by Kristen Miller
We met Anne and Jon Hutchings in the fall of 2005 when we bought our first cruising sailboat, Whisper, a 1977 27’ Albin Vega. Our decades long friendship took root during that fall of 2005 when, as very green and young sailors we cast off the dock lines to sail Whisper from Deltaville back to Pasadena, MD, and immediately ran into trouble.
As Jon tells it, he and Anne were having a cup of tea (the famous Hutchings blend of Rooibos and Lapsang Souchong) when Jon’s phone rang. A few minutes after our joyous departure from Fishing Bay Marina with our new-to-us boat, our engine overheated. We needed to get back to port but we were quickly losing daylight and there was zero wind. Anne and Jon were new residents of Deltaville and didn’t have a boat of their own to rescue us, so Jon responded, “the boat has a paddle, right?” Indeed it did, and we took turns paddling all the way back to the marina. Anne and Jon invited us over for hot showers, hot drinks, and a hot meal and we all had a good laugh over a bottle of wine. It turns out that instead of opening the engine seacock before starting the engine, we had closed it. We took a trip to West Marine with Jon the next morning to find a replacement impeller and were on our way shortly thereafter.
Since that first meeting in Deltaville we’ve all had our fair share of big life changes. My husband, Hans, and I took Whisper on a three year cruise through the Eastern Caribbean and ended up back in Philadelphia where Hans went to medical school. He is now a practicing Emergency Physician, we have two kids and are cruising full-time again on a 2020 Boreal 44’. We completed our first Atlantic crossing in January, 2022, and are heading for the Pacific in 2024.
Anne and Jon moved from the condo near Fishing Bay Marina (where we shared our first dinner together) to a fixer-upper McMansion on the water in Mathews. After successfully getting Annapolis Yacht Sales South up and running they started their own enterprise, YaZu Yachting in 2020, sold the McMansion and moved to a small house on the water back in Deltaville.
Through all the changes and milestones of the past 17 years, we’ve stayed in touch and passed through Deltaville many times. When we sailed on Whisper, the first and final stops of our Caribbean cruise were at Anne and Jon’s in Deltaville. In 2011, we drove from Philadelphia to Deltaville to spend our elder daughter’s first Thanksgiving with Anne and Jon and their friends. A few years later, in 2014 we took our 36’ Carver powerboat and floating condo Rhumb Line down the ICW to Jacksonville, FL where Hans did his residency training. At the time, our kids Freja and Matilda, were 3 and 1—Anne and Jon’s dock and big house were a welcome respite on the trip south. We didn’t see each other again until the boat show in 2018 when we flew from Texas to Annapolis to see our future boat, a Boreal 44.
Fast forward five years to 2022: at the end of October, we spent a perfect fall weekend with Anne and Jon at their new house in Deltaville; this time we were tied up at their dock (in 3.5 ft of water!) on our Boreal 44, Positive Waves, heading south to the Bahamas for the winter. New boat owners and recent clients of YaZu Yachting, Lillian and Alex and their two kids Hudson and Alexia on the sailboat Beyzano, joined us for dinner one night. The 4 children had a blast, connecting in that special way that cruising kids do and making the most of that rare commodity ‘kid time’.
Anne and Jon continued their beautiful, welcoming tradition of hosting boat owners and sharing sailing stories and tips. It felt as if we had come full circle from when we first bought Whisper back in 2005. The best thing about the cruising life isn’t the dolphins or the sunrises at sea, it is definitely the people you meet along the way.