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Lemon County: Setting Sail...

Updated on December 15, 2011

Sail On By...

Right up there in the math-you-never-do, is the answer to whether the money you spent on magazines would have paid for the actual thing you covet.

In my case, boating magazines. I love boats. And harbors, and all things boaty and oceany, but for years it was an unfulfilled longing, supported by my habit of magazine purchasing.

Surprising then, that when I got married to She-Who-Is-Adored, we'd never spoken about boats or sailing. Turns out, she is a very competent, and keen sailor, who knew?

Just over a year ago, we had the opportunity to purchase a real boat, an event spurred on by my sad habit of hanging onto useless things. An explanation is forthcoming. Some fifteen years ago, a colleague of mine, left California for Chicago. They had a little sailboat on a trailer; did I want it?

Naturally, the purchase was made. I now owned a boat and was thus a real sailor. Except the boat made it's way into the garage and stayed there for a very long time. I'd pull it out every couple of years and clean it. OK, I'd dust it and pull the cobwebs off the trailer, then, I'd put it back and pack all the garage stuff in it, on it, and around it.

One year the garage stuff took over, and the boat, a very noticeable yellow thing, started its life in the driveway. After several years of looking at it (including two memorable summers where we learned to sail as a family - in someone else's boats!) the neighbors, normally nice people, decided to give me a hard time about getting it wet, showing it the ocean etc.

Ridicule is a potent motivator. I put a tow bar on the car, fixed the lights, and checked the rigging, not there is much of that on a single sail Banshee, and we took her down to the harbor. In support, was our vacationing son number one, in a kayak, and the boat met the water at last.

First the wind laughed at us and disappeared. Then the pin that holds the rudder in place, fell to the bottom of the harbor. Then the strap that holds the keel in place gave way, launching the upwardly propelled keel into my precariously positioned private parts.

Now it was at this point that the woman I married morphed into "Captain", grabbed the tiller and the sheet, and by sheer force of will made the boat go forward. There is very little room in a fourteen-foot boat, but I did my best to slide forward and out of the captain's way. Just not enough. A few minutes later, and I was alternately cramping and hitting my head on the boom. The pain was nothing compared to the dawning realization that this boat was utterly useless.

Her best efforts, and a helpful tow from our son in kayak notwithstanding, we were adrift in the middle of a busy harbor in a way that even captain super-wife could not fix. Cowering in the tiny space forward, I saw greater humiliation looming. A large gentleman, in a tiny inflatable, offered to tow us back to the launch ramp. We accepted the tow of shame. Pulled the little yellow thing out of the water and, in silence, returned her to the safety of the driveway, the whole sorry incident never to be spoken of again.

But could I leave things alone? Heck no. Only this time I did much better. On a walk around the harbor I saw a postcard with a boat for sale. Not a fantasy money boat, a twenty-two foot sailboat that had lived a little and was actually within our seriously limited budget.

Long story short, the O'Day Dream, a real boat, became ours. Under power I am allowed to be her captain, but the second the sails go up I revert to crew and just make sure the captain has her rum. We sleep on her sometimes, which is entertaining in a "how can he fit in that space" kind of way, and just love the extra dimension she has bought into our life.

And the captain has a smile on her face. Priceless.

Dear Hub Reader

If you enjoy this hub, please check out my book,

Homo Domesticus; A Life Interrupted By Housework,

A collection of my best writings woven into a narrative on a very strange year in my life.

Available directly from:



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    • ChrisLincoln profile image

      ChrisLincoln 7 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California

      Welcome aboard the SS Humorhub...

    • jrsearam profile image

      jrsearam 7 years ago from San Juan, PR

      It's always a pleasure to read a fellow mariner's account of his adventures at sea! Fair weather to you and may you always come into port with full sails...JR

    • ChrisLincoln profile image

      ChrisLincoln 7 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California

      Thank You!

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 7 years ago from TEXAS

      Ah yes - I understand that edit, edit, edit mode. But like all creative work - there is much work in the background to have it look "natural" and fluid to those who behold it. You pulled it off - again!!

    • ChrisLincoln profile image

      ChrisLincoln 7 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California


      Being on the water always puts life in perspective for me. With most of my world out of kilter, this is my sanity.

      Thank you for the comments on my writing, there is about an hour of creativity, followed by about two of drudgery as I edit, edit, edit.

      Glad you had some fun with this,


    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 7 years ago from TEXAS

      Love it, Chris. In one of my lives I was into boating big time. Unfortunately skin issues - allergy to direct sunlight complicated it. But I can understand the love of boating. Mine was all inland and pretty smalltime , though.

      I enjoyed your account here! Your writing style is soooo fluid and fun!