Saturday, April 4, 2009

My father's regret

When we were back home in Wisconsin last summer, my father said something to me that has stuck in my mind. He said he regretted not getting more involved with sailing.

Naturally, my father was instrumental in getting me involved with sailing as a boy during our summer vacations, even buying the family an AMF Alcort Minifish in 1969. But he didn't really pursue it much beyond that level, except for a single terrible experience with seasickness on Lake Michigan while crewing on a friend's racing sailboat many years ago. I don't think he has sailed at all since then, but time seems to have changed his feelings about sailing now to ones of regret.

In thinking about my father, I am trying to figure out a way to include him somehow in my sailing dreams. Most of the recent effort in my "boat quest" has focused on the southeast coast for this reason. My parents own a vacation home on Skidaway Island near Savannah, Georgia, which would make a perfect home base from which to undertake retrofits and launch shake-down cruises in anticipation of a circumnavigation. If I could find the right boat and sail it to Savannah, I can envision my father and me working together on repair projects, and taking Nan and my mother on sailing trips to Hilton Head and Charleston. It would be an opportunity for me to help my father overcome his regret and to give back something meaningful to the man who has given me so much.

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