Thursday, 6 September 2012

The Boat

The Boat

Billy first saw Jenny on a sunny afternoon in the summer of 1946; he fell in love with her at that moment and that feeling stayed with him for the rest of his life.


She walked into the boat club and he was hooked.


She was not only beautiful, but a great sailor, a free spirit, in fact, a better sailor than most of the guys in the club.


A mutual friend introduced them; they talked of sailing, distant places, hidden beaches, and fantastic voyages all that afternoon until the sun went down over the ocean.


In a week they were constant companions.


In a month they were engaged.


They married a year to the day after they met; he was 25 and she 23.


They married in the little church in the village of West Falmouth, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, which looked out from a promontory over the ocean.


Billy had finished is education after leaving the marines.


He got a job as a designer in a boat yard.


He was building his own boat when they first met.


When it was finished he named her “Jenny – The Free Spirit”.


They sailed the Free Spirit down the Atlantic coast past Martha's Vineyard and Chappaquiddick Island on their Honeymoon.


They sailed on south past the Carolinas and eventually ended up in a marina in Savannah Georgia.





They made their home on Cape Cod close to the boat yard where Billy worked, they spent every second of the summers they could sailing the Free Spirit around the Islands.


In the summer of 1948 Jenny announced that they were “pregnant!


In the spring of 1949 William was born.


It was in then autumn of that year Jenny started to complain of severe headaches.


The Tumour was diagnosed in December


Jenny died on New Years Day 1950



Billy’s friends on the Cape said that he endured rather than lived after Jenny’s death.


Only two things kept him going, their son William and the Free Spirit.

Billy said he could feel Jenny with him when he was out on the boat.


On warm summers days Billy would wrap William up and put him in a special crib he had made and secured to the deck of the Free Spirit next to the wheel.


Years passed, William grew, learned from his father all the skills of a sailor.


The two of them made all the trips Billy had promised Jenny they would make, he was always convinced she was with them on their voyages.



In 1987 Billy retired and spent most of his time fooling around on the Free Spirit.


Billy had bought the boat yard from his old employer years before when the old guy retired himself.


William took his place and was always busy, but always managed to make time to sail the “Spirit” as they had started to call her, with his father.


On a summer afternoon in 1994, Billy and William took the Spirit out and were sailing south past Martha's Vineyard as Billy and Jenny had once done.


William was down in the cabin when the boat lurched violently; he clambered up on deck to find Billy slumped over the wheel.


William sailed the Spirit back to Falmouth as fast as he could, but Billy was pronounced dead by the medics waiting on the dock.


After Billy’s death William never set foot on the Spirit again.

She sat moored out in the Bay and slowly deteriorated as the years past.

Many of his friends offered to buy the sad hulk of the Spirit but for some reason William would never part with her.



On a Spring evening in 2009 a current pulled at the hull of the Spirit, as she swung about the rotting rope of her mooring finally parted and the Jenny – Free Spirit started to drift with the current south along the coast past Martha's Vineyard.


Some tourists reported later that they had been standing outside a little church in the village of West Falmouth on a promontory looking out over the ocean.


They claimed they saw the hulk of a sailing boat drifting south just off shore.


What made their story interesting was that they stated they saw a young couple sitting arm in arm at the wheel of the vessel as it drifted into a fog bank.


No Trace of the Spirit was ever found.


I like to think that in the end Billy and Jenny were reunited as free spirits to voyage the oceans for the rest of eternity.


You might have other views, but I know I like my version better!

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