Kim Bernard and Wayne George
Photo by Leslie Martini

In the summer of 1991, Marblehead resident Kim Bernard arrived on Nantucket to participate in Figawi, the annual Memorial Day weekend sailing race from Hyannis to Nantucket. Kim recalled a long-standing warning, intended for the single women in attendance: “Don’t ever expect to find a boyfriend at Figawi!” She and her group of girlfriends proceeded with caution.

After a long day of racing, Wayne George and his mates sailed into Nantucket Harbor, ready for the post-race events and a night of celebration. While at the popular nightclub Rose & Crown, Wayne and his friends ran into a group of women who were also from the Boston area. By the end of the weekend, the two groups were bonded, and excited to exchange information as new mates. Once back in Boston, the groups gathered regularly, even forming a softball team called the Boston Co-Ed Business League.

The now-commingled friend group found much in common, especially Kim and Wayne. Both were single and living suburban lives — Kim in Marblehead, traveling frequently for work, and Wayne making a long commute to Boston from a farmhouse he had purchased on the South Shore. Both were weary from work travel and daily commuting. Both had experienced the isolation that often accompanies life outside of the city. Both had been contemplating moves into Boston. Neither had been aware of the other’s plans for a move until a mutual friend interceded, suggesting that the pair become roommates.

“Of course Wayne thought I might be the perfect roommate! Pays half of the bills, travels all the time, and is never home,” Kim laughed. She eventually warmed up to the idea and, soon after, a Back Bay realtor was hired to help the pair find the perfect two-bedroom apartment.

The decision to move the friendship into a roommate situation led the pair into deeper discussions of likes and dislikes, followed by the occasional dinner. But as the search dragged on, finding the right apartment to accommodate their varying needs seemed to stall, frustrating their realtor.

With her own lease about to expire, Kim too began questioning the snail-paced process. But when she pushed Wayne for a decision, he paused before confessing that he wasn’t convinced that being roommates was a good idea.

“I wanted to kill him!” Kim said.

It took mere seconds for Wayne to explain his reasoning, that the two should date each other rather than be roommates.

“I still wanted to kill him, but I think I realized I felt the same way,” she said, laughing at the memory.

The pair broke the news to their realtor, who didn’t seem surprised. “She said she’d always thought we’d make a cute couple,” Kim said. The new search was altered to a one-bedroom apartment in Boston’s Back Bay. With Wayne’s city apartment, and Kim’s seaside haven in Marblehead, they both had what they wanted.

September marks 29 years of marriage for Kim and Wayne George, who own Marblehead retailer F.L. Woods. They never miss a Figawi.

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Originally published on in the Marblehead Weekly News, republished with permission.

HOW THEY MET: Port and Starboard
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