Updated September 22, 2023

Area Man Struggles to Expand Horizons

Jack Orenstein


I liked sailing when I was a kid. I went to Camp Seneca in 1968 and 1969, and proved my ineptitude at: baseball, tetherball, running, tennis, swimming, and all other athletic endeavors. But the camp was on Whaley Lake, in Dutchess County, New York, and I learned how to water-ski and sail with less ineptitude than I displayed in those other activities. I also learned to appreciate lakes, which is partly how we ended up on Great East Lake 25 years later.

I have sailed very few times since leaving camp, but I always liked it. At Great East Lake, I focused on windsurfing, my ability for which is close to that of tennis. If you've seen the picture, you understand.

Six years into retirement, I decided that it was about time that I try something that did not involve sitting at a desk, in front of a computer. The guy who runs my favorite news and analysis website, Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo, mentioned that he had built a sailboat, and I was intrigued. So now I'm building a boat. The boat is a Chesapeake Light Craft Skerry, a 15-foot sailboat that should be able to accomodate two victims.

I have decided to name the boat Floating Point Memo. This is 1) because the boat will, hopefully, you know, actually float; 2) to honor my computer science background (floating point numbers are a thing); and 3) as an homage to Talking Points Memo.

I started building the boat in July 2019. The photo on the left is from May 2023, when I was young and impressionable, and thought that I would get the boat done and launched in July, when Julia would be visiting. Next year, in Acton.