looking back

12 May 2006 | Key West
10 June 1948 | Lake Erie
26 August 1947 | Ohio River
11 June 1946 | Boston Harbor

what am I doing here?

12 May 2006 | Key West
I'm just trying to get the hang of this thing. First off I confess I don't have a boat. I think I've had enough green water in the face that I qualify to occupy the space so I'm putting together a log of my time on the water in word and image. For instance, the picture is a scene I'm sure is familiar to most cruisers. I'm waiting for a bus on Stock Island in the Florida Keys.

in the beginning

10 June 1948 | Lake Erie
If I wanted to explain a fault to an angry captain or gloat at the competition when I won a race, I would tell people I didn't start sailing until I was thirty. Then my Dad gave me this picture he took at Cedar Point when I was four years old. The photo foreshadows the maturity of my time as a sailor. The water is only inches deep and of course I am hard aground--a condition to which I have attained ever since but, hey, that sail is a spinakker. The vessel is a world war II aircraft liferaft with a red triangular sail with two clews and sheets. If anyone doubts it's a serious boat, after he took the picture, Dad sailed away in it and when Mom got us home we found he had sneaked out and bought our first mechanical refrigerator.
I used the photo for my first business card when I got my six-pack. Hence the print content. The email address is still good.
On another day on Lake Erie, Mom,my sister and I went out on an R class boat. As soon as the thing heeled over, I dove below and refused to come out. We left the lake shortly thereafter to live on the banks of the Ohio River and I wouldn't sail again for years.....

early influences

26 August 1947 | Ohio River
...but my Dad did.
I remember going with him to buy the boat but the rest is a little misty. It was a Sea Snark from Sears. They might still make'em and you may have seen one. From a distance, it looks like a Sunfish; on closer inspection, it is a molded polyethylene foam bathtub with a pointy end and a rudder hanging off the other end. The sail is a lateen rig like the Sunfish but it was made from a single sheet of poly film--like a garbage bag but a bit thicker. Came in one color--yellow.
Where we lived, on the Ohio about sixty miles downstream from Pittsburgh, the river moves at at least three knots and five is not unusual. It is not an ideal place to go sailing. Current aside, with mountains on both sides lifting the air, what wind you get is shiftyand gusty. The history of navigation on the Ohio doesn't include a lot of sailboats. Most boats went downstream and, before the advent of power, if they had to go back up they did it with dray horses. This did not deter my dad. He was going to sail on the Ohio River even if it killed him. Then add to the mix the dam that was about two blocks downstream of our house and no matter the Sea Snark was light enough to launch below the dam, he's going in right in front of the house. He had a couple of things going for him. There was a good breeze and in his youth in New England he picked up some knowledge of sailing. He got the boat going upstream at a pretty good clip and sailed out into the middle of the river--where the current is strongest. He was sailing well and tearing it up through the water but his speed over ground was negative and he went over the dam backwards on a screaming (for a Sea Snark) reach.

to sea

11 June 1946 | Boston Harbor
to keep the narrative time line, I must keep backing up the dates so, by the time I get finished, we will be evolving our fins into legs and retreating from the sea only to return again. This picture is from 1968.

More to come soon.
Vessel Name: dream on
Vessel Make/Model: pending dreamboat
Hailing Port: Jack's Bight
Gallery Error: Unknown Album [1:]:7838
dream on's Photos -

Port: Jack's Bight