Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Floating Neighborhood

April 1, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

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Floating Neighborhood

Mount Sinai, on Long Island’s North Shore, is a hotspot for boaters. The gathering of boaters within this Long Island Sound harbor is so large that it separates into smaller hamlets. Call them floating neighborhoods, if you will.

One such neighborhood in Mount Sinai Harbor, not far from Cedar Beach, is where sailboats gather every summer. The vessels’ owners return to moor in the same locations each year. This annual migration to the water has forged bonds that are stronger than the rigging of the boats themselves.

Mount Sinai Mooring Community By Tom Nugent (2)Andrea Nugent, who has been part of the informal collective known as the Mount Sinai Mooring Community for the past 15 years, says, “It’s kind of like camping — those family vacations we went on as kids.”

Nugent is quick to point out that this sailing cul-de-sac is very much an informal one, but in a bustling waterfront that may be packed with many hundreds of boats on a peak summer weekend, the sanctuary offered in the harbor’s southeast sector to about a dozen or so sailboats in the community is clearly something special.

Nugent describes her attraction to Mount Sinai Harbor: “There are no smoke stacks to look at or large wakes from ferries, and the neighboring boats are never larger than 50 feet, so it’s nice and quiet!”

Mount Sinai Mooring Community by James BrennanWhile not said outright by Nugent, the area preferred by the sailboats has less in the way of noisy motors, speeding vessels, or the whiff of diesel fuel. And of course, the aesthetics of graceful masts and sails is easy on the eye.

The setting is serene, but there is considerable effort and investment to make it unfold. To anchor off Mount Sinai Harbor, a mooring permit must be acquired through the Town of Brookhaven. Fees vary according to residency status, but the approval process for all includes an inspection of equipment including the mooring ball, shackles, and swivel by the bay constable. Placing and dropping the mooring is done by one of two local companies who charge a fee for the service; upon receiving the coordinates, the mooring ball is weighed and set up with a pennant for the season.

“This hobby does not come cheap,” admits Nugent, a senior services recreational therapist/transportation driver who resides with her husband in Port Jefferson Station. But as someone with an independent spirit, she values this lifestyle and the simple pleasures to be found aboard Summer Place, her 42-foot Hunter Deck Salon.

Such pleasures may include Friday night dining and live music at a restaurant in Cedar Beach or Port Jefferson, or a Thursday cruise with the Mt. Sinai Sailing Association. The Association offers adventures including excursions to nearby Huntington or Block Island and Newport in Rhode Island. There is also a wealth of activities offered by the Mount Sinai Yacht Club, to which Nugent also belongs, including an annual clambake and contests for children and adults.

Mount Sinai Mooring Community by Tom NugentThe yacht club facility has amenities which come in handy when “roughing it” over nights and weekends on the moorings. Unlike docking at marinas, there are no electric hook-ups or similar creature-comforts except as powered by batteries or a generator.

Though organized activities and dining out are fine, it is the quiet time with her floating neighbors that Nugent clearly cherishes most. Like her they are Long Island locals from places including Manorville and Baiting Hollow. The boaters share dinners or just enjoy visits with one another. “Sometimes we raft up our boats together for the weekend,” Nugent adds.

The comradery between these hardy boaters comes in handy when mechanical trouble sets in. Shared resources and friends pitching in to help can make all the difference. “We are just one big happy family,” says Nugent — and she means it. “We all know each other so well.”

At each season’s end, moorings are lifted and vessels are shrink wrapped and set up on blocks until spring arrives. In the dead of winter Andrea Nugent finds herself counting the days until she is reunited with her buoyant boating friends again. While the yacht club offers some off-season events where friends briefly regroup, it is generally agreed they all can’t wait to get back out on the water. The wait requires considerable patience, Nugent laments. “First in, last out of the boatyard,” she says as she waits to rehydrate the piece of her heart that’s anchored firmly to the Mount Sinai Mooring Community.

By Shoshanna McCollum


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Andrea Nugent by Tom Nugent Mount Sinai Mooring Community by Michael Griff Mount Sinai Mooring Community by Tom Nugent a Mount Sinai Mooring Community courtesy Andrea Nugent
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