As you may have surmised, I have been on the road again. After a quick visit to the Northern Neck on family business - and an overnighter at my mother's - I recovered my sailboat from the woods behind my wife's parents home near Blacksburg.
After sitting unprotected for about eight years, the 13-foot Lone Star is in better shape than she has any right to be. Two new tires and repacking wheel bearings and the rig was ready for the six-hour trip to its new quarters in our backyard.
I purchased the Eyleen about twenty years ago from an estate. The previous owner had sailed her in his retirement on a small lake near Asheville. Of course it had more damage than I realized at the time and she spent many rehab hours in my basement atop Mineral Springs Mountain.
I had been sailing only once before buying a sailboat of my own. That afternoon on the Chesapeake Bay was life altering. I had never been so relaxed and alert at the same time as the small craft responded to both wind and wave. Because I had been in and around small boats as far back as I could remember I was sure that my almost total lack of sailing experience was not going to be a problem.
Our peaceful maiden solo voyage ended abruptly on a #!@*!! sand bar in what appeared to be the middle of the channel near Morehead City in 1987. Damage to my "new and improved" centerboard assembly was considerable. After awkwardly tacking back to shore she has remained on her trailer ever since. Not wanting to take her with us immediately when we moved to Wisconsin, I parked her in the Virginia mountains in 1997 - out of sight, out of mind, at least until recently.
Will she sail again? Don't count the Eyleen out quite yet. Stranger things have happened.