Little Compton native Mara Lozier Shore grew up working on and sailing the family boat, Elisha , with her dad, Peter Lozier. He had bought the Alden-made Sakonnet when she was six years old.
Little Compton native Mara Lozier Shore grew up working on and sailing the family boat, Elisha, with her dad, Peter Lozier. He had bought the Alden-made Sakonnet when she was six years old.
“When I was a small child, I helped my father get our boat ready for the water each spring,” Shore said. “It was a big deal when I was old enough to race the boat with him. I continued working on and racing the boat with my father throughout my life. Now, my children sail and work on the boat with me.”
The colorful Alden Sakonnets, with their large mainsails, were racing out past the harbor breakwater one recent Saturday, continuing a storied tradition nearly 68 years after the fleet was all but wiped out by Hurricane Carol.
All but three of the boats were wiped out by a tidal wave the 1954 hurricane, but the fleet was built back up after the great storm and again more recently by Shore, after she retuned from college in 1992. Now, she sails the pretty red yacht with family members and friends, including world champion Yngling sailor Bruce Chafee, the present commodore of the Alden Sakonnets.
“I feel a tremendous responsibility to steward the boats for the next generation,” she said. “Not only to keep them in great physical shape, but also to assure that someone will want to race them in the future, and race the boats well.”
The boats that were designed by John Alden, a renowned off-shore racing yacht designer, were built primarily for the uneven waters and wind around Little Compton. Alden, who liked to sail dry, created the boat with a deep cockpit, oak ribs and mahogany planks, specifically for the Sakonnet Yacht Club in 1938.
There are currently 10 Alden Sakonnet One Designs: Honey Bee, Bachelor Button, Chiquita, Cutty Wow, Elisha, Old Bull, Whistler, Augusta, JAVA, and September Song. The boats are as colorful as their names, painted in yellow, blue, green, red and white.
“It takes a big commitment, and a lot of time and hard work to own and sail these boats,” said Shore. “My first friends of a different generation were Alden sailors. As a 20-year-old, I had real meaningful friendships with octogenarians through sailing Aldens. Some of them are still here, but some have died. When I am sailing against old friends, I remember the friends I have made over the years,” Shore said.