(Penny McKenna wrote this month’s blog.)
“Whew! My first adventure, Ocean Effect, is finally off to the publisher that requested a revise and resubmit. It took a while, but my story is stronger for it. I can’t wait to see what they say! A ‘yes’ means I’ll finally be released from this woman’s head and onto the page – and/or pixels – of a book.
“Ocean Effect takes place aboard a 1929 80-meter classic yacht named Kathleen that gave me the opportunity to get out of town, fast. In style, no less. She’s the epitome of classic motor yachting with an aristocratic provenance, and I loved learning her history. Boat lore says F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda were guests on her maiden voyage in 1930, and that Ari Onassis proposed to Jackie Kennedy on the spacious aft deck while vacationing in the Mediterranean.
"Designed by distinguished naval architects Cox & Stephens, leading yacht designers of the day, she has been meticulously refinished by her various owners. Mr. Davenport, the current owner, has updated everything except for the satellite communications. I really wish he’d get that taken care of, but he likes being unreachable when he’s at sea.
"Since I came aboard just over a year ago, we’ve hosted Mr. D. and his guests in his home port of Newport, plus the Caribbean, Mediterranean and Baltic Seas. When he says “meet me in Malta,” we cruise over, he flies in and holds court with important business connections on the fantail deck like Jay Gatsby overlooking Egg Harbor.
Kathleen carries herself with all the sophistication and style of boutique five star hotel, four stories of gleaming varnish detailing and brass fittings so shiny you can see your reflection. Which are really good for seeing who’s sneaking up on you from behind. But I never let myself be swept up in her affluence: as yacht chef, I’m still crew, not a guest. There are those who own yachts like this and those who work in them. I have no illusions where I belong.
"At capacity, Kathleen can carry 12 guests in six cabins; this trip we have eight guests. For the first few days, at least!"