“It might snow- but it doesn’t stick. Don’t worry.”
That’s what my friend Beth told me when she was selling me on the idea of a trip to Grand Rapids, Mich., in November.
Beth had a meeting there and the Fellows and Stewart yacht that had belonged to 1920s movie star Rudy Valentino is undergoing restoration in Owosso, Mich. — not far from Grand Rapids.
Catalina Island YC member Rudolph Valentino commissioned the building of the Fellows & Stewart yacht Phoenix in 1926. The 32-foot wooden boat is outfitted with rose-shaped lamps, mohair-velvet cushions and teak-and-holly floors.
It was built in Wilmington, alongside another boat, Ida May, whose owners over the years included the John Deere co-founder Willard Van Brunt, Stan Laurel of Laurel and Hardy fame and Long Beach YC staff commodore Jonah Jones.
The boat’s progress looks good. The new owners, Neil Burcroff and Nick Richardson, are currently researching more on the vessel's history. But the yacht is deep in snow. After a quick chilly tour on board, Burcroff and Richardson roasted some chestnuts for Beth and me and we were back on the road before the weather stranded us.
While waiting for the roads to be plowed, I saw on Facebook that Captain Holly Scott was on a charter in sunny Tahiti. Scott leads on the water adventures via her company Mahalo Sailing — she has a fully subscribed whale safari in February and the Grenadines cruise in April.
Scott said, “In July we have a river trip in Ireland on 50-foot powerboats. Its two weeks exploring part of the River Shannon. The boats are designed for low bridges and are quite comfortable. Most meals are served onboard but we also stop along the way in towns and villages, to explore.”
Scott’s website will be updated upon her return from Tahiti in December — send her an email for details at email@example.com.
Holly is a cat lover and often posts about felines that sail. She posted about a Tahitian cat, “Diego” that lost an eye, broke his jaw and palate in a car mishap. Diego needed a home. I was smitten.
Water woman Liz Clark was tending to the cat as a part of her animal welfare efforts. Clark, author of “Swell,” has sailed more than 20,000 miles and serves as Patagonia Company’s surf ambassador.
Scott gave more background: “Liz and I go back a long time. I always stop by when we are in Huahine. She told us about all her new critter rescues and a few days later, we stopped by her place. Diego was a mess but jumped up on my lap and sat there. That bum eye was still there and oozing, very little fur, skinny but happy for the attention. He was feral up until his run-in with the car.”
According to Scott, vegan Liz was grinding up the sardines in her smoothie blender to syringe feed Diego.
Holly’s daughter, former Two Harbors patrol whiz Katie Scott, brought Diego home via Air France as her carry-on item. His French and English veterinary paperwork describes him as “of Tahitian Race and fit to travel.”
Retired Lowell Elementary teacher and cat rescue expert Jackie Gonzales fostered Diego while I was in the snow that didn’t stick. She said Diego looked more like thinned hair opossum than a cat when she got him. Gonzales is a water person too — she would donate pool parties at her home for school fund raisers. Thanks to these four water women, Diego is home and soon the wires from his jaw can be removed.
I’m glad to be back in time for Alamitos Bay YC’s annual Turkey Day regatta this weekend. Saturday night, the club pulls out all the stops and makes a full blown Thanksgiving dinner for the participants and provides turkeys and pumpkin pies as trophies.
I’ll be there in sandals — just in case the sand on the beach where the boats launch sticks.