Old Dogs, New Tricks

old dog in howe sound

My mom and dad are both in their eighties and grew up on the prairies. Even though they live in an area where there are lots of lakes and rivers, my family heritage is not water based.

Definitely flat landers.

Aside from a short and wet ride once on a Laser, my dad’s never been on a sailboat. My mom is super uncomfortable in anything smaller than a BC Ferry.

So, I really wasn’t sure how they’d take to Madsu, our 22 foot Catalina sailboat.

Both of them totally loved it. I couldn’t get my dad off the tiller, and my mom actually claimed to be relaxed, even when the boat heeled in the puffs. The latter is a feat of immense proportion.

I have an old sailing text book in my nautical library (a corner of the shelf in the living room) and dad feverishly devoured every page in the evenings. Out on the boat, he quickly got the hang of things. Like any beginner we had lots of snake wake, but I was surprised at how fast he got the feel for the boat. It’s no rocket ship, but the little Catalina 22 is certainly forgiving and a perfect little boat for the old dogs (and me).

Watching my 80 plus year old dad head up to the fore deck to change the head sail made me both nervous and proud all at the same time. And the fact that my mom, deathly afraid of small boats, actually pestered me to go out “look, the sun is shining, we can go sailing now” is something else.

All I can hope is that when I’m in my 80’s I’ll still be game to try something new.

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