Cayuga Cruising


The morning of our scheduled first sail aboard Linear was looking a little tentative when we left the hotel on Sunday. It was sunrise, and cloudy skies obscured the early morning sun and spoke of rain, threatening to spoil a beautiful day of sailing. By the time we had finished checking over the boat at the marina, however, the sky had cleared and a pleasant 10-12 knot breeze had set in.


After a brief rundown of some basic operations, the owner fired up the diesel. The motor rumbled to life without hesitation - after 23 years, she was still in great condition. My heart raced as we cast off the docklines and my dad backed Linear out of her slip.


The excitement was almost more than I could bear as I imagined that Linear was ours, that the deal was done and we were her owners. As we motored out of the little harbor, I was already planning trips, modifications, her transport from Cayuga Lake to Lake Michigan.


I prepared to hoist the main as we cleared the channel markers. Readying the main - releasing sail ties, securing the halyard, clearing the mainsheet - and moving about on deck felt familiar and natural. Everything seemed to flow. Within moments the main was up and my dad let her fall off the wind. The main billowed to starboard, gently heeling her over.


We talked with the owner about Linear's history as we tacked back and forth, slowly working our way up the lake. He was only the second owner, the first owner a physician who apparently derived greater enjoyment from tinkering with her at the dock than putting her through the paces - mind you, we weren't complaining. Her current owner was a policeman who, due to the purchase of a new home and other changes, was pressured to sell her to ease the financial strain. Like the first owner, he hadn't stressed her much either.


After the Sail


We spent the night aboard Linear, before heading back to Michigan and Ohio, to see what her accommodations were really like. It became apparent rather quickly that her tired foam cushions would have to be replaced if things worked out. Despite the sad shape of the cushions, and our rampant imaginations that stirred us with dreams of ownership and adventure, we managed to catch a few hours of sleep. At one point, around 1 or 2 in the morning, I woke up to some noise. Peeking aft from my spot in the v-berth, I saw my dad standing at the foot of the companionway. "What are you doing?" I whispered. "Checking the nav lights to see if they're working," he replied, a grin playing across his face. There was little doubt that we were smitten.


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