It’s the last cruise of the season. We have Hamburg Cove all to ourselves. As we rest on the hook in this tranquil gem of an anchorage on the Connecticut River, the crisp air is so still you can hear twigs snap on shore. A thousand hues of fallen red, orange, and yellow leaves blanket the glassy water. The aroma of fresh-brewed hazelnut coffee wafts up from the galley of my family’s Hunter 31 as I ease myself down the transom ladder and slip into the kaleidoscope of autumn for a morning dip. It’s one of those incomparable cruising moments we spend our days chasing.
That was 30 years ago. Some of my memories are starting to blur, but not that one. That’s the good stuff.
Who among us ever really knows with certainty which way the wind will take us? I sure as hell didn’t. In the late ’90s, with a journalism degree in my back pocket, I thought I was going to be a hotshot ad exec. I moved to New York City ready to take on Madison Avenue.
Suffice to say, the job hunt did not go according to plan. After a year of trying to write my way out of the hell that was my tiny Hell’s Kitchen apartment, I did as so many starry-eyed greenhorns had done before me. I abandoned ship and went back home to Connecticut.
The first rule of going back home in your twenties: Stay as far away from your actual home as possible. So I spent most of my time out on the water that summer. More than anything else, “home” to me was sailing with my dad. Most weekends growing up, that meant gunkholing on Long Island Sound. Chewed up and spit out by the big city, I found being back on the water therapeutic. I could have quite happily spent the rest of my life bobbing around the sound, but career aspirations called.
A few diversions kept me landlocked for some time, but as fate would have it, I found my way back to the water. I landed my first job in marine publishing at Southern Boating, a regional cruising magazine with a devoted following. They needed a managing editor who “could write and speak ‘boat.’” That skill set seemed right up my radar arch. The job proved a perfect fit, and the seeds of a new career began to take root. My next stint, as executive editor at Yachts International, gave me exclusive access to the fairytale universe of superyachts. The perks were unreal, but for all the spoils of that otherworldly domain, nothing came close to the childlike exuberance I felt every time I ventured out the cut on that Hunter 31, able to steer any heading I chose.
Today, that heading has brought me back home again, so to speak, to take the helm of a magazine I’ve admired since its inception—one I’ve always considered the gold standard for cruising diehards like me.
In January, our friend and my colleague Jonathan Cooper also returned “home,” following his passion for photography and design to a new role as art director and photographer. His fresh, progressive style will no doubt lend exciting new energy to this magazine in the coming months. I’m eager, as we all should be, to see the result.
Whether you’re reading this at anchor in your own Hamburg Cove, underway in the Northwest Passage, or island-hopping somewhere in the Caribbean, we’re with you in spirit.
Setting a course is easy. It’s the journey that makes it worthwhile. In my experience, sometimes it’s better to take the long way home.