I grew up on lake with power boats and have always loved the water
. But sailing is for sissies, I always thought.
In 1976, I was in my mid-twenties, single
, and living/working in New Orleans
. I had an apartment and was just making enough money
as a salesman for a heavy equipment
company to save a little and buy a weekend toy.
I thought a Harley would be fun, or maybe a ski boat. But, a friend kept touting a Hobie 16.
I thought sailboats were for people who could not handle horsepower and the whole thing looked. . . well . . . boring as hell.
But, my friend kept telling me that girls would love it and so would I.
So, one Friday night out at Augie's Delago, a huge three-story bar that used to be at West End on the New Orleans
Lakefront by all the yacht clubs, I conducted a survey
I approached every stunning woman in the club to seek her answer to a simply survey
: for fun on a Saturday would you rather: 1) tour the countryside on a Harley; 2) go waterskiing and riding around in a power boat
; or, 3) go hang out at the beach and go sailing on a Hobie Cat
Geez! The Hobie Cat won by a landslide!
So, the following Monday, I called Sailboats South and talked to Colin Clark, the owner, and bought a Hobie 16 sight unseen. It would be ready Friday.
I went and picked it up Friday afternoon and Colin was to meet me at Northshore beach in Slidell the next morning for a lesson on rigging
it and sailing it.
I brought the friend who promoted me buying
the Hobie and we went to the beach bright and early.
Colin did not show up (turns out he got too plastered the night before). But several other Hobie owners showed up, showed me how to rig it, and thereafter my friend and I spent the day flipping the boat and doing everything wrong you can do, all while other Hobies zipped by and their crews lent advice on how to right the vessel and on how to sail.
I loved it, girls or no girls (turned out that girls did in fact love it, but that's a whole other story).
In the next year, my initial motives for selecting the Hobie were secondary at best. I became a certified sailing nut!
I even ran Colin's shop once while he went sailing in Belize
, and I became part of the Lake Pontchartrain sailing scene in short order.
Colin was the dealer for Hobie, Prindle, NACRA, Stilletto and Ericson
monohulls, also BIC sailboards.
Anyway, it was an unlikely and perhaps even impure start in the eyes of some, but sailing took hold for good.
It's no wonder that with my Hobie roots I now live on a catamaran
. My wife and I have been cruising full time for four years and loving it!
how life's little twists and turns affect us.
What if my Augie's Delago survey had come up with a Harley as a winner? I probably would not even be out here cruising right now and what a shame that would be! I got lucky!
I guess you just never know, right?
All the best,