In the beginning…

Cutter Loose is the fourth in a series of sailing vessels that have served as our home away from home on the water.

It all began in July, 1981.  Married for only two years, we had just completed the four month USCG Sailing and Seamanship course and needed a vessel to call our own.   This pristine, lightly used 1979 O’Day 22 caught our attention in the yard at Atwood Lake in Delroy, Ohio.   We christened her Ptarmigan,  a bird that changes plumage from pure white in winter to brown in the summer.  The name is a symbolic reference to our two favorite outdoor activities…skiing in the winter and sailing in the summer.   In September of 1981, we trailered her to Sandusky, Ohio and spent two weeks sailing amongst the islands of Western Lake Erie.   Life would never be the same.  Check out that fine thang on the foredeck!


Ptarmigan, a 1979 O'day 22


By 1985, we had developed an appetite for a larger boat that would accommodate our weekend sailing habit on Pymatuning Reservoir in Northwestern Pennsylvania.  We purchased a brand new O’Day 26D in July, 1985.  This beauty featured an 8HP single cylinder inboard diesel engine.  We spent many Saturday nights at anchor identifying constellations, reading Cruising World magazine and dreaming of sailing to foriegn places.


Boat #2: a 1986 O'day 26 D

Boat #2: a 1986 O’day 26 D


Our sailing philosophy at that time was to weekend aboard our O’day 26 and vacation aboard a variety of charter yachts in different locations.  In 1984, we chartered a sailboat for the very first time on the Chesapeake Bay.  It was a brand new Pearson 303.  We hired an instructor for the first day to teach us some basic boathandling skills around the pilings.  Then we set off on an unforgettable two week cruise of the Upper Bay.

In September, 1986 we chartered Relationship, an Island Packet 31 owned by fellow Pittsburghers Chuck and Jeanne Berrington.  The most memorable aspect of this two week vacation was Hurricane Gloria which rudely interrupted our fun.  From this experience, we established a close friendship with the Berringtons and gradually became swept up in the Island Packet movement.

In June of 1991, we took delivery of Ptarmigan, a new Island Packet 29.  On summer vacations, she took us comfortably to places such as the York River, Washington DC, Block Island, Long Island Sound, New York City and Cape May, NJ.  We loved this yacht and how she connected us to long distance passage makers.  Our sailing horizons were expanded by participating in the voyages of our Island Packet friends, including numerous stints as crew aboard the Berrington’s Island Packet 40 with passages to Bermuda and the Caribbean.


Ptarmigan, our 1991 Island Packet 29

Ptarmigan, our 1991 Island Packet 29


We sold Ptarmigan in the Spring of 1998 in order to care for aging parents, to assume increased responsibility at work  and to plan and save for retirement.  Ten years later, we dusted off our foulies and signed a contract with Gratitude Yachting Center to purchase a new Island Packet 460 in the fall of 2009.   Her name is Cutter Loose.  She’s the epitomy of comfort.  She’s a delight to sail.  And we think she’s absolutely gorgeous.  Here she is during her maiden voyage to Annapolis in June, 2010.


Cutter Loose, our 2009 Island Packet 460

Cutter Loose, our 2009 Island Packet 460