My introduction to sailing occurred in the summer of 1979. I had graduated from college the year before, got a job offer and worked for Boeing for awhile, then quit (another tale for another time) and was working a part-time job. My boss asked if I’d like to go sailing. He was buying a sailboat (21 ft Ranger sloop). He first took me out on a lake in a 16 ft dinghy to teach me some basics. Once he had his boat, he took me out in her around Fox Island, WA.
If you look at a map of Puget Sound, in this area one of the features is the Tacoma Narrows. During tide changes, the current gets pretty swift. Well, my boss hadn’t installed an auxiliary outboard on his boat yet, so we were committed to sailing. We went out initially at slack tide, but then it changed. We were on the opposite side of the Narrows from where we needed to be and were going to have to tack through the current to get back to his mooring.
I was manning the jib sheets while he had the tiller. Our first attempt, we didn’t have the speed or get it clean enough and the current pushed us back. The same on the second attempt. We had time for one more, and if we didn’t make it, we were going to have to bring the boat in somewhere on the Tacoma side of the Narrows and hitch a ride back around to our cars.
The third time, we made it, and the exhilaration and adrenaline rush I experienced hooked me.
I didn’t know it would be 36 years until I finally realized my dream. Through the years I collected pictures and stuff with a sailing theme. I even bought a pair of Sperry Topsiders to wear, but that was as close as I got. I used to enjoy walking along the waterfront and marinas, admiring the boats, and imagining what it would be like.
After we’d been together for awhile, I (Doug) expressed to Mary that I was interested in sailing, and would she be interested in learning to sail with me. She said ‘yes’ (another confirmation she’s an awesome woman!!), so we signed up for an ASA 101 class at the local sailing school (PSSI) for a class in March (2015).
On March 19, 2015 we bought Whisper, a 1983 Catalina 36, hull #31. Ten days later we took our sailing class…