Tell Tales

The Importance of Sailing
Tom Conners
Sailing is too often described by wave height and wind speed. “The waves were over the spreaders and we did a steady ten knots to weather”, etc.,etc…. All of this in a boat with a hull speed of 6. 5 knots!

The hardware of sailing is often emphasized. How many conversations can be sustained by tales of new roller furling gear or GPS? My wife could use these tales as a sleep aid!

Another topic of sailing consideration are the never-completed construction projects. Just for the record, the only orginal items left from Pegasus’s launching are the rigging, hull, and cabin top. Yes, I went a little overboard in rebuilding!

My daughter, at age seven pointed Pegasus out to me, “Dad, it real pretty”. That young lady was raised on our boat. Anne is now 24 and has limited time for sailing, but the moments we spend sailing are magical!

Sailing has allowed many important times with my daughter. The smile on her face when she gets the boat trimmed and running is wonderful. Better are the moments we share in each other’s lives. Sailing encourages conversation.

I now enjoy the company of four step daughters. I share a sailing experience with each of the girls. (Teenage girls cause other boats to pass closer than before!)

My wife and I find the boat a wonderful escape. Vacations, a weekend , sometimes a few hours, but we are “away”. Pegasus has served us as a needed escape.

Pegasus has taken my sailing friends to New England, New York and many local Chesapeake Bay ports many times. All of my “long standing” friends are sailors. Sailing develops friendships that golf never could!

So the next time you are questioned on the value of sailing, remember the sunsets shared with friends!

Tom and family sail Pegasus, their Columbia 31 from the Baltimore Area. This article appeared in the February 1998 C-Nuz 2 issue.
Little Boats that Can
Bill Ledbetter
I was taught to sail on a Catalina 22, the ugliest Clorox bottle at the dock. We were constantly “out to sea”, my captain and me. We went to weather, we sailed in rain, and most, not everyone, but most of the “other” owners sat at the dock, cleaned, bar-b-qued, sat around, and talked.

After awhile, every time we passed they would ask “so how was it?” And our answers went from “nice”, to “it was horrible, never should’ve gone”, or “you would not like it today”. We walked off holding our heads down like trashed and defeated men, smiling all the way, because it had been wonderful, but they would never know, because they would never go.

We called that Clorox bottle “the little boat that could”, and she taught me the finer arts. My buddy “the captain” is now in the California desert waiting for a job transfer to better sailing conditions; I own a Columbia 34, and though she is a Clorox bottle, and being reconditioned (my docklines are frayed, my fenders don’t match, it had an apartment-size little refrigerator on it), I have had it out once already this year. It was an overcast drizzly day, and we crashed to weather awhile, and motored in after dark. And it was horrible, “never should have went”.

This article appeared in the May 1998 C-Nuz 3 issue.

Invitation to a Wedding

Or, If this boat’s a’rockin’, don’t come a’knockin!

Brian Engelke
After selling an engagement ring from a failed relationship when I was 23, I soon found the next love of my life, sailing. That ring bought my first boat, a Butterfly.

Then four sailboats and nine years later, I found the next love of my life, my wife Kelly! Kelly loves sailing as much as I do (which is a big reason why I married her!). And it was that love of sailing and each other that brought us together in one of the most unique weddings a lot of people have ever seen.

We have a 1967 Columbia 34′ designed by Bill Trip named “Altair” which we keep on Lake Perry near Topeka, Kansas. We both love everything about this boat, from its speed when racing to its roominess and homeyness, which I appreciated greatly when living on it before I met Kelly.

After we were engaged we decided we wanted a one-of-a-kind wedding, and it made sense to us to have “Altair” be a part of it, since it was our second home. So after lots of preparation and stress, all was ready for the big day!

We anchored “Altair” out in the back of the cove our Yacht Club is in. She was spic and span, all the teak was varnished, and everything was polished and gleaming. I was aboard alone and slipped into my white tux, feeling quite nervous but still good! This was a day I didn’t know whether would happen or not.

Our lake’s primary purpose is flood control and to help determine the flow of water to the Kansas River. Well, after a rainy Spring, Perry Lake was up nine or ten feet, over the sidewalk, allowing no way for people to get to our friends’ boats which were serving as the pews for our “church”! So I spent the two days before our wedding with the help of a couple of “saints” adjusting dock cables and moving the nearest dock to shore so we could have boat access. But as my mind wandered, I was brought back to the here and now by a call for permission to “tie up”.

My almost-wife, her maid of honor, my brother and best man had arrived on a friend’s boat. While we were busy with the corsage “thing”, a flotilla of twelve other sailboats piloted by my sailing friends in their best clothes (shorts, t-shirts, dock shoes and ties) tied up, six to a side, to provide standing room for family and friends.

The ceremony was wonderful. The preacher in full robes and I in white tux stood on the foredeck. My best man and the maid of honor each stood on the sidedeck a bit back. Then the music started, and my wife in her wedding gown came out of the companionway and strode forward to join me. While it was sunny, 80 degrees and beautiful, the wind had other ideas! It blew at 30 knots! But we persevered, although my wife had to keep one hand on her hat throughout the whole ceremony.

We even had an uninvited visitor in the form of a single engine Cessna that decided he needed to circle at low altitude to get a better look, right during our vows. The look on the preacher’s face was less than holy as he gave the plane a glance from you know where.

Then came the exchange of the rings. Always thinking, I put them on a “floatie” key chain, which gave everyone a good laugh. I just didn’t want those damned things falling in the lake! With that being done, the rest of the ceremony went as smooth as silk! We all went back to the docks and up to the clubhouse for the reception, dance, and one of the best parties I can remember.

After all the hub-bub and cleanup, we took a few close friends out for an evening sail to cap the perfect day and then retired for the evening on “Altair” for our honeymoon night before leaving for Mexico the next day! (Sure hope he put those “close friends” ashore before retiring!)

This article appeared in the Fall 1997 Premier Issue.