Sailing season is here again. Over the last few sunny days the boats have arrived. It is nice the see the dock arrayed with boats again. The boats belong to son, Bill, and friends, and a few additional skippers who have joined the group over the 13 years we have lived here. This winter they all got together to repair the dock. They got us some new deck chairs to add to the ones we had. Now when they all gather after the race to talk about every gust of wind, who did what and when, they can sit in comfort.
I grew up on Cape Cod with sailing as part of our summer. We learned the terms of jibing and tacking with a small model boat Aunt Peanut had. When we graduated to the real boat, a Cotuit skiff, we found we were watched, too carefully by the family and found it easier to crew where we were not the ones making the decisions. But when Sea and I met (in Maine) we knew we both liked the sailing life.
We were married and living in Virginia when we bought our first boat. We didn’t even have a car, but we did have a boat. We had to buy a car, a 1948 Packard from an Uncle, so we could get the boat to Virginia. Sea sailed on the Potomac and by the time summer came along, a baby was on the way, so I mainly watched.
Sea sailed in a Comet class regatta one year. I went to Haines Point in Wash.DC to watch the races, two small kids in tow. All the boats were new and winners from their home fleets, but local Comets were invited to sail as well. As we watched the boats round a mark near to me, a gentleman watching noted the “very old” boat was ahead of the rest of the fleet. He was impressed. I confess, I had to tell him it was my husband, and that actually, he was still rounding the first mark and the rest were on their second. It isn’t all about winning is it?
Sea sailed with Bill as crew when we moved to Bellingham. We bought the boat ( a Cal 25) when we moved here. I recall the shopping trip to Seattle. Two of our kids were off with friends, so we had the other two with us. I remember the salesman taking stock of a couple with two children telling us it was the perfect boat for us. There were two bunks in the bow and two in the cabin. Perfect… only when we cruised around the area we threw in the other two kids, the oldest got the floor between the cabin bunks and the two youngest got to share a bunk, foot to foot. The trouble is that the two youngest kept growing and somewhat outgrew the one bunk. Then it became, cruise with a friend or send a kid or two ashore to spend the night in a tent. Finally we just got a smaller boat for Bill and Sea to race.
Our move to Florida was after the kids were all grown and on their own, so once again we bought a Day Sailor. Now, with no kids to burden me, I became crew again, watching for the other boats under the sail and keeping my head down. I had grown up with skippers yelling at their crew and was pleased when we attended a sailing race group and were told that your crew is your ally… don’t yell at them. I am sure in the fever pitch of trying to stay ahead or gain an inch or two, things are tense, but Sea never yelled at me, til we tipped over… one time… and I went to rescue his pipe while he dealt with the rest of the stuff that was floating away.
The move back to the Cape meant another small boat to race in the local fleet. I could sit at my sewing machine and watch the races. We sent Brittany to sailing camp several summers and now she has the bug as well. It sounds like Bill’s kids are ready for sailing camp this summer. It is a friendly sport. No tackles, no head bumps and you can’t hear your fans or foes yelling at you.