Sunday 6 March 2011

Dock Six Degrees of Separation

     "You may ask yourself, 'Well, how did I get here?'"
                                                            -Talking Heads

     Let me tell you a story or two.

     You tell me what it all means.

      I've got my own ideas, but maybe there is a rational, logical explanation.   Or maybe it is just Dock Six.

      I started learning to sail back before anybody had ever heard of Luke Skywalker.  The summer of '76 found me enrolled in sailing school on the north shore of Pittock Lake, a man-made reservoir that, at that time, formed the northern boundary of the fledgling city of Woodstock, Ontario.  "Lake" is a pretty generous term for a flood control pond that is essentially a wide part of the Thames River which is emptied every fall. But, when one is an hour away from either Lake Erie or Lake Ontario, one works with what one's got. That summer, I learned the rudiments of sailing and capsizing the school's fleet of elderly second-hand Alcan Petrels.  I.  was.  HOOKED!  By the next summer my indulgent parents had finagled the acquisition  of a Mirror dinghy,  and over the next few summers I thought I was the scourge of the lake, sailing my Mirror through the White, Bronze, Silver and Gold Sail  CYA certifications.  Even then, I wanted a boat that could take me to distant shores, and I gazed enviously at the "big" boats on the lake, the Sirens and Matildas that had their own docks, separate from the lesser daysailers dragged up on the beach at the end of the day.  They had CABINS!  Hell, they even had heads!  Turns out, a man who worked with my father owned one of those Sirens, and it further turns out I went to high school with his son.  I thought the whole boat was great package, and unlike the slightly larger and more complicated Matildas, a Siren seemed... attainable. But, by the time I got to high school the Mirror was no longer seaworthy and I had dicovered internal combustion engines and girls, not necessarily in that order, so I figured I had outgrown my sailing phase,  replaced the Mirror with a Honda motorcycle and moved onto land-locked pursuits.
    Flash forward to the summer of 2010 .  I am in my third season of a happily revived "sailing phase", and a new boat appears on Dock Six.  Turns out that a couple of die-hard powerboating anglers on our dock had gotten bitten by the sailing bug.  They told me the story of their boat.  They started looking at boats, narrowed their search down to a Siren, found an example they liked, being sold by a gentleman who had reached the age where he couldn't sail his Siren any more.
     On Lake Pittock.
     Where he had been sailing since 1976.  Yeah, it was THAT Siren.  34 years later and 35 miles away, one of the reasons I am on Dock Six shows up on Dock Six.

     As I alluded in a previous post, I am a forum freak.  Sailing forums, wooden boat forums, car forums, writing forums, I've joined 'em, contributed to'em, moderated 'em, and been banned from 'em.  Back in '08 a new contributor joined one of the sailing forums I plague, introduced himself, and it turns out he lived in Woodstock and planned to sail his boat on Pittock Lake.  Later, he almost bought a house that was right across the road from the house I grew up in.  While I was building "Chirp," he was acquiring a wooden dingy about the same size.  We never actively solicited advice from each other, never had  contact beyond infrequent message exchanges on international sailing forums...  and the day I start this blog is the day that he puts down a deposit on a slip... on Dock Six.

I'm not saying that Dock Six is the center of the universe, but...


1 comment:

  1. Another thing you don't know is that this new guy named Eric bought a 3 1/2 hp evinrude yachttwin for his DS 22 from somebody on Dock Six.