Never without his cell phone, Charlie Modica received a call just after finishing the third race in last week’s Menantic Yacht Club Sunfish races.
It was from a friend from Jupiter — not the planet — Florida, though one has to wonder at times. The caller wanted to give Charlie advice about racing and to say he was coming to Shelter Island for a couple of days. Charlie mentioned the call to me and thought a sail around Shelter Island on Charm, his 70-foot sailboat, would be nice.
Charlie invited a small group who were to meet at the Shelter Island Yacht Club at 2 p.m. on Friday the 13th to be ferried out to Charm. I arrived early and was chatting with a couple, Carolyn and Mike Stromberg who also seemed to be waiting for someone.
After a few minutes, I mentioned that I was waiting for Charlie, and it turned out Carolyn and Mike were, too. Mike was a linebacker for the 1969 Jets and said he was looking forward to surprising an old teammate.
We were all waiting to go for a sail with Charlie’s friend from Jupiter, Joe Namath, the legendary quarterback for the New York Jets. Joe didn’t know Mike lived on the Island or that he was invited for the sail.
Known as Broadway Joe for his lifestyle as a young man in New York and his bold predictions about beating the favored Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III, Joe was delighted to see Mike and talk old times.
It was a real thrill to be sailing with the quarterback and linebacker, both of whom I have admired from afar for many decades.
Joe had never been to the Island, but after a great sail with new friends, he said he would be returning. Joe is a true pleasure to be around — funny, witty, entertaining and forever smiling.
Steve Shepstone and I took turns sailing Charm for most of the day. The wind was blowing around 10 knots and was pretty steady all afternoon. Mike also helmed the boat, although he much prefers power boats, he said. Joe took the helm as we approached North Ferry on our return to port and, under the direction of Charlie, did a superb job.
In addition to those mentioned above, Pete and Sallie Bethge, Melissa Shepstone and Andy Belford were on board. Many thanks to Charlie and Lisa Modica for a great day of sailing and making new friends.