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A Family Sailing History

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I started sailing on the Chesapeake Bay with my roommate in college at the University of Maryland. Then when I was stationed at Treasure Island Naval Station in the San Francisco Bay, the Special Services department at the Naval Station had some Cal 20's (pictured at left) that personnel could check out for the day at no charge and sail on the SF Bay. I was out there every chance I could get and was hooked. It was out solo on the windy SF Bay, that I honed my skills as a sailor. When I moved to LA in the mid 70's I had a friend with a beautiful 40' yacht at Marina Del Rey, and he used to invite me out to sail with him frequently, often handing the helm over to me while he went below for a nap. It was in the late 70's that I was introduced to the sport of windsurfing, which became a lifelong addiction. I had one of the original "Windsurfer " brand boards in 1979

I discovered the Columbia River Gorge in 1985 when I was in Oregon on business. Already an avid windsurfer, I immediately fell in love with the area... the gorgeous terrain, the marvelous town of Hood River and the extraordinary winds. I was fortunate enough to acquire a very special piece of riverfront property in Rowena just east of Hood River in 1986, and my family and I enjoyed a 20+ year tenure as stewards of this wonderful land. I enjoyed countless thousands of hours of windsurfing in the mighty winds of the Gorge, made many lifelong friends, and we spent most of our summers there every year over the period. Visit the Columbia River Gorge Wikipedia page for more about the Gorge.

In the mid 2000's we acquired 3 Sunfish sailboats which turned out to be a lot of fun on the river when winds were too light for short board windsurfing. Libby and I along with our son Patrick enjoyed many light wind sessions sailing out there on these venerable little boats. Manufactured by Alcort in the 70's, the sunfish were just 14' long with a single lateen sail and only cost around $500 apiece or so, less than the price of a new windsurfing bare board. The fun to dollar ratio with Sunfish is off the charts. We could sail them right out of our cove there and kept them moored in the water all summer. When we sold the property and moved away in 2010, one of my neighbors happily purchased all three from me.

My wife Libby grew up spending summers in Rhinelander, Wisconsin on a property her family owned on Moen Lake there. They had several summer cottages there on the property and it was there that she learned to sail. The family had a Sunfish there as well as a little larger Tanzer day sailor. She and her two brothers spent many summer hours in their youth sailing on Moen Lake.

Libby grew up in Los Angeles which is where she went to school. When not in Wisconsin in the summers her family enjoyed ocean sailing out of Long Beach harbor. At the left is a photo of her dad's Herreshoff 28 Ketch. A lovely boat, but all built of teak wood, there was a lot of maintenance work to be done. Libby says she grew up with #0000 steel wool and spar varnish in her hands.

When Libby was older and had started her own family, her Dad sold the Herreshoff and bought another ketch... a Fisher 30 motor sailer this time, which they named Casha, seen at the left. Libby still sailed with her Dad whenever she could... sailing is definitely in her blood.

After we sold the Rowena property, windsurfing was losing some of its attraction... Now a 'senior citizen' I was looking for a way to enjoy the wind and the water but under a little less stress than Gorge windsurfing, and something Libby and I could do together. So we bought our first sailboat, a Precision 165 for our winter home down in central Texas. Sailing this little boat on Canyon Lake near our home outside San Antonio was a good introduction to owning real sailboats. It was easy to tow with a total weight of just 750 pounds, but this meant the keel was only 250 pounds... less than I weigh myself, so stability with 3-4 people on board was a little tenuous.

We soon decided to graduate to something a bit larger and in the spring of 2010, we bought an exceptional O'Day 23 pictured at the left, which we named the Angelina after my mother. This was a comfortable boat to sail... fast and stable. We kept her at Canyon Lake in central Texas and enjoyed many glorious days of sailing on this marvelous lake. Although I sold her in 2011 I still keep the Angelina website up in her honor.

Actually before we upgraded the Precision 165 with the O'Day 23, in February, 2010, we had purchased a beautiful Catalina 22 in Oregon which remains our traveling sailboat. It is a 2007 Catalina 22 MKII which we named The Anne Marie in honor of my aunt. We kept her at Hayden Island Marina the first summer we had her, and kept her in an indoor storage facility in winter. We trailered her to Texas and back in 2012 for the winter, and now with the Windseeker as our new home on the road, the Anne Marie follows us wherever we go. We have a website just for The Anne Marie and we are still adding photos and information to it as we go along our merry way.

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