There's a special bond between Captain and boat that develops over the years. She has learned to be forgiving of my navigational errors and subsequent forays into too shallow waters yet responds quickly and willingly when together we push the limits of wind speed and sail angle. In Sailor-speak, she's a tender boat but settles into a groove and is a stable a sail as one could want.
We found CALLISTE at the International Boat Show in Annapolis, Maryland in the fall of '95. There, we met the builders from General Boats and in a few short hours we're offered a deal we couldn't refuse. There were less expensive boats but none with the performance, design, and accommodations this model offered. It was love at first sight and we never never looked back.
For several years we plowed the waters near Annapolis, berthed in a small marina on a tributary of the West River, and sailed the Chesapeake Bay. CALLISTE always held her own against the larger sailboats of the local rich and famous. On one memorable sail we headed north toward Baltimore and come evening, anchored in Mill Creek which lies just north of the Naval Academy. A mouth-watering meal was followed by a good night's sleep. Early the next morning we're awakened by the sounds of oars splashing and shouts of "Row! Row! Row!" Falling out of my berth I head topside in time to see two inflatable boats filled to capacity with US Marine Cadets crossing from the academy to the north shore of the creek. They landed, lifted the boats on their shoulders, and ran off into the woods. Now awake, Wifey had breakfast cooking and coffee brewing. No sooner were the plates cleared and we settle in to enjoy another cup of coffee (tea for her), than we hear the Cadets returning through the woods. Piled back into their boats they once again begin their unison shouts of "Row! Row! Row!" and pass close by abaft the beam. I raise my cup of coffee in salute and get a resounding "Ooh-Rah" in return accompanied by more than a few looks of envy.
When my job required commuting 100 miles south, we found a berth for CALLISTE on Solomon's, across from Patuxent Naval Air Station. Many a time I eschewed the long commute to Maryland and slept onboard. On many a Friday afternoon, Wifey would come meet me and we'd spend the weekend gunkholing. One day we were anchored offshore the air station during the annual Naval Air Show. With little warning, the Navy's Blue Angels flew overhead so low as to cause us to bounce around in the wake created by their jet exhaust. That's close!
CALLISTE went on to sail in Tampa Bay, Florida and the Pascagoula River in southern Mississippi, finally arriving in Corozal Bay, Belize after a long drive through Mexico. Many places, many sails, many miles made good and sights not experienced by landlubbers.
For those of you who have forgotten your Greek mythology, the name CALLISTE derives from the nymph of Kalliste (now Santorini Island). As I learned it, it was the island created with the help of the nymph where Jason and his family settled after their return on his ship the ARGO (Jason and the Argonauts, yes?). You can read more about that here.
We'll miss CALLISTE but the many places we've traveled together, the many great sails, quiet anchorages, and fond memories of life on the water will stay with us forever. Fair winds and following seas dear friend.