My summer vacation is over and now I’m on a grease skid to fall, and there’s nothing left to live for. That’s not exactly true, but you know how it is. There’s actually lots to look forward to, and fall is in fact my favourite time of year, but I feel like this summer never really took off. It’s been too cool, buggy and rainy. My God the rain. I actually stepped outside a few times and shook my fist at the sky, to no avail. If this continues, I may have to write a strongly worded letter.

On a brighter note, John and I won the sailing race at our little annual regatta. That’s right, and Aidan and Jamie came in third, followed by Ronan and Ellie in fourth. The family that sails together … bails together? As I always/never say. There were 11 boats in all. Jamie won best Hors D’oeuvre for an unheard of second year in a row. Ronan and Ellie dressed up as Johnny and Baby from Dirty Dancing, and were ADORABLE, but didn’t even get an honourable mention for Best Costume. That award went to two guys who dressed up as bottles of Veuve Cliquot champagne, complete with cork hats and, for some reason, no pants. If you’re thinking this is the strangest regatta ever, you are probably correct.

Johnny and Baby. They might have won if they did The Lift.
Johnny and Baby. They might have won if they did The Lift.

 

I learned to sail as a kid, when I went to sailing camp in Port Credit. This may have had something to do with the fact that I had a mad and strange crush on Lord Horatio Nelson, Vice Admiral of the British Royal Navy, captain of the HMS Victory, hero of the Battle of Trafalgar, and my own true love.

Horatio Nelson. He lost an eye and an arm, but won my heart.
Horatio Nelson. He lost an eye and an arm, but won my heart.

Later, my father bought a 26-foot sailboat, and taught himself how to sail, although he never learned how to swim. He went on the become Commodore of the Harbour City Yacht Club, which was cool, but not quite the same as Nelson. John learned to sail with his mother at the cottage; on leaky wooden boats they mostly built themselves. Aidan also went to sailing camp. Ronan, by contrast, went to clown camp. If one of us falls overboard, you can count on him to throw out a rubber chicken.

We do have to take sailing a little more seriously come the fall, as John, Aidan and I have to pass our Intermediate Cruising and International Competency tests. This allows us to charter and sail larger keelboats in other countries. We did this in Greece last year, where you only need basic cruising knowledge, but the plan is to go to Croatia next summer, where they expect you to have a better handle on things. Our collective ability to sail big keel boats (or catamarans) is slightly hampered by the fact that we don’t actually own one. We are dinghy sailors, by choice and by budget, but we know people with bigger boats who can teach and test us, so that’s what we will be doing in September. Ronan is sitting this one out, as he’s back in school, but that’s fine. Someone needs to swab the decks, wear big shoes and a clown nose.

Ahoy Matey
Ahoy Matey

 

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