Letters from Mike – Summer Breeze, Third Sail – Dancing

by Michael Beebe – Rockport, Texas – USA

Summer Breeze, Third Sail

The first two outings showed me I had more work to do with the leeboards. They weren’t long sails, just quickies, in and out; lasting less than an hour.

This third sail would be a marathon burned into my mind for several reasons. The reasons bring to mind an old sailing rag on the west coast. In it there was a monthly article entitled: “I learned this while boating.” Or some sort of thing. Mistakes we make and live to tell about them. Puts a whole new meaning on ‘a good day out means getting back to the dock’. Well, as your reading this, I got back.

The wind was west, here that means offshore. Any islands the wind comes around the ends and takes a whole new direction for the length of the island. With the leeboards askew, not at all in line with the centerline of the boat, I really blew it letting this one slip by.

I could not go up wind, not a lick. Broad reach only or dead downwind. Cove Harbour was up wind and I was a few miles out into the bay. With the wind picking up a few knots out there in the bay and with it the chop, and the water is still cold. Figuring my options, here’s the dumb part, (sorry An’dre) I didn’t have with me even a bic lighter nor anything else other than a jacket.

Not a good prospect to spend a night out on an island late January. My figuring got me turned around and heading back to Traylor Island. Broad reaching I knew I could do it and I figured again I could walk the shallows pulling the Breeze behind me. I did have some water shoes, thank you Lord. After reaching Traylor, off with the Levis and a two or three mile slog up wind in the shallows began.

The water was cold, soon though I got used to it and kept at it. With only a hour or so of sun left I found the answer I asked myself earlier. I had tossed a head lamp into the boat just before leaving, ‘Why am I bring that?’ I thought.

After the first mile, I could tell I was losing steam. The pace had slowed. I saw up ahead a lone fisherman just offshore. My hope was he’d not leave before I got into hailing distance. Turned out we knew each other. He sails a Sunfish and got into a similar jam months before when he broke his rudder.

Well he did give a tow, and with the tow the sun set. It would have been well after dark had he not been there. I left the boat in the water that night to retrieve in the morning. Mister Piper had been dogging me the day before, I had hoped he went home. He was there at the dock to collect his due.

Normally, I launch at the south end pull out, now I was pulling out at the north side. Difference being, the south side has pilings along the dock to tie off to, no cleats. So while putting the boat on the trailer, I tripped on one the dock cleats they have on the north side. I went down hard.

The left knee is now gripping and a bruised rib won’t allow me to lift most anything above waist high with out joining in the gripping. Guess I’m land bound for a few weeks. O well. That’ll give me time to finish the Lighting, and save my money for the next time Mr. Piper shows up. And get my boat bag back together again.


There is this right side, left side of the brain thing, creativity as its called, being on one side or the other, I don’t remember which. My dancing, and musical inclination comes from neither side. When it comes to those abilities found in me, my wife informs me I’m brain dead.

I was once informed by a well liked Pastor, there are more Indians than Chiefs, we all can’t be Chiefs; nor dancers it seems as well. A coffee mate, over at the communal office a certain group of men use, informed me of his impending dance lessons set up, I think already, by his better half.

I informed him in no uncertain terms, zip the lips, if he happens by the house. Oh, don’t get me wrong, my wife and I twirl around the living room floor from time to time, and I do enjoy the short bursts of activity on my part. Her’s as well when she’s ROTFL at my clumsiness. In public, no thank you.

Even the new to me redesigned sailboat has enough room for slow dancing at anchor. Oh yes, really. It’s not that it’s such a huge sailboat, but if the cabin top were left behind and the berth cushions moved aside, heck, we’d have 30 sq. feet of an uninterrupted ballroom.

There would be no overhead twirls or such though.

I used to kid myself for years thinking I enjoyed dancing, I think it was the punch. That second or third and forth, fifth, and sixth drink of the doctored stuff, I even started to think I could. Then I sobered up.

No, I’m not a dancer, and pushing seventy, I know I’m not a dancer. I quit surfing several years past, I no longer wanted to devote the time I felt it required to maintain enough stamina to enjoy myself. And besides, falling into water is not near as comparable to falling on a dance floor. Both of those days are behind me.

So I’ll sail my little boats, and dance across the waters of the local bays. I know what moves to make, what strings to pull. I can pull into shore for a breather, make a cup of Joe, even take a nap.

Were I to sprawl out somewhere in a corner of the dance floor, while out with the wife, the music would keep me awake, not to mention, our dog is a little guy, there’d be no place for me to sleep when I got home.

Whatever side of the brain dancing and music reside, I can guarantee, I’m not there.


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