This is Henry M. Plummer's idiosyncratic log of his
1912-1913 sailing adventure in the Mascot, a 24-foot Cape Code
catboat. With his son, Henry Junior, and Scotty the cat, Plummer worked
his way down from Buzzard's Bay, Massachusetts, to Miami, Florida, and
back – a round trip of nearly 3,000 miles.
The Mascot is an old-fashioned Cape Cod catboat 30
years old. Her dimensions are, length overall 24 ft. 6 in., waterline 23
ft., beam 10 ft., draught 3 ft. 6 in. With self-bailing cockpit she is
as safe and able a little ship as a man could want to go to sea in.
This was a different era. For example, to supplement their
stores, Plummer took along a .22 rifle, fitted with a silencer, which they
named "Helen Keller." Plummer tells us "It is a sporting
proposition to get duck or goose meat with a .22 at 150 or 200 yards with
your boat going 4 knots and distance guessed at."
The trip was both beautiful - and dangerous. The Mascot
was nearly wrecked off the coast of North Carolina. They were bringing
their dingy up close to the side of the boat...
… and then came a big comber to which we rose, and
crunch-o, the nose of the launch went through our bilge for a 6 in.
hole. Up she went again, and bang-o there was another hole. My eye! We
would soon be a pepperbox at that rate. … Things were getting
interesting. I ran below for hammer, tacks and canvas. Water already
over cabin floor. With the last of daylight and using his hammer under
water, Henry cleverly put on a canvas patch. We sounded pumps and after
half an hour they sucked. Some relief to that sound. Believe me.
Plummer’s appreciation of nature is always present in
May 19th. The sweetest, prettiest spring morning that
God's sun ever shone on. The air so cool and fresh, the sunshine so
bright and warm. We entered the Delaware and Chesapeake canal where it
was still more beautiful with the Scotch broom a glorious yellow and all
the other flowers nodding from the banks. The canal itself taking
reflection of the mass of foliage was an indescribable, translucent
green and all the world was wonderful.
The Boy, Me, and the Cat is one of the finest
cruising narratives any sailor ever put to paper.