Our winter home is on the PGA WEST Golf Course in La Quinta California. La Quinta is about 25 miles south of Palm Springs and not that easy to get to out of Boston Logan Airport.

For that reason, we have very few neighbors in La Quinta from the Northeast. That said, the few we have are wonderful folks and this past weekend we all got together.

I Got Dem Ole Rainy Weekend Blues (again)

As you may recall, last Saturday on Block Island, we got soaked trekking from The Oar to The Oyster Bar and Grille.

We returned from our Southern Tour late Tuesday and I immediately started watching the forecast for our La Quinta Reunion Weekend.

If you were doing the same last week, you know that it never, ever looked good. A few times Matt Noyes reported that the “Cape would be mostly dry”, but no one ever said anything remotely positive.

Nevertheless, we pressed on!

The first good break came Saturday morning as the rain held off and we were able to get everything loaded on the boat without getting wet. Most importantly, we brought Daisy along.


Her Vet had prescribed an anti-anxiety med which I gave her an hour before she left home. It was totally worthless; she cried every time Mrs. Horne left her side – oh well…

This was to be our first overnight at The Sandwich Marina (although we day trip there more than anywhere else). Being located on the north end of the Cape Cod Canal, it begs for a lunch stopover at our #1 Dock and Dine – The Chartroom.

The rain started coming down as we entered the harbor, but being dry and comfy behind the helm, what difference did it make? None for me, but Mrs. Horne would have to go out and hang fenders and lines, which was a little tougher than my job.

We hung out until there was a break in the rain and then headed up to the Chartroom for a typically great lunch (we split Steamers and a Reuben for the 50th time).


I’ve written before about new age weather apps and how they make boating safer and more enjoyable. My new favorite is the Accuweather Minutecast that predicts rain for the next two hours with ridiculous precision.

As Mrs. Horne contemplated hanging out a little longer, I pointed out that she had 25 minutes to get back to the boat, shove off, and put the fenders/lines away before the next shower. And with that we left!

As we were making the turn by the shallows leaving Bassets Island, I saw a guy with a couple of young kids in the water waving so I honked the horn (kids love it when you honk the horn).

As soon as I did, I could see that the guy was saying something so I opened the door and heard him call out “I love your blog.”

My heart was warmed…

The cruise down the canal was peaceful since only the diehards were out on this rainy Saturday. We did pass Breck Eagle and his 40′ Hinckley – The Elizabeth B, going the other way. I tooted the horn and with 30 seconds we where texting back and forth about where we’d been and where we were going – love iPhones!

Yachting with My Buddy

One of the reasons I wasn’t too worried about the rain on Saturday was that we were not going to be spending too much time on Vigilant. Our La Quinta friends – Nancy and Harris MacNeill were hosting the cocktail party on their yacht (you may recall that we met up with them on Nantucket and spent a lovely afternoon on their yacht – My Buddy.) And our other friends were picking us up to take us to dinner by car.

What’s a Yacht?

I generally refer to Vigilant as “A Boat”. At the same time, My Buddy is a Princess 64 and she’s clearly a yacht.

I decided to do a little research and confirmed what I already knew – there is wide disagreement regarding when a boat becomes a yacht.

Here’s a few considerations:

  1. If you need a crew, it’s a yacht.
  2. If it’s over (33, 40, 80, or 100′) it’s a yacht. Yes all four lengths are mentioned.
  3. If it’s custom built, it’s a yacht.
  4. If you have Gray Poupon on-board, you’re on a yacht.

I finally found a piece at boats.com that discussed this and right there on their website is a photo of Tenacity’s sistership (A Back Cove Downeast 37) as an example of a yacht. And of course, I do stock Gray Poupon to accompany my famous Reubens.

Okay, back to My Buddy. They do have a live-aboard crew and his name is Billy.

Billy lives in the crews quarters under the aft deck on Nantucket or wherever My Buddy goes. When he’s not making cocktails, serving appetizers, or washing the boat, he dreams about being part of the crew on Bravo’s Below Decks!

Suddenly A Beautiful Evening

The cocktail party started at 5:00 and right on cue, the sky cleared and the sun snuck out.

I featured the group shot at the top of this post, but here are the boys and girls…

Harris and John front – Me and Russ back
Mrs. Horne, Jeanne, Nancy, and Jean

The Belfry Bistro

After the cocktail party, we headed off to a very unique spot in Sandwich. It’s an old church that has been converted to an Inn and Restaurant.

The atmosphere is spectacular, especially in the main dining room – which is the old Chapel.

The Food

This is clearly a spot that aspires to 5-Star elegance with a causal twist. One of the gourmet delights that reveal their soul is the Stuffed Zucchini Flower appetizer. I mean, who does this?


Summer Pasta $25 Ricotta | Basil | Tagliatelle | Summer Vegetables
Sous-Vide Sirlion Steak $30 Pommes De Terre | Maple Dijon Carrots | Summer Ramp Butter

I’m not that familiar with the fine dining menu options in Sandwich, but these were two well conceived and executed dishes served at very reasonable prices.

All Weather Sunday

After dinner we returned to My Buddy for a nightcap and made plans to walk to the Chew Cafe for breakfast at 9:00.

At 6:30 it was pea soup fog and by 8:00 is was torrential rain.

After a quick chat with Nancy, we decided to hang out and go to the Fisherman’s View for an early lunch when they opened at 11:30.

Once the rain stopped we started chatting about our plans and I remembered that they were heading to Mystic Connecticut which is a 100 mile – 5 hour cruise. Knowing that I wouldn’t want to make that trek after lunch, I suggested we take off and meet somewhere south for lunch.

Needless to say, Harris and Nancy immediately agreed and we were off and on the way in 10 minutes.

Here’s a shot I took of the power station as we left the Sandwich Marina…

As we pulled out, Harris asked Mrs. Horne what VHF Channel we wanted to monitor. I said, “I don’t know, let him pick one”. He said 82 and just like that we were in touch for the entire 30 mile run.

Before we left, I told them that I thought Padanaram would be a good spot. As I mentioned before, the Sail Loft and an arrangement with South Wharf that lets you tie up for FREE if you’re dining there.

Knowing that we had a 41 and 64 foot looking to tie up, I called South Wharf and was immediately connected with Peter – The Dockmaster. Peter said it shouldn’t be a problem and asked me to call back when we were 30 minutes out.

I immediately called Harris on Channel 82 and gave him our destination.

My Buddy trailing us in The Cape Cod Canal

About 30 minutes out I called the Dockmaster at South Wharf and he gave us our dock assignments. I called Harris, told him, and told him to hail South Wharf on Channel 9 when he got close.

Tom Clarke’s Princess 75 was tied up on the floating dock entering the slip area and I felt like it was a tight passage on Vigilant. We were already in our slip when My Buddy passed Tom’s Princess, but Harris maneuvered it with ease.

Lunch At The Sail Loft

At lunch, Harris thanked me for tipping him off to this “hidden gem.” He couldn’t believe that there was a first class marina like South Wharf that charged nothing for a slip for lunch at their seaside eatery (we always tip the dock hands generously).

The great service didn’t end at the dock. The extensive draft beer menu sported three IPA’s from Vermont and I couldn’t decide which to try. Our server offered a taste of all three and of course I said “yes.”

The Food

The Sail Loft has never let me down for a great seafood meal. Sunday was no different and of course, we all ordered fried seafood!

The Fried Haddock Sandwich – Hold The Bread

The Warmth of Buzzards Bay

After lunch Harris and Nancy continued south to Connecticut. Mrs. Horne and I cruised back to Mattapoisett at a very leisurely 11 knots. I often do this returning from the Sail Loft on Sunday because I don’t want my day on the water to end too soon.

As the Bay air drifted in through the center window, I looked down and marveled at my temperature gauge.

We were 5 miles off New Bedford – deep in Buzzards Bay, and the water temperature was just a few ticks under 80 degrees. Meanwhile 20 miles north in the Cape Cod Canal the water temperature is in the lower 60’s.

A Beautiful Ending

I never would have guessed that a day that began with fog and torrential rain could end so nicely. Our run home was one of the nicest days we’ve had this season on Buzzards Bay.