Vineyard memories: Nick Langone

The Buzzards Society, formed to honor those who have sailed 10 or more Vineyards, gathers March 10 for its fourth annual dinner. For the next few weeks we will be posting memories of the Vineyard from Buzzards members. This was originally posted in August of 2011. For more information on the March 10 dinner email: buzzards@stamfordyc.com.

On my 2nd or 3rd VR in the late 60’s, I sailed with the Hoffmann’s from the Larchmont Club aboard the 52 foot Thunderhead. I generally sailed it with my father-in-law, Vinnie Monte-Sano on Illusion, but he couldn’t make it and hooked me up with the Thunderhead crowd. If you know the two Hoffmann boys, they like to do things themselves, and I swear this was one of those times. It seemed to me there were only Pappa Hoffmann, Paul and Charlie Hoffmann aboard, and me. There might have been others, but I can’t recall who they were and I suspect they were hiding somewhere. I thought I was cemented to rail of Thunderhead, with the boys doing all the work.

After rounding the Tower round at 8 a.m. (there no such thing as a watch)……we were beating to Block Island attempting to round it clockwise. There was a heavy, choppy sea, and maybe blowing around 20. I was sitting on the weather rail, and I swear I was alone, and just pounding for hours. It was nearing noon time, and I was getting a little sick from the pounding, and thought I would pass on lunch, which I later found out was a no-no with the Hoffmann’s.

Charlie Hoffmann was below making hamburgers and sautéing some onions as a chaser. The aroma was delightful, but as I was absorbing the pounding of Thunderhead, my first thought was to pass on lunch. NADA. You don’t eat, you don’t sail, so I went below when I was told and didn’t mention I was a little quiz. It was hard to resist the burgers that smelled so good.

The hamburgers were great, as were the onions. Actually I had two of them, and like a dedicated crew mate, I went to my post………the weather rail, and rocked with the pounding motion of the sea again.

It took about ten minutes for the burgers to get they were supposed to, and then I thought, it’s time. I looked to the stern, then to the bow, put my head over the side, with aplomb mind you……….and gonzo went the burgers. This was one of my more strategic feats in life, because being on the weather rail I could have been in big trouble. I managed to get everything out without drop on me, then a gentle wave brushed by and cleaned the evidence. Yo, bro!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I felt great. To this day, I’m not sure the Hoffmann’s ever knew of this exercise, because I told no one. I got sick twice on the water and this one I feared, but somehow survived.

By the way, I highly recommend Charlie Hoffmann’s hamburgers, with the sautéed onions. Sono, bono.

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