The weather started getting rough.

Magazine deadlines are long before publication — it takes the paper artisans longer to make those pages so slick, I guess — so it seems like weeks ago that I wrote a piece for Hour Detroit on the Port Huron-to-Mackinac yacht race, but lo and behold, it showed up in this month’s issue (no link, sorry) and even better, it got me invited to the media lunch at Bayview Yacht Club today. What a lucky girl I am, because who should sit next to me but this guy (scroll down to the picture of the short man in the glasses towering over the tall guy).

His name is Chuck Bayer, and he’s a past commodore of the yacht club and credited with saving the lives of eight or nine people in the 1985 race. First there was a nasty line of thunderstorms, and then the wind came around to the north, and the seas got huge. The yacht Tomahawk came down hard in a trough and broke apart, he said, and sent out a mayday just before it sank. Bayer and his boat, Old Bear, picked the skipper and crew up from a life raft about half an hour later.

They would have kept racing, he said, but several of the rescued sailors were sick, so they motored into Alpena and dropped them off and called it a race. “We got the Coast Guard’s highest civilian honor for that,” he said.

He’s sailing in either his 55th or 56th Mackinac race this year. He leased a 72-footer for the occasion, and it’ll be temporarily rechristened Old Bear. Someone else will handle most of the helm duties, but no problem — the yacht has a hot tub and a wide-screen plasma TV. Now this is a lunch conversation.

Which I guess seems the appropriate time to announce that our long domestic nightmare is over (or perhaps just beginning), and we now own yes, yet another boat. Or will within a few days, when money changes hands, the trucker delivers the goods and we dock Alan’s new Sea Sprite 23 in our slip down at the city marina. I haven’t seen it yet; Alan had to go to Cleveland to find it, but I trust his judgment. I already know the most important thing: It has a built-in cooler. Photos when the thing arrives.

“Does it have a name?” I asked.

“The Mary B,” he replied. “Named for the guy’s mother.”

“Well, that’s gonna change.”

“Eventually,” he said. “Not until it needs a paint job.”

If I were naming a boat for a mother, I think I’d pick Mommie Dearest, but there you are. I guess getting to know the vessel beforehand will allow us to choose a moniker that fits. Alan the jazz fan favors Salt Peanuts; continuing the theme, I like Boplicity or Epistrophy. What I don’t want is something trite and obvious — you just wouldn’t believe how many sailboats are named Windrunner or Windchaser or Windwhatever. No names for women, either, although I’d like to see a gay man name his boat Long John Silver or something like that.

Anyway, this is something we’ll be thinking about. Got any suggestions? Leave them in comments. And yes, Nancypants has already been ruled out.

Posted at 10:03 pm in Uncategorized |

31 responses to “The weather started getting rough.”

  1. Dwight Brown said on June 21, 2005 at 10:19 pm

    I’m not a boat expert, but isn’t it considered bad luck/bad form/bad juju/bad something-or-other to rename a boat?

    Seriously, I’m not trolling, just asking.

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  2. Dwight Brown said on June 21, 2005 at 10:21 pm

    I’m not a boat expert, but isn’t it considered bad luck/bad form/bad juju/bad something-or-other to rename a boat?

    Seriously, I’m not trolling, just asking.

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  3. Mark T-K said on June 21, 2005 at 11:14 pm

    Hot Needle of Inquiry … there’s a boat name for ya. (Google “Larry Niven”)

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  4. basset said on June 21, 2005 at 11:36 pm

    Detroit to Mackinac… isn’t that the same race Bob Seger, man of the people, won several years ago?

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  5. mary said on June 22, 2005 at 2:48 am

    What’s wrong with Mary B?

    Mary Beth Poole

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  6. Nance said on June 22, 2005 at 6:50 am

    N-n-nothing! Really, nothing! Please, put down that knife now, OK?

    As for renaming, I guess it is bad luck. (I didn’t know that.) But there’s a process to purge the bad juju. Hmm.

    And yes, blue-collar Bob did, indeed, win this race. I hear he also plays golf now. Probably on a private course.

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  7. ashley said on June 22, 2005 at 8:08 am

    Surprised Bob’s boat didn’t sink. Like a rock.

    I kill me.

    Anyway, a friend started a sailboat company over the past year, to supplement his computer engineering income. Not really liveaboards, but hey, if you can afford the boat, you can dock in Monaco.

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  8. Michael said on June 22, 2005 at 8:37 am

    I contracted to buy a boat with a friend a couple years ago. A big honkin’ boat called a Sunseeker. Made in Britain. Comes with its own china and crystal.

    We thought it should be named I’m So Wet.

    But the ladies in our lives got their shorts in a knot. Said something about a double entendre. We didn’t go forward with the deal. Turns out the name was the least of our problems.

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  9. Nance said on June 22, 2005 at 8:55 am

    I had some friends, teenage boys, who named their Sunfish T.N.U.C., after the Grand Funk Railroad song of the same name (which is unlistenable, and never mind the stupid SPELL IT BACKWARDS foolishness of the title). They kept it at the family summer cottage. Every summer, their cousins would come up for their two allotted weeks, and auntie would rip the letters off. Every year, they’d stick ’em back on. But in true WASP summer-house fashion, no one ever said a word about it.

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  10. Mindy said on June 22, 2005 at 9:17 am

    Call that boat the Nonchalant. Then you can spend money on and argue about indifference.

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  11. brian stouder said on June 22, 2005 at 11:07 am

    “Scribbler” (or “Damned Scribbler” as WT Sherman referred to the press that followed his army)

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  12. Joe said on June 22, 2005 at 11:22 am

    Yea Blue coller Bob keeps his jet in Pontiac. As far as boats go, We airplane owners have a saying, If it flys, floats, or ****’s, it is going to cost you money. I had to leave my plane in Ludington Mich this week due to a broken mag, cost to fix? Try $1200.00. Glad I have 4 partners. Enjoy the boat.


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  13. Joe said on June 22, 2005 at 11:24 am

    How about Katie’s college fund?


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  14. brian stouder said on June 22, 2005 at 12:12 pm

    how’s about the SS “All in All”

    which could be cleverly spelled so as to evoke Alan and Nall….

    while still having a somewhat jaunty undertone of a world-observer’s detachment

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  15. Dan said on June 22, 2005 at 12:57 pm

    Sans Serif

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  16. Dorothy said on June 22, 2005 at 2:50 pm

    Joe stole my idea (sort of). I was merely going to suggest Kate have a say in the name – with the understanding she can be outvoted by Mom or Dad. Kids can come up with clever names sometimes.

    My son got a little bear as a gift at the seashore one time. The bear was wearing green scrubs and had a reflector head band – so he was a little bear doctor. Josh named him Doctor Kit.

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  17. jcburns said on June 22, 2005 at 3:48 pm

    From a classified ad

    in old Cleveland it came,

    a new boat for Alan’s flotilla…

    A Sea Sprite 23,

    gee-gaws many had she…

    Painted perhaps the color of vanilla…

    Alan, Nancy and Kate

    May decide to tempt fate

    or, wlll they keep the old name forever?

    And later that day,

    they’ll sail up Lake Michigan way,

    near the wreck of the edmund fitzgerald.

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  18. Nance said on June 22, 2005 at 4:06 pm

    Clever. As always.

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  19. Jeff said on June 22, 2005 at 5:39 pm

    As a guy who spent many an hour standing radio watch at a Coast Guard search and rescue station, just make sure it’s something that can be understood when said very fast!!

    Oh and I’d stay away from anything like “In Distress” or “May’s Day” or “Help Wanted”….you think I’m joking, but I’ve dealt with boat’s actually named two of the three above. As Napolean Dynamite says, “Iddddiots!”

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  20. joodyb said on June 22, 2005 at 6:32 pm

    Though not a mariner myself, I understand from hanging around yacht clubs that the brevity/clarity issue is a real one. That must explain the woeful lack of imagination in the slips.

    So it’s OK to temporarily rechristen a vessel but not permanently? Wouldn’t that voodoo be kinda the same?

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  21. mary said on June 22, 2005 at 7:09 pm

    I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t want the boat named Nancypants.

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  22. brian stouder said on June 22, 2005 at 9:55 pm

    “I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t want the boat named Nancypants.”

    Neither can I! Think of the artistic possibilities for the stern that arise with such a name (such as a minimalist line drawing of ol’ Nance on her mountain bike, going up a steep grade, and panting)

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  23. basset said on June 22, 2005 at 11:51 pm

    well, if you’re gonna name it from a Bob song, it has to be “Beautiful Loser.”

    I always said that if Bob had been from New Jersey and Bruce Springsteen from Michigan, Bob would have gotten a lot more critical respect than he did.

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  24. alex said on June 23, 2005 at 1:12 am

    And if Cougar’d been from Jersey OR Michigan, well woo-hoo. How’s about “Jack and Diane”? (For the bottle you christen her with and the Von Furstenberg bag you bring it in!) A Hoosier Schooner she be.

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  25. mary said on June 23, 2005 at 8:38 pm


    Please explain. Do you think being from New Jersey adds an artistic patina? I always find myself apologizing for being from New Jersey. Either that or using it to emphasize a threat, as in, “I grew up in Paterson, New Jersey. We go to Detroit for vacation.”

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  26. basset said on June 24, 2005 at 12:05 am

    >And if Cougar’d been from Jersey OR Michigan, well woo-hoo

    if Bob’d been from Seymour expletive-deleted Indiana, he would still have made it… Springsteen’s people refuse to believe that places like Seymour exist.

    I remember when Cougar was still calling himself that and playing at the Bluebird. More recently, a bunch of us were driving west down Third St. in Bloomington to bury my mom at Rose Hill and Cougar, in his Mercedes G-wagen, postponed a left turn and stopped to let the funeral procession pass. Nice of him, that.

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  27. Nance said on June 24, 2005 at 9:46 am

    New Jersey is close to New York, and its famous abundance of critics who find a trip to its beach towns “an authentic experience.” Whereas Indiana might as well be the Gobi Desert. That’s how I read it, anyway.

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  28. basset said on June 24, 2005 at 9:45 pm

    thanks, Nance, you got it exactly right. there are way too many people in the music press, and national press in general, who appear to feel that New Jersey and Long Island are Middle America and that there’s just a big blank spot between the Delaware River and the California state line.

    one good first-hand example was a tv news director who Vince and I both worked for in… let’s just say a medium-sized Midwestern city where the breeding, nurturing, disassembly and sale of beef cattle was a major industry.

    this guy was from New Jersey and considered himself on rural outpost duty, to continue only until he could assume his rightful place in New York television.

    He even had one of those obnoxious prints on his wall, the one that was supposed to be a view of the USA from space with New York in the foreground, LA in the background and nothing at all in between, and if you gave him half a chance he would positively wear you out about how this or that was better in New York than it was where we were.

    You couldn’t, and he didn’t mind saying so, get a good meal in this town, or find any real culture, or live any manner of meaningful life that far from the wellspring of human civilization.

    So, when a national foodie magazine named one of our local restaurants the best steakhouse in the USA, he got all excited. How could they say that, what do they know, so on, so forth, the only really good steak in the entire country is at “21” in New York City.

    A couple of us tried to help him understand that if he would just walk out the front door of the building, hang a left, then a right, and drive for about ten minutes he would see where New York’s steaks came from. We were unsuccessful.

    He fired me not too long after that, and I suppose the steak conversation may have had something to do with it; that was never clear. Last I heard he was in another third-tier market in flyover land, and I hope he’s finally happy; I know I am, but then again I’ve never bothered to visit New York so I may not know what I’m missing.

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  29. mary said on June 27, 2005 at 3:32 pm

    I readily admit to not being on top of the music scene for the last few years, but other than Bruce Springsteen, what other NJ beach bands have made it big? Bon Jovi? No question there are assholes from NYC and its environs who have attitude, but the music I hear my son listening to is not out of NJ. Debbie Harry is from NJ, but I don’t think she sold nearly as many albums as Madonna. I don’t think even Springsteen has sold as many worldwide as Madonna. And what state is she from? How about Aretha? The White Stripes?

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  30. jac said on July 10, 2005 at 11:18 am


    this jac purdon. 26 village lane, gpc. sometime could i stand for a while and look at the mary b.

    i have viewed one at torch lake and one at pentwater. if i could, would you be at the gpc peir, or one of the others?

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  31. jac said on July 10, 2005 at 11:27 am


    this jac purdon, gpc. sometime could i look at the mary b.

    i have seen one at torch lake and one at pentwater. if i could, would it be at the gpc peir, or one of the others?

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