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Sailing the Blue Key

By Roy D. Follendore III

Copyright (c) 2001 by RDFollendoreIII


July 17, 2001

The other day was my birthday. At my age I do not want another weird tie to hang in the closet, I want time.  I wanted to spend some time with my son who will be a High School Senior next year.  I know that soon he will not be living with with my wife and I, he will be making his way in the University of life.  

David is a good Son and more than that, he is one of my best friends.  I enjoy being with him and I know I will miss him if he goes off to college like his sister.  As a consequence I could think of no better way to spend my birthday than to spend some time together.  

The previous day, he and I had discussed the idea of sailing across the Potomac river to Maryland. from Virginia  He and I both felt reasonably sure that we could make it across the river, but the truth is that the wind there is unpredictable. We were not at all sure we could make it back. 

The sailboat we own is called Blue-Key.  It is in fact blue, has white sails and is made of fiberglass.  It is small and has no motor and tends to flop over if you don't lean out fast enough.  It is also only big enough for two, although I remember a time not so long ago when it was definitely much larger, at least in my mind.  A few years back it could take out our whole family.  My Son who is now 17 and an inch or two taller than me now, noticed immediately that the boat felt much smaller than he remembered.

While David took over of the main sail, and the sheets to the jib, I handled the tiller and we immediately drifted off of the dock with a sound breeze.  Blue-Key cut across the waves with splashes that would occasionally spray out from the sides. It slapped the water to time as it bit through to the next watery ridge. 

It turned out to be an elegant sail as we made the trip of a little over 4 miles in a fine and steady manner.  We arrived in Maryland, we had lunch, got off on the rocky beach and walked to stretch our legs before coming back.  On the way back we cracked Pirate jokes and laughed all the way about firing our "98 ponder broadside".  David took control of the tiller as I laid back and relaxed, gazing at the sail.  We both got quite.  As we were sailing back I was of course thinking about the time and my son and I talked a lot about that.  

The wind had slowed dramatically as we came across to a cove and for a moment it even stopped.  Then as a slight breeze made formed the white shape above us I saw that the even the slightest breath of air felt like it would keep us traveling forever.  It was a significant moment. 

You always know you can make it back home as long as there is a fire in your heart and a curve in your sail.  




Copyright (c) 2001-2007 RDFollendoreIII All Rights Reserved