42:30N 70:50W Marblehead
Sunday 7th September. The generator has packed up. Sweetly humming away and then suddenly stopped in mid hum with alarm and flashing lights. One restart, failed again. Decided against a second attempt. Good decision as it turned out. Pathetic effort to decipher the flashing light which according to the manual is in code. I thought it was playing the Enigma variation but Madeleine decided it was bleating about overheating. Nearest service agent? Marblehead, 100 miles south. No problemo.
For those of you who have not been to Marblehead I should tell you that it, or some highly paid PR exec on its behalf, claims to be the capital of American yachting. It is certainly wall to wall boats but as a generality the boats are hardly top drawer. However, the good burghers of Boston, for whom it is their sailing playground, have gone to town on their yacht clubs which are simply magnificent. And such style! We were picked up by the Corinthian launch and en route picked up the club Commodore from his yacht. The launch maestro with practiced deftness produced the Commodore’s personal flag and staff from under his seat and fixed it on the bow where it fluttered bravely for all of the 50 yards to the Corinthian steps. The Commodore and his good Lady stepped ashore and, as if by magic, the flag and staff disappeared; presumably back under the seat though I never saw it happen. Well, I stood in the stern, lost in admiration. I wanted to clap and shout, “Encore” but clearly that would never do!
The next day we moved to the Harbour Master’s dock and there to greet us, again as if by magic, was David Green whom we had met at the Maine Rally. He had heard Madeleine on the radio as we approached and came round from his house half a street away. He took Madeleine off shopping and gave her a conducted tour of his garage; he owns a fully restored Frog Eye Sprite almost identical to our first sports car. The OCC scores again.
I remained on board to greet the generator engineer. As it was Marblehead I probably should have piped him on board but he didn’t seem to mind my lack of courtesy and got stuck in. In no time there was a shout roughly the opposite of “Hallelujah”! The impellor had shredded and dropped its bits in the heat exchanger. I do hope you are following this. Anyway a few more “Not Hallelujahs”, a lot of counting of bits, a remedial service and we were on our way.
Marblehead is also famous for its defence of the USS Constitution which retired there under the protection of the Marblehead shore battery at Fort Sewell when chased by two British frigates. The frigates thought twice about the rock strewn entry to Marblehead and sped off to fight, and lose, another day. And so the Bostonians gained their Independence, parted company with the King but apparently kept His Style.