The Mistress I Don’t Mind - Sail Magazine

The Mistress I Don’t Mind

“Bad news, honey,” my husband, Leif, told me, “We own a sailboat.” That’s how I found out about the Cape Dory Typhoon Weekender.
Author:
Publish date:
Windshifts-October-1

“Bad news, honey,” my husband, Leif, told me, “We own a sailboat.” That’s how I found out about the Cape Dory Typhoon Weekender.

Leif had made a low-ball bid on an eBay auction, left town for Thanksgiving, and returned to learn he’d won. We now owned a 1974 sailboat, three states away, in the middle of winter. I couldn’t wait to see how he’d work his way out of this one.

This is not the first watercraft my husband has sprung on me. Five years ago, there was the secret kayak. It was delivered to his office and lay hidden in the basement for a few weeks before he was finally overcome with guilt and confessed. She was a pretty, taut, dark red folding kayak. I told him she was the kind of mistress I didn’t mind him keeping, and that one day I might even take her out for a spin myself.

The Cape Dory, on the other hand, posed an immediate logistical challenge. How could we get it home to Minnesota—in December no less—without a heavy towing vehicle?

Luckily, Jerry the eBay seller, motivated by his girlfriend’s ultimatum to thin out his fleet of seven sailboats, cheerfully offered to deliver the boat himself. He even brought along his cross-country skis so he could enjoy the snow while he was here, and he oversaw the inaugural rigging of the Cape Dory via the iPhone photos we emailed to him the following spring.

I’d been skeptical, and Leif had been lucky. We had the boat. We had it rigged. Now what?

“Floating family slumber party!” That’s how Leif sold the vision of taking our two daughters on an overnight trip and sleeping all four of us in the tiny V-berth in the Weekender’s cuddy cabin. The girls, who were only just short enough to make this plausible, were thrilled at the prospect of an adventure. But I found myself having flashbacks to when I was 10 and my father bought a pop-up camper. For years I’d had similar delusions of slumber parties, but he never once opened the thing up, and eventually ended up selling it off again. Would the Cape Dory be different?

While the girls and I mulled over the possibilities, Leif and his writer-friend Michael took the Cape Dory on her maiden voyage to a regatta on the Lake of the Woods up on the Canadian border. Ever the entertainer, Michael regaled a national audience with his stories of 45-knot squalls that came out of nowhere, a fur of mosquitoes that descended on them at nightfall, and the way Leif’s wife had hummed the theme song to “Gilligan’s Island” as they prepared for the trip.

Reading Michael’s stories from the comfort of home, I began warming up to the idea of the Cape Dory. Leif, on the other hand, returned from his weekend away brimming with a renewed sense of appreciation for me. After sharing the boat’s very small cabin with another human being for a long period of time, somehow all of my bad traits had vanished! He loved my sense of humor! He found me fun and easygoing! Perhaps this would become another mistress I didn’t mind.

A few years ago, when my husband took to reading books like Alone at Sea at family events, I might have worried our marriage was in trouble. But I have since come to see the escape of sailing as the perfect way to resolve a mid-life crisis. It’s a chance to get away, alone or together, and an opportunity to plan adventures and solve problems. And at the end of the day, what’s not to love about a pretty little Cape Dory skimming across a Minnesota lake on a sunny day? I’m already dreaming about cozying up in the belly of the Dory next summer, falling asleep to the lullaby of the loons and waves, surrounded by the people I love.

Family slumber parties, here we come.

Photo by Michael Tortorello

Related

USCGReadyForRescue_Identifier_FullColor

USCG Ready for Rescue Challenge

The U.S. Coast Guard is now collaborating with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on something it calls the “Ready for Rescue,” a $255,000 prize competition that is looking for ways that will make it easier to locate people, MOB victims in particular, in the water.The ...read more

04-CLR1718md1085-jpg

A Historic Win for Wendy Tuck

This past summer Australian sailor, Wendy Tuck (inset), became the first woman to win a round-the-world yacht race when she and her crew aboard Sanya Serenity Coast claimed the overall victory in the 2017-18 Clipper Race. “I am just so happy,” Tuck said at the finish in ...read more

daviscards

Davis Instruments: Quick Reference Cards

CHECK THESEIf you’re sailing with new crew this summer or your kids have suddenly and inexplicably started to look up from their phones and take an interest in the finer points of cruising, these Quick Reference Cards from Davis are a great way to further their boating education. ...read more

01-rbir18-596

Another Epic Round Britain Race

There are basically two kinds of offshore sailboat races out there: those that take place annually, like the Fastnet and Chicago-to-Mackinac races; and those that take place every other year, like the Transpac and Newport-Bermuda race, in part so the competitors have sufficient ...read more

01b_WALKING-KEDGE-OUT-cmykpromo

Getting More Use From Kedge Anchors

If you are cruising, you need at least two anchors on board for the simple reason that you must have a backup. Imagine having to slip your anchor on a stormy night with other boats dragging down on yours, or having your rope rode severed by some unseen underwater obstacle, ...read more

SailAwayCharter

How-to: Navigating on a Bareboat Charter

So you graduated from navigation class where you practiced dead reckoning, doubling the angle on the bow and maybe even celestial nav, and you now feel well prepared for your first charter trip. Well, you won’t be doing any of that on vacation—not past the first day, anyway.Most ...read more

04-Turtle-rescue

Turtle Rescue in the Vic-Maui

Strange and often wonderful things can happen in the course of an offshore sailboat race, and one of the strangest and most wonderful things we’ve heard of recently took place during the 2,300-mile 2018 Vic-Maui race, from Victoria, British Columbia, to Lahaina, Hawaii.It ...read more