A Dream at the Dock

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I saw the love of my life on a dock at Pender Harbour, British Columbia  last week. I didn’t spot her until I was damn near past her. She took my breath away. I have always chased her from afar. I’ve seen her in so many magazines that you’d think I would have been better prepared for the moment. But she just knocked me back on my heels. The dock suddenly shifted under my well-worn boating shoes.

Yes, it was a boat. It was an Island Packet sloop to be exact. She must have been brand new, for she was so clean and sleek that it looked like someone had just peeled off the shrinkwrap. She was all cream-coloured deck and hull, gleaming chrome and dark blue sail covers. She had an Oregon home port emblazoned on her transom. You don’t see a lot of Island Packets in western Canadian coastal waters. They are premium priced yachts, built on the East coast of the United States and when their owners (always) reluctantly decide to let them go they seem to be snapped up within mere moments.

I can never afford this boat. Oh , sure, if I wanted to liquidate my assets and jump feet first I could do it. But I’m not really wired that way. All the pleasure I might derive from finally standing at the wheel of such a yacht might be tempered by the nagging suspicion that I had made myself uncomfortably, financially vulnerable. The confliction is the restriction, you see.

I had a long conversation with another sailor on yet another dock during the time when the Frau and I were away. He too had an unrequited love…a renowned Swedish blue-water cruiser. He’d likely never set foot on that boat either and his pockets are not deep enough to allow more than an aqueous daydream. And I met an older couple who had sailed the same boat together for more than 25 years and were now going to sell. After a quarter of a century and journeys that had taken them from Alaska to Mexico, you just know, they are going to be leaving behind a lot more than spare dock lines and life jackets. The female sailing partner said something rather profound to me when I told her about my reluctance to make a wrong move in the direction of another boat.  Sometimes , she said,  you just have to put your fears aside .

None of us will ever gaze hopefully toward any horizon if we always let nagging doubt take the helm.

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3 Responses to “A Dream at the Dock”

  1. The sense of freedom when I overcame a major fear in my life was indescribable. Fears are however usually irrational, based on some experience warped by time. The kind of fear that stops us from following our dreams seems to be based more on practicality and tangible losses. It may not look like a choice, but I believe that we really do choose what is the most important thing in our life. Sometimes dreams are like sexual fantasies, better dreamt than lived.

  2. There’s a picture of my kid and a Halberg-Rassey 46 pasted to the wall in front of my computer. One I’d die for… the other costs $500,000. Both are motivators to keep nose to grindstone.

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