That’s what my friend Wilson asked me, many years ago when our boys were young. Wilson, his son Jay, my son Will, and I all piled excitedly into the small sailboat. We put on life jackets and raised the sail for our trip across Long Lake. When we got across the lake, we would meet our wives and the other children for a picnic.
All went well until we got to the middle of the lake. The breeze was cool and fairly strong, refreshing on a warm summer day. We made good progress, following Wilson’s directions for when to move from one side of the boat to the other, and when to watch for the boom swinging around. We sailed toward our picnic at a good clip. Jay leaned over the bow, letting the water run over his hand.
Then, as quickly as one, two, three, it happened. One, Jay leaned too far and fell over the side into the middle of the lake. Two, Wilson dove out of the boat and swam toward Jay to make sure he was safe. And three, Will and I were all alone in a sailboat, rapidly moving away from Wilson and Jay, with no other boats around, and absolutely no experience sailing anything other than the little boats in my bathtub when I was a kid.
Luckily, Wilson is a strong swimmer, and was able to yell instructions to me at the same time he made sure Jay was safe. He talked me through everything I needed to do to turn the boat around, and to sail it close enough to them so they could grab a rope and pull themselves back aboard.
When they were safely in the boat, Wilson smiled at me and said with a chuckle, “You know, you could have just dropped the sail, and we would have swum back to the boat.”
How many times do we find ourselves thrown into danger that we are not prepared for? You can’t be prepared for everything that happens in life, but I know this. I signed up for a sailing class the next week.
Derek Meeson loves to write, and just about anything might strike his fancy.
Related Sailing Articles