Sailing Away

I wanted a church wedding and a wedding on a boat. Since I couldn’t have both, we decided to continue the festivities after Saturday’s official ceremony and reception – the next day, after Sunday brunch, we had a boat blessing in Vineyard Haven harbor. So I felt like I got both, the traditional church wedding and the more lighthearted affair with friends and family. And I got to buy two dresses, one with a chapel train and the other a short fun dress that I could actually wear for a sail!

A primary reason for the boat blessing and sail was that I grew up sailing wooden boats in Vineyard Haven with my parents (they met while racing at the Edgartown Yacht Club). I often sailed and raced with my father on the family boat,
Skrap, an Alden 12 1/2 built by the Martha’s Vineyard Shipyard in 1981. Since my father, Edwin F. Gould Jr., passed in 1992, I often feel him with me when I sail Skrap. So I chose to incorporate my father into the blessing on the boat instead of the wedding ceremony to avoid any tears then.

We also offered his favorite cigars dockside to our guests, as my father often smoked a cigar while sailing – he said it helped to determine where the wind was. During the blessing by Deacon Fred La Piana, I broke off one of the red roses from my bouquet and put it in the water in memory of my father. Someone commented later that the rose kept drifting out and back but stayed near the boat. That’s how I feel about my dad when I sail Skrap.

My new husband, JB (short for James Beecher) Lamont, and I were graced with perfect September weather, 72 degrees with a light breeze and blue skies and warm sunshine. After the blessing and good wishes of our friends and family, we raised the gaff-rigged mainsail, which read “Just Married.” Everyone clapped and cheered. It was better than any reaction I could have envisioned.

Off we sailed, although in a light breeze – hmm, a good omen for an easy start to our marriage? The lack of wind did allow us to pop a bottle of champagne and toast our new life.

Ahhhh! That was the moment in the outer harbor, the first time in weeks we didn’t have to be somewhere doing something.

In quintessential Vineyard style, many folks (known and unknown) wished us well during our sail. The ferry tooted just for us, and we looked up to a boat full of people waving to us. Many of our guests have since told us that the raising of the sail with “Just Married” on it provided a perfect official end to a great weekend.