Misty is safe

I t turns out, Misty, the ice-bound sailboat moored in the Mystic River, alongside Route 27, which I wrote about earlier this month, has been written about before.

Intrigued by the mystery and looking for the owner of the boat, which seemed destined to be damaged, if not sunk, by the ice that had surrounded it in early January, I found a book, "The Voyage of the Yankee Lady," which describes Misty.

It seems the husband-and-wife owners of Misty once joined two other couples - all were retired - on their boats for a circumnavigation of New England and the Canadian Maritimes, starting and ending at North Cove on the Connecticut River.

Judith Silva, one of the six, wrote about the trip. A website for Silva's book, published last year by Tate Publishing, has some pictures of Misty, the same Misty that spent last fall at anchor in Mystic, looking, well, abandoned.

I reported earlier this month that Misty's anchorage on the river, popular with cruising boats in the summer, seemed to be outside the official purview of local marine authorities since the harbormasters I knew of, for Stonington and Noank harbors, would have no jurisdiction over the upper reaches of the Mystic River.

Paul Watts, the state-appointed harbormaster for the river, corrected me. His jurisdiction in Stonington and Groton more or less picks up where the realms of the two harbormasters for the two big harbors end.

In fact, Watts said, he knew all about Misty and the encroaching ice.

He successfully had chased out another boat the week before. But he had been unable to track down the owner of Misty, since there are no registration numbers displayed on the hull.

Watts said he and others even were planning to tow the boat to a safe dock somewhere, fearing it could break loose or sink. If it sank, he added, there could have been significant environmental consequence because of fuel stored on board for its inboard engine.

The spot where Misty was anchored is considered a temporary anchorage and visits by transient boaters are supposed to be limited to seven days, Watts said.

The towing plan got shelved by the time I wrote about Misty, though, since the boat was by then surrounded by ice.

After clarifying his jurisdiction, Watts joined me in my hunt for the owner of Misty, mine pursued out of reportorial curiosity, his out of fear that the boat might sink and spill its fuel.

I told Watts about Silva's book and a conversation I had with her. It turns out the owners of Misty, with whom she sailed, are now in Florida and have sold the boat. Watts got a hold of them, though, and was able to find the name of the new owner and send him a registered letter. Misty then disappeared.

This week I got an email from Misty's new owner, saying the boat is fine. He said he moved the boat to a friend's dock.

"She is my baby. Thank you for your concern but she is fine," he wrote. "She is a 1965 Pearson 30 foot, hull number 15. I bought her from an 80-plus old couple who owned her since new and loved her as I do.

"Being a shipwright and this being a slow time of year for work, I keep her there but check on her every day. I just found a dockage from a friend so I moved her there this past Sunday.

"Again, thank you for your concern, but she is fine, waiting for this summer so I can once again enjoy her on many sailing adventures."

So, apparently, like the rest of us, Misty is now just waiting out the cold winter, looking forward to a great summer.

This is the opinion of David Collins

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