Lifelong Addiction To Sailing
By JOHN M. DERBY
Times Founding Publisher
December 6, 2018
For as long as I can remember, I have been messing around
with boats, starting when I was growing up on Long Island
Sound, and now in my 82 year in Mexico, sailing on the Sea
I am addicted. It never gets any better than being out
on a boat with the wind in your face, pointing the bow toward
an island in the distance.
Yesterday was the first full sail of the season for me,
here off the coast of Baja, Mexico, and it could not have
been more perfect. The winds were very mild in the morning,
and there was a thought they might not come up in the afternoon.
By noon the palm trees were starting to sway, and there
was a ripple across the water. My wife and I had invited
two people to sail with us. One young man had sailed once
before, and the other was a nurse from Alaska whom we have
taught how to sail in several past years. Knowing we would
be out on the water for three to four hours, a chicken salad
was prepared ahead of time with crackers and the usual beer,
water and soda.
This was the third season for the nurse and only the second
time on the boat for a young man, however, he had been on
power boats before. While everything was new to him on the
sailboat, he was a fast learner, and had the strength which
the other three of us did not have.
Since it was a learning session, everything was done methodically,
explaining why it had to be done a certain way. After a
year away from this boat, even for the two of us who had
sailed her many times before, it was a relearning experience.
The 24-foot Flying Dutchman was build by Bayliner back
in 1975 when the company toyed with the idea of building
sailboats. Bayliner gave up the idea after 10 years and
decided the sailboat market was one which they didn’t
want to get into.
For Mexico, where we live, there are no docks. The Dutchman
is perfect because it has a short shoal keel and can be
launched off the beach. During the hurricane season, it
is really necessary to have the boat out of the water or
suffer the chance of having major damage done.
The Dutchman had no damage during the past summer but since
this water is so hot, the anti-fouling paint does not last
more than one season, and we repaint every year. Two days
after arriving at our home in Mexico, the bottom was painted
and the Dutchman was launched and on its mooring.
Now two weeks later and she was on her maiden sail out
into deep water. Amazing enough, everything worked perfectly.
The winds picked up to 12 knots in the mid afternoon and
she moved along smartly under full sail.
Each year we take down the same sails we use at Yosemite
Lake on the Catalina 22. They fit perfectly and without
For the next three hours it was a series of “how
great this is” and “simply perfect sailing weather.”
On days like this I feel guilty that I could have so much
pleasure while so many people in the world are suffering.
Then I think to myself, “I have worked hard all my
life and I deserve to be out here messing around on a boat.”
Only wish all you LYSA members could be here with us.