“Heel, daddy! Heel!”

I’ve been sailing since I was a child and now I’m passing this skillset and passion on to the next generation. So far, my son’s favorite moments are when the boat is heeling at about 35 degrees so he can sit on the low side and dip his feet in the water as we cruise along. “Heel, daddy! Heel!” he shouts so he can really dip his legs in.

We put up safety netting to help hold him in and temper the anxiety of nervous parents. It doesn’t really matter to him if it’s there or not. Within a few hours of coming aboard for the first time, he had his sea legs and has been scurrying up and down the deck, in and out of the cabin, and swinging from the stays with the full confidence that we all had as indestructible little kids.

Enjoying the sailboat with my family and friends is the absolute highlight of each summer. Our favorite days are in July and August when we can sail out from the St. Croix Marina in Hudson, anchor down at Troy Beach, swim around for a little while and enjoy some snacks and refreshments.

Racing is exhilerating. When we bought the boat in 2017, I never expected that I would get involved in racing a sailboat. There were a few other skippers in the marina that were excited to see a new boat, so they came over and invited us to join the club. The next thing you know, I’m taking a crew training class to learn the rules and techniques of racing on other boats. Then, a couple people volunteered to come out on my boat to teach me how to handle it during some casual Friday night beercan races.

I’d never flown a spinnaker before, but the previous owner left an asymmetrical spinnaker with the boat. So, I watched a few YouTube videos and then went out on a calm day with a new friend in the club and we gave it our best shot. It was pretty sloppy at first, but once we got the hang of it, I was addicted to the thrill. Now it’s the big blue and green sail featured in most of these pictures.

I quickly learned that it wasn’t enough to just become a good sailor. I have also learned to become a marine diesel mechanic, 12v electrician, and plumber. Next, I’m going to learn some sewing skills in order to make up some new curtains for the cabin and canvas for the bimini over the cockpit.

The upkeep on this old 1984 S2 8.6 sailboat never ceases. But it’s a labor of love and I’ll share the lessons I’ve learned along the way with the hopes that it might save a few of you some headaches and inspire you to enage in the joys of sailing.

More to come!

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