Happy Valentine’s Day from your boat to you!

The New England yachting scene in winter can be pretty bleak. Poetry with a dash of love is the panacea we all need. For that reason, Birch Marine (in Boston, Mass.) has again partnered with Points East to present the Birch Marine Valentine’s Day Poetry Contest. A highly qualified panel of 10 judges (known as “TAYAP” – The Academy of Yacht Anthropomorphizing Poetry) carefully score all entries.

This year’s winning entry was submitted by Dr. Brian McPhillips of Hingham, Mass. and is posted below. Our congratulations!

Poem From Analgesic

The sun tracks low, the wind blows cold and rattles through my cover
A lonely life upon the hard, abandoned jilted lover.
But January soon will end and February too
The Ides of March means cover off, I open up to you.
It’s your turn now to scrape and sand and paint and wax and shine
And drain and fill and grease and bleed and rig my every line
And finally it’s time to launch, the calendar says May
The next six months I’ll pull you through all Neptune sends your way.
As long as men have sailed the seas it always has been true:
You treat your vessel well and she will take good care of you!

– Dr. Brian McPhillips
Hingham, Mass.

All the entries were great, however, so we’ve included the other 10 contest entries here for your reading pleasure.

I am the old Swan,
that you sail upon.
I keep you afloat,
you old goat.
Almost as old as you,
with ‘boatie’ aches and pains too.
Still beautiful and sound,
so keep me around,
and ‘a sailing we will go’.
-L. Hanko Rosenblad

My Love for You

The long high waves splash
The people up on top of me
Soaked people in love
Are with me
For a special trip
On Valentine’s Day

There are more than ten
More than fifty
Couldn’t even sink me down
It’s my love for the ocean
That makes me float back up

Pink and red hearts surround us
Some even end up submerged
Those hearts don’t make
Anyone happy, except fish

All of the passengers on top
That’s what makes me glee
Their love and joy they share
With others, spreads to me

I am thankful for everyone
In this whole world
And for the love
Spreading across the sea
– Melanie

Amidst a snow-covered yard
Windswept, I wait for you to return
Yet your dreams have changed
Left only with warm breeze to yearn

My winter clothes flap in the wind
A singular being, a solitary tale
A journey began before you
My purpose being solely to sail

I am stronger from other’s devotion
The one before you swapped my heart
My nerves replaced, brought up to date
But my character, strong from the start

I fell in your lap one New Year’s Eve
Under a mistletoe, by a toasty fire
You heard I was available
Your eyes screamed desire

The deal done, papers and City Hall
Hands shaken, well wishes
Honeymoon on the Cape
Oh those charms and kisses

Not always smooth sailing
In Buzzards Bay we tempted fate
Friends heard of us on the rocks
Your white knuckles in Hell Gate

What an inseparable pair we were
Your spirit, my guiding friend
You laughed how your ghost would stay
Should your life ever end

Run from feelings, drown them away
I know secrets, who you are
But I’m better now from your air
You breathed into me like CPR

Wherever we end, a dream always stays
Memories return, float on waves
Ebbs and flows will whisper this phrase:
Life was best when we sailed those days
– John Rogers

Feliz Navigate

I must confess my GPS
Is why I seldom feel distress

My radar too completes my view
Which otherwise I’d misconstrue.

The compass shows my heading right
And keeps my bearing fairly tight

This season past, I went too fast
Ignored my sounder, then I crashed
– Jeff Lindholm


I am the horse
And you are the rider
You hold the reigns
Yet I am our ride
I’ll hold our path
Subject to the waves
And the wind
And my mood

With marriage we’ve worn
And both our decks torn
But in this place
On these waves
Nothing can stop us
Or even slow us down

You choose the path
And you choose the place
And the course holds
As you choose
And the rudder holds
As I choose
And the rocks avoid
As they choose
And the destination arrives
Or it does not

We will make it if we can
Or change course
On this journey
You are my captain
The love of my life
and we will adapt
Subject to the waves
And the wind
And my mood
– Mark Nicholas

Down Time

When houses stop holding crews captive in 3rd floor wings
And stores stop hoarding bottom paint atop a Woburn hill
When shrinkwrap nightgowns are dropped to ankles
And jack stands lowered for travel lift slings

When keels are buried, no oxygen to eat
And rudders descend from view
Only then will we finally reach our cruising altitude of
Zero feet

Delete Winter, downsize the night
Down with the down, the ice ax, the snow shovel
Drop your dock lines, dip your neighbor
Bear off and enjoy a dancing downwind delight

Down goes the anchor in Gallop’s Lee
Down time for you, down time for me
– Sally Blink


The last thing I expected was flowers
Other girls in the marina got
Fenders, anchors & halyards
And I got flowers

Split pea, Chicken of The Sea
The coiling top popper can also be used in other ways
My captain used it to turn
A Pellegrino can into a vase

Daisy, Marigold, Snap Dragon, Gardenia and Fern
My cup holder over floweth
It’s one thing to wash a deck or grease a winch
It’s quite another to bring a girl flowers

Tiny flooded field in a can
Tiny catalyst
Tiny floating house blooms into
Tiny floating oasis
– Sam Albright

higher purpose

i should be in the sound by now
it’s because of you – i’m in a scrapyard

that race from New Bedford
i served you well
all the way to Marblehead – won by 12 hours

my lead keel
not my wooden 70 LOA
is my only appeal – during the war

you called me Andiamo
i hear that means “Let’s Go”
– Tyler Mosher

Sailing with my Mate

Sailing along with my mate,
How happy these times can be,
But without my mate, I contemplate
Just how lonely I would be.

I am a sloop, a fine old boat,
Which takes us safely to sea,
But without my mate, I contemplate
Just how empty life can be.

From harbour to bay and cove we go,
Such delights there are to see,
But without my mate, I contemplate
What a void there’d be in me.

We feel the wind and view the sky,
Our companions here at sea,
But without my mate, I contemplate
There’d be no caress for me.

But when I see him standing there,
On the dock staring at me,
I see my mate and I contemplate
What a joy he is to me.

So now we sail, just we two,
Sharing each our company.
Here with my mate, I contemplate
Sailing on so merrily.
– H. J. Schneider

Your heart, I know, was stolen many times
By my sisters.
Some of them, I know, were beautiful, others
Were fast, (and you know what they say about that).
One was after your money; another was cheap.
One was too small, another too large.
The best of them, I’ll admit, took you over
Deep blue waters, far offshore.

You never liked racing around buoys
And the banter of jocks; the frat-boy
Language of sailing sports just bores you.
Yet the honest sea has always called in words you understand.

You got older, wiser, and you found me at last.
I’ve taken you places those old boats never could
Now, in the maturity of your life.
I’m younger, as is fitting.
I give you my youth with all my heart.
– Buell Holister


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