Letters from Mike – Well, I Didn’t Sail, Bob n Larry

by Michael Beebe – Rockport, Texas – USA


Let’s see where this goes. Took her out again, the twelve. She likes to dance. She skittles and side slips, but no dosey doe’s. She not a line dancer, she does her own thing. She curtsies, if need be, dips her rail some. But then what did you expect, it was blowing neigh 30 out there. Flying maybe forty feet of sail.

Went south out of Cove Harbour, down the ICW. Turned left about 3 miles further, out onto Estes Flats. Hadn’t seen this many small ponies before, sharing the flats with me.

The little lady did just fine. A few years back, before I sold her, the leeboards were dreadful, and I’m finding out the sail she had then wasn’t so good either. She’s sporting new lee boards, foil shaped, and a new high peaked lug sail with a single reef.

I also, as mentioned before, put ninety pounds of lead in her belly. She’s stiff, but not unladylike like.

She’s a go getter, now. Before I never knew what I had, now the dreams begin. I’ll be remodeling the interior, if there is such a thing on a twelve foot boat. Now that she’s back home and staying, I’ll feel better about spending more time and money on the gal. She’s getting close to the half century mark in years, came to be in the mid sixty’s.

She don’t shine like her newer siblings, britework is non existent, she’s a painted gal, wears it just fine, but even the paint looks better at ten to fifthteen feet.

But she can dance, yes sir!


I didn’t sail…

I didn’t sail today. I could have, even toyed with the idea. Went out and stood next to the trailered and waiting sailboat. But I didn’t, I stayed home. Took a few measurements but even with them I didn’t do anything. Didn’t even look at my ideas I’ve been putting on paper.

So I fiddled. Thought about these things, these short essays that some are inclined to read. Which, bty, I’m both surprised and grateful. The weather was to be cloudy and thunderstorms, fifty percent. It was cloudy, and the rain did come along with the accompanying lightning and thunder; it’s going on right now.

With some of the hellish lightning storms that pass through here I often wonder why the local Harbour hasn’t more sailboat masts being struck. Not a one in the five short years I’ve been here. Are lightning strikes and sailboats really that big of deal? The reason I ask is, I see adds regarding identity theft. An industry sold mostly on fear, imho. Fear because if you do the numbers one will see it’s less than one tenth of one percent of the population. Hardly seems worthwhile to get all worked up.

A quick search shows sailboat ownership at a comfortable 15 million average over the last few years. From 06 to 13 one web page had fourteen deaths given to boats and lightning. Another fear industry? Perhaps. Does your skin crawl when the kiddies aren’t pfd’d? Do old photos of the fifties showing the irresponsibleness of our grandparents having our parents aboard, without pfd’s, raise your ire?

The reason we’ve been sold this bill of goods I don’t have an answer for. But two plus two will always be four. The truth being what it is it’s easily discovered if indeed we’ve been sold a boat that won’t float. Think not? Stay with me please. The men who stormed Normandy were not made of the same caliber of 18, 19, and 20 year old marching the college campus’s of today. Cream puff’s? No, no! Snowflakes they’re called. The boys of yesteryear get my vote.

So I didn’t go sailing, I was lazy, took the day off and did some thinking. This political correct line of thought is in fact infecting the very things you and I hold dear. Small boat sailing. The popular magazines of the day are infected with it. I keep reading of the two boys lost at sea on the east coast last year. As tragic as it was, get over it. We can not sanitize this world of misfortune, and the more we try, the less freedom we have as a people. It can’t be done.

I didn’t go sailing today, maybe I should have.


Bob n Larry

Bob n Larry were boyhood friends, going way back, through thick and thin their friendship stood the test of time. People often wondered how a polished, up-state, lawyer and a blue collar plumber really had much in common. But they did.

The cement was laid early in grade school when the, to be plumber, stood up for the underdog book worm. The friendship was formed, and has stood the test of time. There was never even a hint of the normal drifting apart as so often is commonly found.

Little League, sand lot ball, swimming holes, even the natural growth into dating, double dates were soon to find these fellows were inseparable. Joined the service under the buddy system, then came the natural paths of carrier choices.

That didn’t make a difference to either of them, the friendship, like David’s with Jonathan, of biblical fame, would be judged by the less understanding as something of which it wasn’t. They let the water roll off.

Speaking of water, small sailboats came into the mix. Seems they both needed to get away from time to time, away from pressing duties that try to smother all of us. First the plumber gave it a try, then an overnighter. Soon enough the lawyer jumped in. They had their craft, refined their skills and were often seen doing the proverbial, ‘last seen going over the horizon thing’. They sailed as often as they could for years, both together and alone; they loved the sport.

The wives didn’t mind, they enjoyed the zest the husbands brought home with them as well as left with. Albeit tired, the fires burning inside, were as hot as ever.

The lawyer was given a local sailing rag by another lawyer during a called recess in a civil case they were sharing.

Our sailor friend, flipping pages, saw the ad: “Micro-cruisers for sail, bring your back pack” it seemed to encompass the entire page, or at least half the page. The ad was but three lines, but those three lines invoked in the lawyer such a distraction of visions I think his client went to jail. Concentration was lost, dreams replaced the thoughts where other thoughts should have been.

Just as soon as duty was complete, the call was made. “We gotta go, We gotta do this! It’ll be the trip of a life time! It’s snowing here, and there’s two feet on the ground, let’s go!”

And so the journey began. Two lifelong friends escaping the winter snows of the northeast, soon to be heading to south Texas, going micro-cruising. Each in their own micro-cruising sailboat, everything ready. Two boats completely outfitted, rugged, beach able, dock and piling friendly, waiting for our two friends from the frozen north.

(“Bob n Larry” is just a story. It’s something I have in the works but am only half done.)


  1. Please continue Mike. I love this stuff! I’m an old sailor, small boat messer… should have commented long ago.

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