Cruising With The Chilbergs: On Yachting And A Salty Legacy - PassageMaker

Cruising With The Chilbergs: On Yachting And A Salty Legacy

There are plenty of old salts in my bloodline, but the coup de gras was when my dad “bought my mother;” a 1928 wooden double ended trawler that you had to put a pipe in the flywheel to start.
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“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore… Dream… Discover”

—Mark Twain

August 13, 2016:

I have a theory that yachting may be a genetic problem. My great grandfather, Jacob Sven Chilberg, left Vesby, Sweden in 1846 at the age of three with his family, sailed to America, and located in Swedona, Illinois. My mother’s grandfather sailed over from Ireland in the 1840s during the potato famine. My grandfather owned a sailboat and was commodore of the Newport Harbor Yacht Club in 1929. For me though the coup de gras was when my dad “bought my mother;” a 1928 wooden double ended trawler that you had to put a pipe in the flywheel to start.

My kids on a sandy beach near Port Jefferson, NY.

My kids on a sandy beach near Port Jefferson, NY.

I was a 1-year-old, and my cruising life had been jumpstarted. This is the excuse I used for all the purchases of my boats, none of which I could afford!

All of these memories returned when I went to Annapolis, where I had cruised as a child with my parents and then had the good fortune of cruising there with my kids, Erik, Kristen, and Hans.

I had the privilege this time to see old friends from Annapolis from my youth-minister days there. People like Pete and Ellie Kawecki, along with their sons, Marshal and Mike, and even Mike’s wife Becky. Also, Bob and Marilyn Masters with their son, Bobby, joined us. Then Stan Conley stopped by, more faces from the past. I coached Stan at Annapolis High School and he lived with us several summers. It was so encouraging to see such precious friends.

Wow, then we cruised up the coast of New Jersey to Rumson, where I grew up. To see all the new homes in Sea Bright where Hurricane Sandy flooded everything and pushed beach clubs off the coast and across the street was striking. The rebuilding process was impressive to see, but the tragedy of the storm will never be forgotten.

For me, the memories of cruising, sailing, water skiing, and crabbing are priceless. We had an old steel 28-foot “Safety Craft” that Dad bought for nearly nothing as it had a hole rusted in the bottom, wires hanging out of the ceiling, and a compass off by 90 degrees! This was no luxury yacht, but for a kid, it provided my greatest childhood family memories.

Lady Liberty seen from Mud Puddle Rose.

Lady Liberty seen from Mud Puddle Rose.

Bottom line is – Get a Boat and enjoy your kids. Please don’t say, “Yes, I have a boat but it is only …” Your kids don’t care, they just want to be on the water with you. Then we left Rumson and cruised past the Statue of Liberty [Bucket List Item for me with all my trawlers!]

Going under the Varrazano Narrows Bridge, passing the United Nations, and of course pausing to look at the 9/11 Memorial was breathtaking. The view of New York City from the water was fantastic. We were the only cruiser in New York Harbor among barges, tugs, ferries, and tour boats. We passed up the East River under the Throngs Neck Bridge and anchored in Little Neck Bay with a view of the bridge. Again we were the only boat there. Quite the experience, to be sure.

Read more of Joe's blog, here

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