member

Sixty-Something: My Gardiner’s Bay Sailing Season Of 2018 Comes To An End

T.J. Clemente

The author captures the sunset from his sailboat. (Courtesy Photo)

Ernest Hemingway wrote the novel The Old Man and the Sea about the aging reality of a fisherman. Last week I aged as I watched Forbes Rivas and his son haul my 22' Catalina sailboat ("Cindi Lou") out of the water of East Hampton's Three Mile Harbor and put it on its land stands not but 50 yards from where it floats all summer. It's a sad day when I see the boat hauled out of the water because I can feel something ending, something I enjoy so very much, that being my Gardiner's Bay sunset sail season.

Many times when I am the only person out sailing in Gardiner's Bay I feel and think about so many things. I have moments when I reflect on my sixty-something years. I think of when I had young children walking around the house. I fondly remember taking them to school. Now they are in their early thirties. I also reflect on my decades working in Manhattan only to end up writing stories for two East End publications. I often end up laughing about them while sharing with my sailing friends.

Back in 2004 my boat used to be hauled out of the water with a big crane commanded by Don Vander Ver. As he approached 80-years-old Don put in a system to take the boats out with a travel lift for when he would not be able to man his crane. In affect he was preparing his boatyard for the time he would not be able to do the launchings and the pulling out of the water of all our boats with his mighty crane. That time has come.

So there I was taking down the sails and packing them away for the winter. Taking down my "bergee flag" my colors, and securing things for the winter's north winds that will wreak havoc and bring snows. Last year due to machine problems my season ended on Dec 21! Trying to avoid that situation Forbes started much earlier this year. It had been years since my boat was out of the water before November. As Don aged, the boats came out of the water more slowly and later. Now it's up to Forbes when they come out.

As I was completing the task of securing the boat for the off-season on the land, my good friend Todd Wickersham (who sails with me most evenings for our photographing sunset sails) noticed the sunset forming. When I sail, it is usually preceded by an off the boat Sammy's beach swim. Often while swimming then sailing I watch the sky change colors. I enjoy seeing the pink, orange, grays starting to form around the clouds with that famous East End blaze of sunlight brightening up everything. Then comes those amazingly powerful minutes before the sun actually sets. Who can resist watching a beautiful sunset? Both Todd and I grabbed our phone-cameras to snap a few photos of the sunset as we do most nights but usually out in Gardiner's Bay.

Todd even snapped a photo of me taking my last 2018 sunset photo from the deck of my boat on the land but still wet from being in the water. It was a brilliant sunset and it was a brilliant sailing season. When spring rolls around, the boat will be painted, washed up and launched. I will be a year older. There are only so many sailing seasons in a sailor's life. 2018 was magnificent - I had many perfect breezes and powerful sunsets. Yes, I have become an old man of the sea.

Related Articles:

Be the first to comment on this article. (Just fill out the form below)

Submit Your Comment

Please note, you are not currently logged in. Your comment will be submitted as a guest.
To submit your comment as a member, please click here.
Your Name:
* Comments will be reviewed and posted in a timely fashion
* All fields are required
What color is a banana?
(For spam prevention, thanks)
East End Tick Control
The East End's only New York State licensed dedicated tick and mosquito control specialists!

Southampton Masonry-Visiting the Southampton or the Wainscott locations is an exciting experience.
Southampton Masonry has been serving Long Island's masonry and tile needs since 1975. Delivering quality products from Manhattan to Montauk for over three decades. The company's continued success is due primarily to their number one priority: customer satisfaction, with a promise of prompt and courteous service from the professional, knowledgeable staff. Southampton Masonry has the largest inventory on the east end. As direct importers they can offer a large variety of the finest quality products at the most competitive pricing for both your interior and exterior projects.

Southrifty Drug 54 Jagger Lane, Southampton Village
Southrifty Drug is a small, neighborhood pharmacy with limited shelf space, and we have to be very selective about which over-the-counter items we carry. As a result you'll find a no nonsense concentration of very effective, high quality and useful products on our shelves. In this new section, we feature a number of these products that we feel are especially worthy of your consideration.

Burner Law Group, P.C.
Burner Law Group, P.C. are full service elder law attorneys concentrating in the areas of Estate Planning, Trust and Estate Administration and Litigation, Special Needs Planning, Guardianship and Elder Law. Offices in East Setauket‚ NY, Westhampton Beach, NY, and New York, NY.