7 January 1992

Small boats have interested me for long time. As a youngster, Mom would take us to the Cincinnati Public Library occasionally, and I remember reading all the books in the children's section on sailboats, navigation, sailing, and little boats in general.


The first family boat dad bought was a canoe. We had become interested in canoeing along the U.S. Canadian border. But our first canoeing was on the Ohio River. On our first overnight trip from Cincinnati to Big Bone, I held two clothes poles up with a rain poncho spread between them to help push us along. The system didn't work very well, but I never forgot. The idea of being propelled by wind came up later on. For now, the poncho only worked when the wind was from behind the canoe, and then it took a lot of effort to keep the sail up.


The next sailing I did was on a Canadian canoeing trip. One morning we took and old sail boat out for short trip. This was the first time I found my parents had learned to sail boats that belonged to Grandpa Jack, my maternal grandfather. It was fun to sail, but I was mystified about how the boat was able to tack back up into the wind.


Later, about the time I was married, a new interest in sailing was born. Finally, study revealed how a center board and sail could allow the boat to tack into the wind. I read a couple of books about building sailboats with little money. With this as a background, I set about developing rigging and for our old canoe. With a 2 by 4 for a mast, twin dagger boards, and poly sails held together with duct tape, it was not pretty. But it got the job done! That boat which we called Ingenuity actually sailed into the wind.


Within a year we were tired of sails which blew out of shape each time a good wind came up. We bought a used sailing dingy of the Mayflower class. Diane and I sailed that boat all over southern Ohio and even went sail camping with it for a week along Kentucky Lake. But after two years of fun with this boat, and with a pregnancy almost to completion which would threaten dingy sailing, we bought the Dawn Treader. This 22 foot cabin sail boat has been in the family for the last 11 years. Daniel spent his first night on the boat at three weeks of age.


Dawn Treader has sailed the waters of Kentucky Lake, many local lakes around Cincinnati, and Lake Erie including Canada. While stationed at Langley, we kept our sail boat in a slip at the Langley Marina for a year and then dry dock the next year. The family trailed the boat to Texas for the Residency in Aerospace Medicine. While we were in Germany, Joe Palma had control of the boat and it was stored at Bergstrom Air Force Base in Austin, Texas. In 1991 I trailed the boat back to Virginia. During the trip I lost a wheel after changing the tires on the trailer. The rest of the trip back I kept looking back, wondering if it would fall off again.


This winter, Dawn Treader is sitting in our side yard, waiting for the salty waters of the Chesapeake Bay once more. A thorough cleaning by the children and me, left the unpainted fiberglass just as good-looking as it was five or six years ago. Some of the rigging will need to be replaced, but the cabin needs no new work other than thorough cleaning

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