Yes, I admit it, I am a lake bum. A few short months ago, I couldn't sail a Dory in a Millpond and now I am only slightly better. Oh boy the stories I could tell already.
I am a soon to be 40'ish father of a 4 and 6 year old, and husband to a beautiful wife whom I have been with for almost 20 years. She is a water
baby that I met in San Diego
while in the Marines and suckered her into following me to Georgia
But that's enough of that for now. It does, however, lead me to why I am here.
My wife (the above water
baby) and I are two very different humans. She prefers the water while I prefer the mountains. Maybe one day I will find an interesting mountain by the seashore that I can be a hillbilly on, but until then I have sailing. And that is where my story begins.
I live on a lake, you would think that I would have bought a boat sooner but it took me 6 years to pull the trigger. After several discussions we decided we didn't want a cruiser, she wanted something she could be cove comfortable in. We got a 22 foot Catalina
I bought the "sailing for dummies" book. Hit every youtube and website I could find, and picked the brains of anyone who would spend time with me. After filling my brain with lots of data I decided on a smaller sailboat that one person could manage (wife knows nothing of sailing- yet) while 2 little ones were bouncing around like chipmunks.
The boat I picked up was interesting. If I had known more I would have bought more boat, but I had no clue what was about to hit me. The fellow I dealt with knew just enough about sailing to show me the thing could float and how to dock
it. I had a friend of mine with some sailing experience "give it the ok".
What I bought was a boat that had been rather pilfered, but was at least lake worthy. It had a trolling motor
, no gib gear
, the wenches were rusty, the motor
mount was old plastic, it had no boom vang
, no radio
, no bilge
, no mast
light, ETC. that list could go on.
But it was mine.
The first thing I bought was a 6 horse Mercury
NIB. Short shaft of course. Luckily I had some small craft training in the military and I remembered to tie off the motor. It promptly slid off well after leaving the marina even though I had it tight as the plastic was so old it disintegrated from the motor mount. It took a plunge but got caught by the tie down before being deep sixed. I learned the value of using the tiller to scull my way home and I learned the value of a proper motor mount and made it happen. Followed that by taking the short shaft back to West Marine
and replacing for a long shaft.
My first "sailing trip" out was a rather laughable affair. I had no idea that I was missing the rigging
for the gib and had looped the rope
to the winch
which promptly went flying along with my front sail and flapping in the breeze as I desperately sought to find a way to affix it and get moving again. Meanwhile almost ran aground. Twice.
Well, I decided to pull up the centerboard
and put the family
out on an island for a bit of quiet time. I was blubbering by then....While enjoying they afternoon sun I notice my new engine
was sitting at an odd angle and decided to adjust it. I climbed into the water and went to pulling on various knobs and latches
till I got the cross bar out. As I was putting the bar into a more appropriate hole, of course I dropped it. In more than a few feet of water. Thereby learning
the value of a good tool kit, oh, and re-remembering how much fun it is to scull yourself home. This time with a very cranky family
As I was nearing our cove, which by the way is a very narrow inlet, I realized the wind
was blowing directly down it with no way for me to sail but directly into the wind
. Couldn't get it up the inlet to save my life. As I was about to ram a rather expensive cruiser I decided the safest course of action was to just tie the anchor rope
(minus the anchor) around my waist and just swim it in. I did and soon realized the value of having tow coverage. Swimming a boat 1000 yards into the wind was fun....when I was 20.
When we landed, my sweet wife, who had endured entirely too much by this time had only 3 words to say to me when she exited the boat..."Take a class". My children
were far less friendly.
Well, after some formal classes
, lots of sailing, remembering some common sense, and getting the willies scared out of me a few more times.....
Here I am...
My intention now is to get certified, spend much more time on the water, and EVENTUALLY get a bigger boat in a slip in either St. Augustine or Panama
so that my darling wife can finally have her water.
I have much to learn. My priority is to keep my family safe, but to learn to have some fun with it. If life works out the way I plan, maybe even some long term cruising
will fit into this story somewhere.
Sorry for the novel,