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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

We're the FIGAWI

I have never raced in the official FIGAWI race. However, I was involved in this race before 1972. In the late 60's, three of us on Nantucket owned a flying dutchman. Eric was the skipper, Greg was the main crew, and I was on the flying trapeze.

Eric lived in Sconset and we met the year my parents rented a house there. We'd bike to town, 7 1/2 miles and use his Boston Whaler to fish and water ski. The next summer my parents rented another house in town, across the street from these two brothers, Greg and Chris. That summer, '66, Eric had obtained an old flying dutchman and we refit it and made it seaworthy. We spent that summer sailing about the harbor. What I remember most was having the souls of my feet on the gunwales and hanging out backwards over the water holding the line of the jib. The top of my head with my hair hanging down would skim the water as we raced along. Screaming loudly or laughing with joy, Eric would occasionally turn the rudder enough to dunk me. When I came up they'd be laughing. It was a joyous summer.

Over the winter Eric discovered there was a flying dutchman in Hyannis and one in Edgartown. He had arranged for the three of us to host races at each other's port that next summer. The summer of '67 we had 6 races two at each of the locations. We'd sail our dutchman along with an accompanying powerboat, supplies and a friend or two. The races stopped in '68 because I was in Vietnam. They didn't continue after that.

Eric was the photographer at my wedding in '71 on a Nantucket beach, while Greg was my best man. Greg was the godfather to my oldest child, Emily, born on Nantucket in 1972. Tragedy struck a few years later and I left Nantucket. Now it is just a memory.

When I heard of the FIGAWI race sponsored by Mount Gay, the rum I drink, I knew I needed one of the caps they give to racers. But I needed to be in the race to get the cap. So I went to EBAY, and there was a cap from the 2003 race available. 2003 was important for the 300 on the back representing the 300 years of production for Mount Gay Rum. As you see, I got the cap. It represents for me, those early years the three of us had our own FIGAWI regatta and where I am today. It helps me remember those halcyon days.

1 comment:

Paul said...


I'm happy to see you got your Mount Gay cap. My friend Greg Neagle, who you met a few weeks ago in our visit to the city, still races in the fugawi with his friend neil and it appears that this year i may also participate. how cool is that?