Published January 10. 2014 4:00AM
There is a scenic little stretch of Route 27 in Mystic, as you drive from the busy "Golden Triangle" of hotels, shopping and gas stations near Interstate 95 and head inland, toward Mystic Seaport.
Just to the right, beyond the clam and ice cream shacks, you can catch a glimpse of the Mystic River.
During the summer, a few transient boats are anchored there, a quiet place not far from the Seaport, next to a big cemetery and just shy of the I-95 fixed bridges over the river, which would prevent bigger boats from going farther up the river.
This anchorage has been used over the years when big storms are coming, since it is far enough upriver to be protected from coastal winds and there is enough space to let out a lot of anchor line and allow a boat to swing safely in a wide circle.
I noticed a couple of boats stayed on this year through the fall, a time in New England when many owners haul their boats out of the water for the season. Surprisingly, two of the boats that lingered at the Route 27 anchorage, larger sailboats, hung in right through the first cold breath of winter.
I never saw anyone on either boat, or any sign of someone using them.
Then, as the first harsh cold settled in around Christmas, I noticed one of the boats was gone. And one remained.
In fact, Misty, which looks like it's about 30 feet long, a good-sized cruiser, is still there. It may be aground at times, because sometimes it appears to be slightly listing to one side.
And this week, as the temperatures remained below freezing, the ice started settling around Misty's hull. It is hard to imagine it will remain afloat until spring, if no one does anything.
Then again, maybe the owner of the boat could have the last laugh, having beat the expense of winter storage.
Leaving a boat unattended, apparently at anchor, not on a mooring or tied to a dock, for long periods of time is odd boating behavior. To leave one out through a New England winter is even more unusual.
It is almost like walking away and leaving your car on the highway, with the engine running.
No one seems to be in harm's way, but it's a mystery I would like to solve, before Misty finally disappears. Chalk it up to reporter curiosity.
There's no harbormaster or marine authority in charge of that part of the river. The Coast Guard doesn't care, as long as no one is in danger.
I can see the name of the home port on the stern. If a registration number is on the hull, I can't make it out from shore.
An enterprising reporter in The Day newsroom helped track the name of the owner of the boat, on a boat directory website. But I haven't been able to reach him, as the ice settled in this week.
Misty appears to be shipshape. There is a dome for a radar system on a mast at the end of the cockpit, indicating there might be more modern equipment aboard.
One intriguing clue is that a rope is wound around the cover over the mainsail on the boom. This is something often done to prepare for a storm, to make sure the sail and cover don't blow off in heavy winds.
In any case, Misty apparently weathered whatever storm that may have been bearing down when the sail was tied down, and maybe a few since.
It will be interesting to see what happens next, as more winter storms come and go.
I'm rooting for Misty to make it.
This is the opinion of David Collins