On April 23rd 2017, exactly one year after our splash day at Mimico Yacht Club, we stood, with coffee in hand, on the shore of Lake Ontario. We had finally made it to Beacon Harbourside Marina in Jordan Station after our eventful transit the previous fall, and were now waiting for a mini version of Mimico’s crane to lift our boat over the sea wall and down into the water. We only looked a bit nervous as they hooked our beautiful Bayfield up to the crane, but as they began to lift her, my nervousness escalated dramatically. Since we now had a working engine, and the engine was actually on board (who would have thought?), we had hit the weight limit of the crane’s capability. The crane operator seemed confident even though, somewhere from his controls, a very loud and distressing warning alarm was going off.
He managed to expertly deliver the boat into the water despite the cacophony, and the helpful crew – consisting of most of the other boat owners – along with the crane, helped us to mast our ketch. It truly was a community effort and it was all done in short order compared to our attempts the year prior.
John’s dad assisted him in moving the boat from the sea wall to our very own slip. Given our lack of propulsion and manoeuvrability for the entire previous year, we were looking forward to having a whole summer season in our new “splashing grounds”.
One month later, when weather, work, and time were aligned, we were finally able to set sail for the first time. Having planned this adventure for over 10 years and having owned the boat for seventeen entire months without ever being able to just enjoy her, this moment was a phenomenally long time in coming. I can recall so clearly, standing in the cockpit, watching John working with the jib, and feeling utterly overwhelmed. We were finally here. We had finally made it on the water. Just the two of us. We had light winds and blue skies and John was quite literally teaching me the ropes. I was in awe.
Not even the swarm of millions of tiny bugs could have deterred my happiness. About halfway through our sail, we had passed directly into an entire colony of them. Millions of minuscule insects clung to our boat, our sails, our clothing… any surface they could find. Unfortunately they all, I assume, perished from exhaustion from being out in the lake without a resting place. We were only sailing with the jib and jigger that day, to help me get used to actually moving on the boat, so now we had millions of tiny dead bugs stuck everywhere, every crevice in the folded main sail. (I hadn’t finished making the sail covers yet…) But absolutely nothing was going to tarnish this moment. We had SAILED.