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Best Day On The Water: Saying Goodbye

Best day on the water illustration

Illustration: Gary Hovland

I've been a sailor for much of my life, but mostly on other people's boats as part of racing crews. We finally bought our own boat — a Catalina 22 — and sailed Cinduda as a daysailer or on long weekends on the Columbia and Willamette Rivers around Portland, Oregon. The boat served us well, but the time finally came for those often-uttered words, "It's time to get a bigger boat."

I was fortunate to have a new-to-me boat arranged to purchase and a willing buyer for Cinduda. About a week before the two deals were to close, I knew I needed one more sail. During the years we owned the boat, I enjoyed many of those times with my son, Christian. It seemed appropriate to have him join me for a final run.

It was one of those rare early October afternoons in the Pacific Northwest with beautifully clear skies. With the wind out of the north, we enjoyed long beam reaches upriver or downriver. As we started, the wind was blowing steady around 7 to 10 knots. Both sails were well-trimmed, so we had good speed with the boat handling well.

The wind eventually piped up to a steady 15 knots, with one gust of 22 knots. Rather than being concerned, we both were filled with joy and awe. Seeing the look of delight on my son's face as he handled the tiller is something I'll never forget. With the sun finally setting, we returned to the dock, buttoned up the boat, and stood for a moment looking at Cinduda, thanking her for giving us one of our best days on the water.


Brian Terret

Contributor, BoatUS Magazine

Award-winning BoatUS Magazine is the official publication of Boat Owners Association of The United States. Published six times a year, it provides boating skills, DIY maintenance, safety, news and more from top experts.