Around noon one day last week, Charlie Modica called to ask if I wanted to take a little trip on Charm, his 70-foot sailboat. I answered “Yes” without hesitation. I
It was at the last minute, and Charlie and his wife Lisa weren’t sure if any of the other 11 people they’d invited would be able to come.
Several other people also answered “yes”. A few people hesitated at first, but still came. A person who had lunch in Greenport replied “no” until she was informed by a second text that a friend of Charlie’s named Joe was coming.
As a result of sailing, many new friendships were formed.
All 14 of us including Menantic Yacht Club members Betsy and John Colby, Tom McMahon, Jodi Sisley and daughter Nadia, as well as Shelter Island Yacht Club (SIYC) members Jerry and Jean Drum, Karen Larson and Commodore Bruce Brewer and his wife Susan, meet at 2:30 p.m. at SIYC, board and set sail.
Charlie and Lisa were gracious hosts, with Broadway Joe Namath the special guest, serving as bartender and waiter. What more could one ask for? Commodore Brewer was at the helm and guided us halfway around the island.
After about an hour of cruising, Charlie realized he had made a gigantic slip up, punishable by stepping on the board, as he was not piloting the burgee club with the Commodore on board. He went up, and he stayed high and dry. In fact, everyone who set sail has also returned.
Joe Namath, a good friend of Charlie’s visiting from Jupiter, Florida, was the life of the party, joking and talking with everyone on board. He regaled some of us with stories about famous athletes he had met over the years and I meant “like you” because he is one of the most famous of all time. I remember the 1969 Jets, the hype and glorious Super Bowl III victory, when the 18-point underdogs beat the favorite Colts, 16-7.
At one point, Joe was talking about sports-related injuries, especially head trauma. I asked a pointed question: if he had a young child, would he let that child play football? His thoughtful response didn’t really surprise me.
Joe said he would not allow his young child to play football due to the risk of traumatic brain injury. However, when this child reached high school and wanted to play, he would use his powers of persuasion to try to dissuade the child from playing, but not forbid it.
Most of the guests took turns steering the boat, and as we approached home port some of us had our photo taken next to Joe at the helm. After sailing, Lisa and Bruce invited us for a drink and a chat at SIYC – a perfect ending to a perfect sail.