Duffy-Herreshoff 30 — By Capt. Bill Pike — July 2002
|Part 2: Romance promptly drained from the scene like fine wine gurgling down a rusty scupper.|
A sigh signaled my wife had gone back to sleep. Worried as well as jet-lagged now, I tried to get a little sleep myself, finally dozing off about the time the wake-up call jangled. Sitting on the edge of a bed in a hotel room I was seeing for the first time, I felt just disoriented enough to momentarily wonder whether I was in New York, Florida, or California. Then a gloomy realization dawned: I couldn't remember where I'd parked the rental car the night before.
Was there a pattern developing here? It took an hour to find our white Toyota Camry amid a sea of other white Toyota Camrys in the parking lot. The delay nixed the romantic little breakfast I'd planned in the hotel's ornate dining room, a kind of precursor to the wonders of the day to come.
Maybe I got lost on the freeway because I was hungry. Maybe it was because the vast Los Angeles metropolitan area is a veritable phantasmagoria of lightning-paced beltways, parkways, expressways, and freeways. At any rate, we arrived at Duffy's docks late, a goof that cost us valuable photography time. More bad news was forthcoming.
"Bent shaft...bent prop...or something," Kearns said, rather hangdog. "And I forgot to place the order for the picnic lunch with the caterer."
The guy had a solution to the bitter dilemma, however. In one hand he held up a plastic shopping bag bulging with frozen shrimp, a box of croissants, a block of cheddar, and a container of orange juice, and in the other he held a paper shopping bag stuffed with a silver service he'd pirated from his home. I looked at him. He looked at me. My wife looked at both of us, with a gaze of such grim determination I was immediately reminded of Shackleton driving his weary men and dogs across Antarctic wastes. Romance promptly drained from the scene like fine wine gurgling down a rusty scupper. Our picnic passage had turned into a rough-and-tumble salvage job.
Off we went. With B.J. and Kearns aboard the 30 and Fine and me in a chase boat, we began touring Newport Beach Harbor at speeds slow enough to minimize drive-train vibration, swap passengers, and engender attractive food photos, ultimately finishing up about three o'clock in the afternoon, just in time to drive over to the R&D facility. En route B.J. and I stopped at a deli to wolf down a couple of tuna-salad sandwiches, since neither of us had eaten for 20 hours. The shrimp, cheese, and crackers onboard the 30 were inedible by the time Fine was done using them as props.
"I still love you," B.J. noted while dabbing a napkin and shaking her head as if at some marvel of nature.
We had a wonderful meal--one worthy of the cover of Gourmet magazine--that evening at Walt's Wharf in Seal Beach. Bleary-eyed from exhaustion and an all-day tussle with the fickle finger of fate, I waxed philosophical over dessert.
"My premise was spot-on from the get-go," I proselytized. "Little excursions in little boats like the Duffy can be relaxing and fun."
My wife sipped her decaf cappuccino meditatively, then made me swear to add this caveat to the story:
If you decide to do a romantic picnic passage of your own, and glitches befall like raindrops from leaden skies, just say no! Toss the picnic over the side, or at least the biodegradable parts of it, tie the boat up somewhere, and find yourself a nice waterfront restaurant.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.