• Coming Home

    Thomas Wolfe famously wrote You Can’t Go Home Again, a novel wherein George Webber, his protagonist, has written a successful novel exposing the furtive secrets of his hometown. When he returns home he is shaken by the fury his story has unleashed in his family and long-time friends. Outcast, he thus begins a search for his own identity eventually returning once again to his roots.

    His journey of discovery, it turns out, is a metaphor for a beautiful red-hulled Aage Nielson sloop, built in 1959, that keeps returning home to Dutch Wharf for the care and comfort provided by our crew.

  • She’s a lucky vessel, owned all these years by a couple who’ve spared no expense in her maintenance, much of it performed at our yard. Every fall she would arrive for annual maintenance; including freshening topsides and brightwork, deck repairs and engine maintenance.

    As the years went by the owners decided they needed help sailing her between Connecticut and Maine, where they maintain a summer home. Eventually, they reluctantly determined the best solution to the transport problem was to store the boat in Maine for the winter and have her maintenance performed at a local yard. Nevertheless, they continued to consult Dutch Wharf about her care and apprised us of her condition. We were, of course, reluctant to see her go to Maine but understood the owner’s angst about making the long trip.

    Last season, they called to say they weren’t happy in Maine and asked if we could arrange a crew to bring her home to Connecticut. We sent two of our men to Maine and readied the boat for the trip. The transit was to be a courtesy in consideration for all the past business. Our guys joked about the provisioning provided by the owners: four sandwiches and a box of Oreo cookies.

    During the three-day sail we noticed a small leak around the mast step and an engine exhaust leak. The owner’s wife, when informed of our findings said, “Maybe that’s why I kept feeling sick whenever I went below.” The owner responded: “I thought you had simply tired of cooking.”

    Back in Connecticut, both problems were corrected and we now have a standing order to deliver her to Maine in the spring and bring her home in the fall – a not unpleasant assignment for our crew members. (They now pack their own provisions, however.)

    We recently received a nice letter thanking us for the extra effort and telling us how delighted they are to have their special boat “Home Again”.