Among the early 20th-century “Grande Dame” summer homes on Martha’s Vineyard stands “Big Bluff,” which the Ivison family has owned since 1969.
“As a kid I had wonderful summers here — swimming, sailing, fishing, hiking, exploring,” says Sterling “Skip” Ivison III, of Maryland, who has summered on Martha’s Vineyard since he was born.
The course from a cutter to a Grand Banks 32 was carefully plotted
Selling Mallard was a difficult decision. I had built the 26-foot wood-and-epoxy gaff cutter in my spare time over a five-year period, but after 10 years of use it was time to let her go.
We enjoyed sailing her very much out of our homeport of Freeport, Maine, but we needed something with more room. Mallard’s low coach roof looks great, but the limited headroom means you can not stand up straight in the cabin, and for an extended period on board there was insufficient room for all of the necessary stuff.
The Grand Banks 32 was in production for three decades. When the last one was splashed in 1996, 861 of these venerable cruisers had been built. They were initially built of wood but transitioned to fiberglass construction in the mid-1970s. Little changed during their production run, and from a distance it’s difficult to tell a well-cared-for wooden model from a later fiberglass boat.
When sailors Harold and Jerry Gegeheimer of Darien, Connecticut, were looking for a retirement home in 1981, they headed for Mystic, Connecticut, where they had often cruised in their 39-foot Gulfstar yawl with their children and friends.
The last few weeks of spring in the Northeast have been spectacular: sunny days of glowing warmth, with just enough breeze to carry the smell of lilacs and freshly mowed grass. Even if much of the nation had not just lived through a hellish winter, we’d have to admit that it doesn’t get much better than this.
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