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Ocean Cruising Club Rally

South Bristol, Maine

I could think of so many reasons it would be impossible for me to fly up to Maine for the OCC Rally.  Because wonderful people wrote and encouraged me to be there, to fly all the way from Fort Lauderdale, I just could not help myself!  The one really good reason to go so far for just three days was because I WANTED TO GO!

With Doug and Dale Bruce’s encouragement, and e-mails from Jim and Sue Chambers, I bit the bullet, called the airlines and could not believe that on Friday night I would be amongst the sailing friends I had not seen in so long!

What a wonderful Rally that Dale and Doug, Sue and Jim, prepared for all the OCC members.  The lovely house right on the water with an extra pontoon for all the tenders, the fantastic Friday evening cocktail party where the rain stayed away, the food was abundant, and the merriment of all the OCC members and guests made the house high on the hill overlooking the harbor, throb with excitement and fun!

Saturday night’s REAL Maine Lobster and Clam bake was sensational.  The Bittersweet Boat Yard hosted this wonderful adventure in cooking and eating.  A huge boat house was made available by Mike and Charlotte, the owners of Bittersweet, and between Doug and Dale and Sue and Jim and all the help they had from members (I was going to help, but was meeting so many OCC friends, I never lifted a finger as a volunteer that fantastic evening!)  made this dinner unforgettable.  Never has fresh lobster, steamed clams, corn on the cob, baked potatoes and onions, and yes the hard boiled eggs, tasted so good.  I was given a first class lesson in eating everything that little Maine lobster had to offer, and was dripping with melted butter all around my smiling mouth.  Mike and Charlotte, the generous owners of Bittersweet Boat Yard, helped me understand the fine art of eating a fresh Maine lobster the proper way!

The evening flew by, and I know everyone there was having a fabulous time thanks to all the efforts of the organizers of this wonderful rally.

I couldn’t help remembering when Andy and I first became members of the Ocean Cruising Club thanks to Humphrey and Mary Barton.  I wanted to share a little of Humphrey Barton’s personality with the people who had never had the great fortune to have met Hum and Mary.  As the evening closed, I told a quick story of how I was feeling very proud of myself for having twice crossed the Atlantic Ocean on a thirty foot sloop with Andy.  The year was 1974 and our little sloop was CARRONADE.  I was only thirty years old and considered this a great feat.  Imagine how I felt when in sailed a tiny boat, ROSE RAMLER, with an elderly couple aboard who were completing their 26th Crossing (that’s what I remember, but it may have been a few more, or a few less times, but whatever the number it was incredible!). Mary was on the bow with her good eyes telling Hum in the cockpit to go a little to port or a wee bit to starboard, as Hum’s vision was not so good!  They dropped the anchor and completely humbled my feelings about my Atlantic crossings!!!

Hum and Mary became good friends, in Antigua and St. Barts.  Andy would crack the rum bottle aboard CARRONADE, and Mary would serve us hot tea aboard ROSE RAMBLER.  Many lovely hours were spent getting to know one another, and Hum insisted on putting us up for OCC membership!!!

One particular night that I will always remember, Hum and Andy were pretty well into that bottle of rum together.  Hum leaned back in our tiny main saloon, and without a moments hesitation, word perfect, he recited the poem I have scanned from my logbook so many years ago!  Not only did Hum recite this without a slur or mistake, but he rowed over the next day and gave us a copy on paper that we have kept in our log book.  Just try to read it without having the tears of laughter roll down your cheeks!!!

This is the Hum Barton I remember, I hope you enjoy his wonderful sense of humor as we did all those years ago!