Captain's Log: Stardate 11288.3
Eight days before my 18th birthday (Stardate 8442.2), some friends and I cut afternoon classes at Paul D. Schreiber High School to attend an opening-day screening of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock at a movie theater on the Miracle Mile in Manhasset, Long Island. It was two years after The Wrath of Khan and we were all very excited to see what would happen in the sequel.

Now, my life growing up was not rough in any sense of the word, but ever since I watched the 70's reruns of the original series on WPIX, the Enterprise became a childhood "escape vehicle". Whenever things got a little tough with school, home, friends, whatever, there was always this ship that could warp away to distant worlds, boldly going where no man has gone before. So, it wasn't much of a surprise to my friends when I named my first boat, Laser 66283, after the Enterprise - a tradition I continued though today. My ongoing escape vehicle.

That day in June 1984 was painful though, and not just because I missed a test in English class that counted more towards my overall score than I thought it would (I was already accepted into a few colleges, so I really just needed to pass and graduate.) It was on that day that I heartbreakingly watched, on the big 70mm screen in Dolby Surround Sound, the end of the original Enterprise (NCC-1701):

This past weekend, I received news that is more heartbreaking to me today as an adult than was the loss of that "escape vehicle" as a teenager back in 1984.

But first a little background:

Back in 1979, my father replaced the family Excalibur 26 sailboat with a 1978 C&C 34, originally named "Nightingale" but renamed to "Divine Decadence". Double-D was raced weekly in Manhasset Bay and used for cruising as far as Newport, Rhode Island. She handled well, especially in light air, and was the source of many fond memories growing up in Port Washington. In 1995, the boat moved to City Island Yacht Club and Dave Beaver, a newbie in every sense of the word back then, joined the crew.

Years went on, and after my parents divorced, my father and I took co-ownership in the boat and she was renamed to the Starship Enterprise. And, since it was the second vessel of mine to bear the name, I followed the example started in 1986's Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and made the sails to read NCC-1701-A. A new escape vehicle.

And escape we did. Gear was added, I purchased a spinnaker, and adventuresome racing went on for years. We discovered the limits of the boat and pushed beyond them -- and I have a 7-foot glass case in my dining room full of trophies to prove it.

In 2005, I purchased a new boat, a C&C 37+, and named her Starship Enterprise, but now the NCC-1701-B. For a short time, the C&C 34 was for sale, but the value quoted by the dealers was nowhere near the value that it held in our hearts.

So, in 2006, my father took sole ownership and moved it down to Atlantic Highlands Yacht Club near Sandy Hook, NJ. Renamed to "Runty Kid II" (the Excalibur 26 was the "Runty Kid") and last year renamed to "Blonde Vivienne", her sail numbers still read NCC-1701-A. And, although, officially, it wasn't the Enterprise any longer, she was still a member of the family and a fantastic escape vehicle for all of us.

A few weeks ago, Superstorm Sandy slammed into the New Jersey shore, bringing with it tidal surges that did extraordinary damage to boat yards and marinas from Maryland to Massachusetts, including the Atlantic Highlands Marina, where the former Enterprise was on jackstands for winter storage.

After several days of not knowing, we now see the loss -- the end of an era.

The damage is too extensive to consider repairs. A complete loss. And although this is nothing compared to the losses that other people experienced as a result of the storm, I will miss the vessel and will forever cherish the memories we had on board with family and friends voyaging through the final frontier.

Some of my favorite memories (in no particular order):
Burying the rail upwind
"Get that sail down now!"
The Apollo 13 Around Long Island Regatta
"Get ready to tack Jerry"
Teaching Ellen parts of the boat
Rounding Montauk sideways
Dave at the helm for that Fall Series
Zoraida asleep on a winch
The broad reach broach
Block Island
"What was that?" "Your father just fell out of the bathroom"
Helm failure on the way to Montauk
Butt cake
"Why do I do this as a hobby?"
The Crusher!
I survived Race 6
Dave: "Run silent, run deep"
And, of course:

If you can't read the handwriting, it says, "To Edd, Richard and the Crew of the Enterprise - Make me proud - Good luck! William Shatner"