Wednesday, March 15, 2006


For some, sailing is a way of life. Make that life itself. Not for me. Stuck on a boat with no way off. I've been that fix a few times, with my sister and brother-in-law. A very nice 30 foot sailboat, with sleeping for four (or six, if you don't mind the sky for a roof), a galley and a head. We sailed Lake Pepin, a large and wide stretch of the Mississippi river, between Wisconsin and Minnesota, about 60 miles south-east of the Twin Cities.

After getting prepared for our voyage, we motored out of the Marina, past the quay, and then set our sails, wherever the four winds would take us. Out in the lake. I explored the boat, aft and stern. Water all about. Took sailing lessons. Water all about. Dodged swinging booms and swirling , hissing ropes. No way off, water all about. Went below, tried to take a nap. Claustrophobic cabin all about. Got up. Drank some beer. Ate some sandwiches. Water was all about with no way out. Suffered sun and wind burn. Allergies acted up. No where to go for relief. Tried to read. Still in the same place, stuck in a boat with no way off. Other boats went by, we had to "race" them. Still stuck in the boat. The wind died. REALLY STUCK IN A BOAT WITH NO WAY OFF!

Hours later, we limped back to the marina. Docked the boat. Went ashore. Met some interesting people. Went to a delightful restaurant and had wonderful food in pleasant surroundings. Strolled about town, took some pictures, watched the sun set over the water.

I enjoy being in a canoe. You can paddle here or there, you usually can get out along the shore, explore things, take a leak, go back and paddle some more. A small fishing boat is fun too- and you can catch your lunch! But not a big boat, with little to do, water all around and no way out.

I went sailing with them a few more times. One time the wind was blowing pretty good ("a freshet") and the boat was about six inches away from capsizing. I was sure I would be a headline in tomorrow's paper- "P. Batty drowns while boating". Fun for some, not for all.

Ambivalence was the name of the boat.

By Professor Batty


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