For almost fifteen years, I performed maintenance work on the F/V Oceanic, a 41′ research and teaching boat owned and operated by the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, CT.
The Oyster Sloop Hope was tied up a few feet upriver of the Oceanic for as long as I can recall. She was built just after WWII, and restored in the 1990s, and was docked at the Aquarium to serve as a historical exhibit. The Oceanic has since been retired, and the Hope started to succumb to the slow deterioration that comes with disuse. I understand she has been sold to a private owner. I wish her well.
For all the times I walked past or stopped to gaze at the Hope, I only took a couple of grab-shots with the little Canon A550 I kept in my toolbag. I never got around to taking a single picture of the Oceanic. (You can see them both in this photo by Karen Berger; the Hope is just visible on the left.).
The Hope is a lovely old gaff rigged sloop, elegant in her simplicity, although the number of lines radiating from her masthead might seem chaotic. Often, I would arrive very early to do an engine service on the Oceanic before her first trip of the day. I would hustle through the my checklist before the crew showed up with a group of school kids eager to steam out into Long Island Sound and catch a few fish, lobsters and crabs for observation.
Other times, an unscheduled repair would require my presence, but I’d still wind up racing the clock trying to outwit the stupid automated parking meter system in the only parking lot available and avoid a parking ticket.
Regardless, the sight of the Hope would always bring me to a halt for a few minutes. She was never at odds with time. In her prime, in her busiest working days, there was never a question of her going faster than her own pace. And now, in retirement, time had all but lost its power over on her. The tide rising and falling was her heartbeat, sunrise and sunset was but the slow blink of an eye.
The two best photos I have are presented here. I would love to re-take the view of her stern, now that I know what it should look like. Unfortunately, that can’t happen; time doesn’t work like that. I’m much happier with the sun setting behind her mast and rigging. That was a beautiful day, and I’m glad I was there.