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Sail away with Kurt Peterson

Photo courtesy of Catboat Charters

Visitors to Edgartown’s waters will have little trouble spotting Tigress because of her unique sail, an American flag with all 50 stars and 13 stripes. Kurt and some friends painted this by hand using oil-based paint with added pigment powder and additional linseed oil so that it would soak deep into the fibers. The inspiration for the sail came from a photo of a cat named Cleopatra. “She sailed in the mid-late 1800s,” says Kurt. “Her flag sail was a celebration of reunification following the end of the Civil War. I adopted the idea because it’s such a positive message of unity.” This summer, Tigress will still fly a flag sail, but it’s a brand new one that Kurt helped build during his off-season job at Squeteague Sailmakers in Pocasset. In contrast to the old sail, Kurt says, “from the earliest design stages, we knew this would look like the flag, so it should be an improvement over the painted one.” Fittingly, this Memorial Day weekend, Kurt would hoist the new sail for the first time, for his first charter of 2019.

Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of the summer season for Catboat Charters, and Captain Kurt will conduct up to four sails a day over the course of nearly five months. Crew members Haleigh and Carly will be working full-time again this year. A typical sail lasts for about two hours and takes guests around Edgartown Harbor, Katama Bay, the oyster farms, a view of South Beach, then out past Edgartown Light and along Chappaquiddick. Kurt says, “Sometimes if the wind is really light, we’ll skip Katama Bay and go all the way out to Cape Pogue instead.” Kurt is most grateful that the island has welcomed him into the business community. “They’ve really embraced Tigress,” he says. “Some people like to say they are self-made, but it’s really important for me to show gratitude to others who have aided in my success. I’m really thankful for the support of the entire community, including folks who just come over for day trips. If not for the time I spent exploring the Cape and Islands with my family, I would not be the same person I am today. If not for growing up on the water and having a dad who loved to sail, I might never have found this passion.” 

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