Calm Psalm & Itch sails again!

Calm Psalm & Itch anchored at Sargeant Island, North Channel

Six years ago today, we learned that our beloved Calm Psalm & Itch went over in hurricane force winds that swept through the Straits. She was stored on the hard, in Mackinaw City, for the winter. We bought her in 1990, replacing Prudence P. Fishpaws (our teak farm) that had served as our summer home while living in Newport, Rhode Island.

Ron had fallen in love with the Carter 36 that became Calm Psalm & Itch as soon as he saw her. As our used boat search went on that winter, he tried to get me to look at her, but I was stubborn. We were looking for a sturdy, safe sailboat for our young family; we desired two quarterberths or pilot berths (beats making up beds for the kids every night) and because we were cruising to the North Channel every summer, we wanted shoal draft. The Carter 36 drew 6’3″ (at least!) and was an old IOR one-ton racer. She had a cockpit well and down below was stripped out for racing. I wasn’t interested.

It wasn’t until we were taking a hard look at a boat we were seriously considering and realizing how poorly constructed the boat was that I finally took a deep breath and climbed up that ladder to take a look at the Carter 36. I had to go in through the forward hatch; the lock was frozen on the companionway hatch and would need to be sawed off. This old racehorse had been raced hard and put away wet 5 years earlier. She was not a pretty sight. But still, I saw potential. And to Ron’s delight, I suggested we go for it.

Calm Psalm & Itch was likely the sweetest sailing boat we’ll ever own. Her tumblehome allowed her to tip just so much and then she took off with the wind. She didn’t have a lot of creature comforts, but she was our home for the summers and our kids grew up on her. She cruised Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, and the north half of Lake Huron.

And then, 6 years ago today, we learned that she was lying on her starboard side on the cold, hard ground. She was no longer a pretty sight: the furniture inside had come loose from the hull when her side was oil-canned from the impact of her fall; her rudder was broken, rudder post bent; there were questions about the mast, she had a crimp in the furler; her keel was gouged. Our insurance company totaled her within a month.

We drove to Mackinaw City to take our personal belongings off the boat on New Years Eve day. She was a mess with all our stuff out of drawers and cupboards, and there was a thin film of diesel fuel or oil all over the floor. There was such sadness saying goodbye to her. We really thought that she would end up stripped of anything useful and then ground to fiberglass dust and put in a landfill somewhere. It was not a good feeling and sad to think of an end like that to a sailboat that had felt like an extension of ourselves. This boat was a part of our family.

We purchased Annwfn, a Niagara 35, early that next year and have been sailing her summers since. She’s a beautiful boat that has many of the creature comforts Calm Psalm & Itch lacked. Still, we wax nostalgic, remembering CP&I.

Imagine our delighted shock/surprise when we received a phone call from fellow cruising friends who were making their way back to Lake Huron from Lake Ontario, saying that they had just seen Calm Psalm & Itch and that she was sailing again. And, they had pictures to prove it! Turns out, a recent Canadian immigrant apparently bought her from the insurance company and is sailing her out of the Thames River on Lake St. Clair. This news made our entire summer. The new owner has kept her name (what’s not to like about her name?) and she still has our old port of call: Arcadia. How fitting that seems!

Calm Psalm & Itch sails again!


2 thoughts on “Calm Psalm & Itch sails again!

  1. I realize that it has been some time since you had last sailed Calm Psalm & Inch, but she is looking for a new home and my girls and I are currently looking for a larger playground. The current owner did not mention the “accident” and I was hoping you could provide a few details. If the accident was not too catastrophic (and the price is right, currently asking $22,000), we may return her to a port in Collingwood.

    Best regards,

    Peter Gilbert


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