A 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 of Cortez.

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 adjustment.

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.


SHOPPING FOR NEW CUSTOMERS?
ADVERTISE HERE!
Call (209) 383-0433
or (209) 358-5311

© 2018 Merced County Times. All Rights Reserved. Powered by  Imedia West