I’m pleased to report that I am starting a new chapter in my professional life that’s a good fit for me. I’ve worked in communications for many years, mainly in corporate communications. My new role is Storyteller. I love the sound of it and the creative output it potentially poses to me. And so in that vein, I want to tell you a story about how we came to have a boat called Ingomar.
What does Ingomar mean? We didn’t know until we travelled down the eastern seaboard in 2011 in search of a new sailboat. We had sold our 30 ft C&C the previous summer and were in need of something bigger and newer. We looked at many boats that trip but came across a Tartan 3500 that sparked keen interest. We hadn’t seen a Tartan before but we were both impressed and a little starry eyed over the workmanship and lines. We put 2 bids in on other boats that fall, a Sabre and a Dufour. Thankfully neither bid was accepted. The Tartan 3500 loomed large and although it was almost double the budget for us, we kept going back to her. Finally, we came to our senses, sent a bid to the owner and they replied with an affirmative. The lovely Ingomar was ours.
It was a long hard winter in the Northeast US that year and we worried over our new little boat buried under snow in Marblehead, MA, but the owners assured us that she was covered and protected. In June 2011 we scurried down to Marblehead and met George and his family, who had loved and cared for Ingomar for many years. They were kind, gracious and sad to see their boat go but were equally happy that we were so excited to be taking her home to Newfoundland. They shared many stories with us about Ingomar, how their children had grown up on the boat, how their parents had sailed her to Maine. There were paintings of her by George’s mother and the homemade liquor cabinet by his father, left their own little mark.
But in truth, I have to confess that I was not sold on the name Ingomar and was already going through a long list of replacement names for our pretty Tartan. Then I met George and his family and I changed my mind. They told us about their family’s history with Ingomar, and gave us a book George’s mother had compiled that explained where the name came from. The story goes that George’s mother spent her summers in Matepoisett and had spent time on Ingomar, the original.
The original Ingomar was a 127-ft racing yacht, designed and built by Herreshoff in 1903 for Mr Morton Plante. Recognized as one of the finest and fastest racing yachts ever built, she raced in England and Germany in 1904, winning repeatedly under the guidance of racing skipper Charlie Barr. She sailed 22 races, winning twelve firsts, four seconds and one third.
In 1922, Mrs. Spencer Borden and family saved her from ships’s breakers when they found her in the City Island shipyard. They kept her in New Bedford and each spring towed her, by tugboat to Mattapoisett harbour. A floating luxurious cabin, George’s great-grandmother spent 6 summers on the yacht while on anchor. Eventually the family added a marconi rig and diesel engine to her and sailed her from Newport to Nassau. The Borden family sold her in 1929. The story goes that Ingomar was lost on the Frying Pan Shoals off Hatteras on February 24, 1931, the same night Mrs. Sarah Borden died of pneumonia.
If that wasn’t story enough to make me love the name, Al and I went about creating our own. Our delivery of Ingomar to Newfoundland went seamlessly and along with our friend Colin, we literally flew home in 6 and 1/2 days from Marblehead to Newfoundland. We learned what a great sailboat we’d acquired and that our little Tartan 3500 was living up to its namesake. Meanwhile, I was flying for a whole other reason. Our first night out of Marblehead, with a huge full moon on the horizon, my boyfriend pulled a ring out of his pocket and asked me to marry him. Floored and impressed, I said yes, and had to wait six incredibly long days to tell anyone.
The next summer we gathered in Middle Arm with our families and sailor friends and exchanged vows on the bow of Ingomar. Our Justice of the Peace, holding dearly to a pole on the wharf, shouted his part, because he had a great fear of boats. My sister read the ‘Owl and the Pussycat’ from our cockpit and Ingomar, draped in flags and surrounded by friends, beamed proudly that day. Until we left the dock and the transmission went. We were towed to the RNYC club by our sailing buddies Kerry and Mark on Argonauta.
But quite honestly it added to the memory. When we turned around the following year and sold her, my heart ached because she was such a fine boat and we had made such great memories aboard her. When we purchased our Tartan 3700, the name Sapphire was pulled off the stern and Ingomar was stamped to her, with hopes that the fond memories and history would lend itself to our new boat.
And yes, what does Ingomar really mean? My husband, former boyfriend, jokes Ingomar is the god of fertility and beauty. And while that is true, Ingomar has its own special meaning to me. Ingomar is a light, that shines soft and bright, that offers a door to happiness and freedom, love and nature, sea and wind. The name has grown to become synonymous with adventure, love, humour, friends, family, offshore seas, warm winds, secluded coves, kitties and sailing.
And that is why any boat that we own will always be named Ingomar.