When it comes to “The Halifax,” Arthur Love can claim dual citizenship.
At 83, he is the longest living member of the Boston Yacht Club (1951 to present) and a lifetime member of the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron, an honor bestowed in 1999.
“My parents loved the Canadian Maritimes,” Love explains. ‘Right after World War Two had ended our family went on a summer trip in 1946 to Nova Scotia.” It was the beginning of a summer ritual for the Love Family, one that would be repeated over the next several years.
He joined the RNSYS as a junior member in 1948 and learned to sail on a 36-foot schooner called The Rainbow. His first memory of the Marblehead to Halifax race was in 1947. “We would go out onto the jetty and blow horns as the boats approached the finish line.” Love explains that the finish was closer to the mouth harbor in those days.
Love has fond memories of his boyhood summers in Nova Scotia. Before renting a summer home in Halifax his family first went to Chester, NS, a “lovely seaside village about 45 miles south of Halifax. It was a beautiful place,” he says.
As a junior member of RNSYS, Love found Halifax harbor a good place to learn to sail. There were a few close calls, he says, big freighters were always coming and going and the crews aboard the big Caribbean ships “didn’t seem to care about us.”
Love’s first boat was a Bluenose 24-foot yacht built in Nova Scotia after World War Two. He says the Bluenose was very popular at the time. It was handcrafted in the Maritimes. They required a crew of three, according to Love: a helmsman, jib man and a someone on the mainsail. They later added a spinnaker and “jenny”.
“We named our boat Puffin after the Atlantic sea parrot,” Love remembers. “They swim by flapping their wings and do somersaults as they skim along the water. We thought that pretty much described us in our boat.”
In 1951 the family moved Puffin to Marblehead. Dr. Julian Doherty, a friend of his father, was the commodore of the BYC in 1952 and got the family interested in the club. The Puffin was transported by ship to Charlestown and then to Marblehead. In those days, the BYC was located near Transportation Wharf. She joined a fleet of Bluenose yachts in Marblehead Harbor as the sixth. He kept Puffin until 1977.
Love has raced the Marblehead to Halifax twice – in 1961 and in 1963. Both times he crewed aboard Canadian boats. “Canadian skippers were very competitive, but also calm, “he remembers. What he found in both races was mostly light air - especially by the Bay of Fundy. “Some skippers had to tack all the way up the shoreline to finish, “he said. But a captain named Don McNamara aboard a 60-foot schooner called Lord Jim decided to swing out to sea, make one hitch and a bee line to the finish. It worked” Love said.
Love remembers when the Marblehead to Halifax was held in August. He believes it was moved to July to help eliminate the fog that plagued racers later in the summer. He also believes there were more social events. The sailors were entertained by all three Marblehead clubs on different evenings usually under a big top at a yacht yard.
Looking to the Americas Cup and its high-tech catamarans, Arthur Love is not a fan. “High tech sailing is taking over, “he says. “I am more of an independent sailor I like feeling the boat under me and having control over when to tighten up or to slack off.”