Remembering Dad – Sailing

Continuing in the remembrances theme, today I will share my recollections of sailing. My dad was an avid sailor, as in the wind and sails sailing, not power boating.

Day Sailer, very similar to my memoryMy earliest recollections were fuzzy drives to the Palo Alto Yacht Club where my dad kept his boat(s), and times with the tides, sailing around the south bay, viewing the sloughs, and the various other sights from the water’s edge.

I remember post sailing running around the board ways, the plan alleys, and the buildings of the Yacht Club while dad was doing the analogy to the 19th whole in golf.

I remember the canteen in the club house, and the occasional hamburger that was purchased for me. Frozen patty, glue like bun, and mustard and pickles topping. To my 5 year old self, that was indeed a special day.

I remember being on the crew for races. Mostly friendly competition, a dozen or two enthusiasts would head out on a simple marked course on the bay, pitting the wind tamer skills. Wearing my life vest, helping with the ropes, and tacking, the call out for “hard-tack” and lifting up the spinnaker. Treasured memories indeed.

My dad had a day sailer, which I just learnt isn’t a brand so much as a medium sized sail boat without sleeping quarters. I don’t recall how big it was, but I do remember it seeming YUUUUUUGE to my young self.

I do not recall the politics and the fight around the closing of the Palo Alto Yacht Harbor, but reading the link above tells me that it was a charged campaign.

My dad did go on to a bigger boat, with sleeping arrangements, and had berthed it at Pier 39. He was active in the San Francisco Yacht Club, being the treasurer if I recall. There was nothing like dropping him off at his berth by DRIVING on to Pier 39, by all the tourists who stared at you.

My last boating trip with my dad was before he retired to San Diego, when a few of my friends joined them on a bay sail, a mid day energetic sail with pretty stiff winds, and some quick sailing around Alcatraz. This must have been 1992 or 1993.

Alas, upon moving to San Diego, he ended up selling the boat, and renting when the urge to sail was upon him.

As the old saying says, the two happiest days of a boat owner is the day they buy their boat, and the day they sell the boat.

I will always remember the time out on the water, the first trip in the spring where you spent a whole day cleaning the winter grime off the boat, and replacing hardware that was corroding in the salt air, checking the boat over for the coming season.

Fond memories indeed.

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