Why you should sail the Meerwald out of Cape May
Suzie and I went on an evening cruise on the oyster schooner A.J.Meerwald the evening before last. We left Leith Hall in the capable hands of Violet, our assistant innkeeper, and headed for the harbor. I’d never been on board before (truthfully, I’ve only been on any boat a couple of times before) and found the experience magical. Aside from all of the nautical talk; the ropes are lines, the horizontal wooden members are booms, and sails are the jib, the fore and the mainsail, starting at the front (that is, the fore) – the whole atmosphere on board is charming. The folks who run the Bayshore Discovery Project which is a not-for-profit that runs the boat, and the crew that actually sails the boat, are devoted to their cause because of the beauty, the authenticity and the historical value of this sailing ship. Their devotion is so obvious and so infectious that you want them to succeed and continue forever.
For us landlubbers, the way the sailboat moves is very different from a motorboat. Instead of bouncing and hitting the water, the boat leans into the curves and sways with the waves. Even Suzie, who had not taken her Bonine and gets seasick looking at a bathtub, felt fine. The captain gave a presentation on the history of the boat and the oyster industry in South Jersey, and the crew was busy explaining details like how they caulk the deck (with oakum and pitch) and how they waterproof the lines (with pine tar)