Monday, June 9, 2008

Wind In Your Sails: Part II

I have often been asked, “How did you learn to sail?” Before I answer, let me begin by saying sailing is not for everyone. If you seek speed and daring, don’t mind polluting our natural waters, and have money to burn (literally) on gas, then sailing isn’t for you. I fell in love with the beauty of sailing long before I stepped foot on a boat. In my life before Pete, I sailed with a friend on a small 16 foot day sailer. On the day of my first date with Pete, I had been at a marina in Oshkosh looking for a small sailboat of my own. It was only natural that after we married we would buy a boat together. Pete was already an accomplished sailor, and I was eager to learn. We bought a used 22’ Bristol, named Bristol Crème, and enjoyed our first season sailing on Lake Winnebago. Within six months of married life, Pete was transferred to Illinois. We spent the next several years perfecting our sailing skills on Lake Michigan, sailing up the coast from Belmont Harbor to downtown Chicago’s Monroe Harbor.

We eventually sold our sailboat and moved to Georgia where the manmade lakes are too shallow to support Bristol Crème’s deep keel. However, our passion for sailing never waned. Wanting to take my skills to a new level, I began taking classes toward my American Sailing Association accreditation at Lake Lanier. Click here for a link to the ASA web site and a list of courses I took. I successfully passed every ASA level up to Off-Shore Passagmaking. In addition, I studied for my U.S.C.G. license via Sea School. I learned practical aspects of boating, including Rules of the Road, Radio Operation, Survival Techniques, Distress Signaling, Boating Terminology, Boat Equipment, Use of Flares, Use of Life Jackets, Techniques of Seamanship, Anchoring, Aids to Navigation, Boat Registration, Navigation, Knot Tying, Firefighting and more. At the completion of my studies, I sat before the U.S. Coast Guard for my Near Coastal License. The Coast Guard calls this license “Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessels” (OUPV). To achieve my licensure, I had to log the required number of miles, both inland and coastal. My coastal miles were logged by sailing on the inland waters of Lake Winnebago and Lake Michigan, taking off-shore sailing classes in FL, and by chartering/Captaining two sail vacations in international waters via The Moorings. It took nearly two years to achieve my ASA certification and obtain my OUPV license. I haven’t lost a passenger yet, but there's always a first time for everything (LOL!). Both photos below were taken around 1990-91. Is there any doubt why I married Pete? Isn't he cute?? There is something irresistable about a man in tune with nature (*sigh).
Chicago skyline as we leave Belmont Harbor

Pete at the helm with Jamie and Edward (our Westie) as navigators


Chere said...

Who is that good looking man on the back of the boat? Oh, Edward. Well Pete looks pretty good to. That was in the days of the skinny little sailing setters. I very safe and in good hands with you in charge of our vacation. I can't wait. Eight whole days of sun, fun and relaxation. I have spent most of my life on boats, motor that is. I am looking forward to sailing.

Chere said...

oops! I should have read that last post before I hit the button. Sorry for the left out words. Like too, feel. Sorry.

Jamie Payne said...

Wow. That's bringing back some memories. Mom and Peter used to make me go sailing EVERY weekend. We'd pick up Subway sandwiches and hit the harbor early in the morning. I would sit up front, pouting, and read my book. It's not that I didn't like sailing, but I thought spending time with my friends at that age would be much more fun than hanging out with my parentals. Now that I'm older I can finally admit that I loved being out on the lake. Everything smelled so good and it was so peaceful. My favorite times were anchoring over by the Shedd Aquarium and floating in a tube. Mom and Peter would throw food out to me as I paddled around the boat:)

Doughboy said...

Good times then, good times now, good times to come. Yes, as a person who is "one with nature" I commanded the waves and the wind. Deb often remarked on the subtle competition between me and the wind, often citing how, in the heat of competition, how I broke the wind. ;}

Janette said...

WOW great story. Sounds like such fun times. I wish I didn't get so sea sick! I will just have to live through your photos! :)