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Patience (Almost) Prevails Page 2

Patience (Almost) Prevails

Part 2: With a cruise speed of approximately 5 knots (5.8 mph), Patience was an exquisitely, almost mystically, slow boat.

By Capt. Bill Pike — July 2005

   

Photo: Jeffrey Salter
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• Part 1: Patience
• Part 2: Patience
• Part 3: Patience

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Salter charged into Harry’s parking lot the next morning in a Porsche laden with groceries he’d agreed to pick up. As we stowed the stuff, we got to know each other. He was a fast-laner, mostly. Staff photographer for Sports Illustrated, condo in Miami, girlfriend in New York, international cellphone. But there was one, possibly conflicting detail: Sticking out of a camera bag was a hardcover book, Manual Of Zen Buddhism.

Reality dawned on us right after we hit the Caloosahatchie River. With a cruise speed of approximately 5 knots (5.8 mph), Patience was an exquisitely, almost mystically, slow boat. Once the brief excitement of our departure had subsided, life onboard calmed down—and I mean way down. While Salter fidgeted, yawned, and read in the cockpit, I fidgeted, yawned, and manhandled the wheel on the flying bridge. Sea Rays and Tiaras zoomed past, eliciting rolls so dramatic they scattered locker contents about like buckshot. “How many hours ‘til we get there, Cap?” asked Salter as we approached Cape Coral Bridge. “Seven,” I replied meditatively.

We made Useppa Island, at the northern end of Pine Island Sound, about sunset, and docked Patience stern-to (with a modicum of wailing and gnashing of teeth) in a little marina in front of the Useppa Island Club. Over the course of the day, Salter and I had become friends, a pleasing occurrence I hadn’t counted on. And Patience had begun endearing herself to both of us. Evidence of this latter development surfaced as we dined at the Tarpon Bar, refurbished after a tangle with Hurricane Charley last summer. “She forces you to live in the moment,” Salter said, as we admired our classic little cruiser docked off in the distance. “She’s about the journey, not the destination.”

The comment elicited a nod of approval from our host, Garfield R. Beckstead, owner of Useppa. Having withdrawn from the world of international consulting in the 1970’s to live for three years without modern conveniences in a ramshackle cottage while staunchly restoring the island to the glories of yesteryear, Beckstead was a walking, talking advertisement for the slo-mo lifestyle. Since coming to Useppa, he’d proceeded slowly, surely, and successfully. And he was happy as a clam.

The gorgeous, remote Pelican Bay, at the northern tip of Cayo Costa, was our next stop. Under my direction Salter dropped the hook in a fine place, paid out scope, figure-eighted the rode on a bow cleat, and finished off with a half hitch. Time came to a standstill. And Patience disclosed more of her charms. While circling in the dinghy that afternoon with Salter shooting photos, we both remarked upon her beauty. The next morning, as we dinghied through the anchorage, fellow cruisers concurred. “My wife and I want to tell you guys,” said Bob Rodine of the Stanley G., “we’ve always loved the 32. She’s the prettiest boat Grand Banks ever built!”

Next page > Part 3: I was stunned when a fuel-dock attendant handed me the bill for topping off our tanks: $32.03! > Page 1, 2, 3

This article originally appeared in the July 2005 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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