Ever enthusiastic at 80 years old, Jock is preparing to take off this summer for a big cruise aboard his Stanley 36, HOKULANI. To prepare, the crew moved HOKULANI into the shed for an extensive upgrade, including exterior varnish, new electronics, life raft, safety gear, connections for medical assistance, if needed, and generally going over all of the systems to get outfitted for the trip.
The captain is undergoing his own preparations to build his stamina for the trip. He’s on a strict, healthy diet and walking at least half an hour per day. He’s had his knees and hips replaced in recent years, plus a back operation and shoulder work. So, all in all, he’s in fine shape.
“I’ve been on boats all my life, so I know what the requirements are,” he said.
The idea for the trip has been brewing for several years. After examining some different routes, Jock decided to cruise up the Maine and Nova Scotia coast, west to the Gaspé peninsula, then down the St. Lawrence River to Quebec. Jock is traveling the first leg with his longtime shoreside and traveling aquatic friend, Reg Elwell. The goal is to set off July 15.
“These ideas were going through my mind over the years,” he said. “I was never able to commit the time that this requires. This year, I thought, “Well, I’m going to do it. I’m 80 now, and I figure in a few years, I might not be able to make the trip.”
HOKULANI was built in 2000 and has been well-maintained since then. She is in immaculate condition. Jock and his team originally built her for a doctor in Florida. In fact, the two became good friends, and Jock spent some time on the boat in Florida. After a health scare, HOKULANI’s owner decided to sell her.
“He made it very attractive to me financially,” Jock recalled.
The extended voyage will put Jock and Reg offshore. Particularly on the first leg, a 12-hour shot from Hall Quarry to Cape Sable on Nova Scotia. But they’re not roughing it. Jock is laying a track that gives them about eight hours per day of steaming on average, getting them into a new port each evening for onshore dining and some exploration, then sleeping on the boat.
In Quebec, the plan calls for Reg’s wife, Penny, to pick him up. Jock’s wife, Debbie, to join him for the remainder of the St. Lawrence segment and the divergence south along the Richelieu River and Chambly Canal to Lake Champlain. They’ll then cruise the lake to the southern end, pick up the 60-mile Champlain Canal to the Hudson River, cruise down to New York, turn the corner, and head back to Maine.
Jock, a history buff, plans to take in the historical sights along the way. There’s no doubt that he’s the perfect traveling ambassador for his company. His children are also signing on to different legs of the trip.
“If I don’t take advantage of these opportunities now, I might not be able to later,” he said. “Right now, I’m humming. We’re just going to jump aboard and go.