A Windless Day

Monday, September 19, 2016

The “sail” that hooked us on sailing wasn’t a sail at all. It was a very long, windless day on Lake Superior with five adults and four children crammed into my brother’s 18-foot Precision sailboat, Scheherezade.

We had joined up with my parents, brothers, sister-in-law, niece, and nephew to visit Washburn, Wisconsin, where my father grew up. They stayed in a motel, but we camped at the nearby Red Cliff Indian Reservation. We soon discovered that my first-cousin-once-removed Mike Keur and his family happened to be camping there, too. Mike’s daughters surrounded Caroline in age (one a year older and one a year younger), and Caroline and John enjoyed playing with them.

My older brother, Donald, had brought his sailboat, and he offered to take the Camps and the Keurs sailing around the Apostle Islands. It sounded good to us, so five adults and four children crammed into his 18-foot boat and took off.

There was very little wind when we left. We tried putting the sails up, but they didn’t do us any good. Although Donald hadn’t topped off his gas tank, he thought he had plenty because the wind was sure to come up in the afternoon. This was Lake Superior, after all. So we motored to Oak Island, where we ate our lunch and “mountain” climbed up a short cliff using a rope that was there for the purpose. The children had a great time. But when we got back on the boat, there was still no wind.

Donald was confident that the wind would blow later in the afternoon, so we motored to Raspberry Island and visited the old lighthouse there. Then we headed for home. Still no wind, and Donald had to motor very slowly to make the most of the little gas remaining. We had eaten all the food on board long before, and we were all hungry. Donald had a port-a-potty but no place to put it except in the cabin. Although we promised we wouldn’t look, the girls were too embarrassed to use it.

We were running on fumes by the time we found a yacht club with a gas pump and a restroom. Unfortunately, the facilities were only open to yacht club members. When they saw the children, however, they took pity on us and let us get gas and use the toilet.

Those needs had been met, but we were still hungry. It was 9:00 p.m. by the time we got back, and we all headed to town for pizza.

Then Roland said he wanted to buy a sailboat. I had two conditions: that it have an enclosed head and a galley where we could keep extra food in case we got caught out on the water at mealtime.

In spite of the mishaps, we enjoyed the peacefulness that comes with sailing. (And we had gone on a short sail a couple of days earlier where we actually sailed, so we weren’t basing our decision entirely on that one long day.)

So we bought our own boat, and the adventures began.


The first picture shows Donald, the Camps, and the Keurs on Oak Island. The second shows Caroline and John on Scheherezade.

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