Sailors share their voyage

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In their new book, Conn. couple details yearlong Caribbean cruise

By JoAnn W. Goddard

Staff Writer

After nearly two decades of dreaming about sailing to the Caribbean, Connecticut residents Jerry Mashaw and his wife, Anne MacClintock, spent a year cruising to Grenada and back.

Their 1999 voyage in the Bristol 38, Palaemon, is chronicled in the book, “Seasoned by Salt,” (Sheridan House, 2003, $26.95), co-authored by the couple. The book is not only a detailed account of the voyage, it is peppered with personal reflections and facts about the areas they visited. Much of the book is based on e-mails the couple sent to family and friends.

“It’s a sailing story. It’s a love story,” says MacClintock, 60, reached by phone at her Branford, Conn., home.

The voyage was inspired years earlier. On a vacation to the Caribbean in 1979, the couple noticed the yachts and marveled at how nice it would be to sail to the islands instead of taking an airliner.

“It seemed like a wonderful thing to do,” says MacClintock.

MacClintock, a former attorney and retired phone company worker, and Mashaw, 62, a law professor at Yale, married in 1980. That same year they also bought a 19-1/2-foot Corinthian, the first of many sailboats the couple has owned through the years. They gradually moved up to larger boats and in 1997, with the future voyage in mind, they bought Palaemon.

They wanted to make the voyage before they turned 60, and the timing was right five years ago, when MacClintock retired and Mashaw was eligible for a sabbatical from his job at Yale.

They set sail in summer, hugging the coast and down the ICW to North Carolina’s Cape Fear, when they made a sprint for Bermuda. The couple says they frequently had second thoughts, particularly in bad weather. They dodged four hurricanes by watching the weather and finding safe harbor when necessary.

The couple discovered that offshore sailing, particularly short-handed sailing, is much more physically demanding than coastal cruising. They used a three-hour on, three-hour off watch system. They also had to quickly master how to safely navigate within the cabin to avoid falling during offshore crossings. MacClintock also suffers from seasickness, making the first few days of the voyage uncomfortable.

The couple intended to go as far south as Trinidad. While in Grenada, however, they realized they did not have enough time to continue south. On the return they took a slightly different course through the Bahamas, making landfall in the United States at Cape Fear.

Unfortunately, they arrived on Memorial Day and had trouble finding an available mooring. They were also stunned by the crowded waterway. They arrived back in Connecticut in July 2000. “The adjustment to land was another thing,” says MacClintock. “It didn’t seem natural to be in the house.”

For example, the kitchen seemed so big and inefficient compared to the galley, she says.

The couple still sails actively, and one day may plan another voyage. Mashaw is eligible for another sabbatical in a few years. “Sailing is definitely in the picture,” says MacClintock.