By Terry Baxter, Member Since 2002
Nearly 15 years ago, I wrote my first column for the Ocean Reef Press. I offered my perspective as a Social Member arriving for the first time in the Marina and being welcomed into the Ocean Reef fraternity by an amazing group of liveaboards on H Dock: Blair and Libby MacAulay, Geof and Mary Bloom, Gary and Marilyn List, Stanley and Karen Hubbard, Gary and Judy Ball, and Marshall and Stevie Wishnack, among others. We spent our first several Ocean Reef years in this happy enclave. Then, as many before us, one by one we transitioned into homes and condos and became part of the broader community, always retaining a soft spot for boats, each other, and H Dock.
Ocean Reef became the highlight of our 40 years of boating. We joined the Ocean Reef Yacht Club and gained a hundred new friends. We cruised the Keys, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, and the Atlantic seaboard all the way to Maine. Three, ever larger sailboats, followed by three more, even larger powerboats, have played a central role in our lives. What a great time it has been. We had (more than) our share of goofy boat names: Armada (Pat’s middle name is Armand), Hailstone (my first book), Next Paige (our first granddaughter), Mignardise (no excuse), and Armagnac (a distinguished brandy).
In our annual nautical migration, my first mate Ricky Gonzalez and I made 30 trips to and from the Chesapeake Bay. We fancied ourselves adventurers, “The Boys Of The ICW,” prepared to solve mysteries and rescue damsels in distress. But Ricky (rudely) observed that the damsels would have to encounter distress before 8 p.m. when we usually conked out. Last fall was our last trip south, as we stopped at Ft Lauderdale to leave the boat with a broker. Aging knees and nagging insurance issues had sent me a firm message – time to sell.
Armagnac’s sale became final December 30th… as they say, the second happiest day for a boat owner. Will I miss her? Of course, but it was time. The active social life we have established at Ocean Reef will fill any gaps. Will I get another boat? Probably. I am thinking of a small runabout to entertain the grandchildren and salute the sunset. The name? Easier to say and most appropriate of all: Fair Patricia.