The Block Island Times

La Mariner V

By J. V. Houlihan, Jr. | Mar 12, 2013
Photo by: J. V. Houlihan, Jr. Captain Louis and Carmen

Captain Louis Richard and his wife Carmen spent four days last week in Stonington, before attempting to head for the Cape Cod canal on Saturday(the weather needs no explaination other than Purple flag; 'nuff said). After docking their boat, they aked me how far it was to the supermarket. Rather than attempt the clashing of French and English nouns and verbs, I just flipped my truck keys to Louis and pointed north, while holding up three fingers I said, "Three rougelights to le supermarket." "Tres bien mon ami! Americans good! " said Louis. Carmen smiled. Upon returning, they invited me aboard their boat, "Certainement, " I said.

La Mariner V, a fifty-foot motorsailor, and her crew were bound from the Cheseapeake to Nova Scotia. The couple is from Harve-Saint-Pierre, Quebec. Louis built her himself and she is a very clever design: comfortable, sea kindly, and economical.  La Mariner V has a one hundred and ten horsepower deisel, and can cruise at an easy 7 knots. According to Louis, it costs one dollar per mile to run his boat at three quarter throttle; as I said, smart design. She draws three and one half feet. Moreover, a working jib can help nudge the boat along; "Only gentlemen sail downwind," says it all about this boat's design. The cabin layout is perfect for Carmen and Louis. Captain Louis Richard is a semi-retired Canadian Coastguard Master. Carmen, an expert navigator, pulled up their itinerary on her computer to show me from whence they came and where they are heading.

These two characters are on one hell of an adventure. Here's a shorthand version. They would leave on Sunday at first light from Galilee, head to the Cape Cod canal, catch a fair tide, scoot through the canal, catch some southwest winds, head to Boston, Portland, some other way points in Maine; cross over to Nova Scotia, head as far north as Greenland in July and August, visit Harve-Saint-Pierre and family, onward to the St. Lawrence Seaway, down to Lake Champlain to Oswego (I think) meander down a canal to the Hudson, and then head back to the Chesapeake in the late fall. While Louis pointed at all of the destinations and expalined his navigational stratagies, my head spun; Carmen smiled.

Captain Louis pulled out the photo album of the boat's evolution from the keel up; very impressive. He also showed me the engine room, and every little storage locker. The thing I got the biggest kick out of, was the propane stove. The heat flued up the thirty-foot mast.  "Brilliant Louis," I said tapping my head. " Oui, Joe," he said smiling like a little kid. Getting ready to bid these sailors adieu, I took out my iPhone and showed Louis and Carmen a picture of our sailboat, Reverie; apropos huh. Carmen pointed to the picture and said something to Louis and they both looked and smiled. "Tres jolie, Joe," said Louis and Carmen with heads bobbing. In the end, the crashing of English and French nouns and verbs made perfect sense to the three of us. Back at the ferry dock for work on Sunday, I looked over where La Mariner V was docked the day before; the mariners had left and headed east, toward Buzzards Bay. "Bon Voyage," I mumbled to myself.



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