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Thursday, 20 July 2017

With the Wind in their Sails

The prompt photo appears to show a family watching a movie while on board. I immediately thought of my sister Louisa and her then husband Danny, who sailed from Darwin Australia to Florida USA in a very small boat back in the early 1980s. I've mentioned this before in an earlier blog post that you can read here and see a photo of Little Boat.

This is a pencil drawing by Danny of 'Little Boat' that Louisa sent us from her sailing days. There's a note on the back:

   " A day of stacking the canvas up. The fish are dorado which always jumped all around . With so little wind the sea was so flat and shining bright blue. I hope Claire and Kim can find a place on a bedroom wall for 'Little Boat', the home of Louise and Danny. ( The spinnaker-come- parachute-come topsail is a purple colour but actually our sails are white. Danny used to have red sails and it was more colourful to draw."        
Dorado are also known as Mahi-Mahi or dolphin fish, perhaps because of their jumping ability.  The framed drawing still hangs on our wall.

Louisa and Danny's first two daughters were subsequently born in the States and the family lived there for several years before investing in a slightly larger boat (36 foot) in which to sail back across the Pacific. In 1986 they were moored in Port Townsend for some time while selling jewellery at a stall in the Pike Place Market in Seattle and both we and my parents Jean and Ian were able to visit them there. Here are a few photos from those visits. No movies or TV aboard their boat. 

     Mother, daughter and granddaughter on deck

 Jean celebrating her 60th birthday onboard.

 Granddaughter Mia showing her Nan how things have to be shipshape below decks.

  I don't have any photos of us on board during our visit, but one of our photos shows Danny rowing to or from the boat to fetch supplies from the dock. One day we all went to Seattle with by car and ferry from Port Angeles, but it was so foggy that we could not even glimpse Seattle's famous landmark, the Space Needle.

The sailing family arrived in the Bay of Islands New Zealand in 1991 and decided to settle there. The next photo shows Jean and Ian (in shadow) with Louisa and the two girls on a visit with them there that year.

In January 1994 we took our family 'across the ditch' to meet their cousins again, including the latest family member who was born back in New Zealand. They no longer lived on the boat, but on a beautiful clear day they took us out sailing in the Bay.


             A nice shot taken by our 10 year old

                         Sisters' reunion
             Mother and youngest daughter

                Cousins out on the bowsprit


Danny still owns the boat and apparently has recently sailed to Fiji. Coincidentally I've been on the water myself today. A ferry trip isn't really sailing but Somes Island in Wellington Harbour is an interesting place to visit. 

A bit wet and wild today and I doubt whether any of these boats I can see from the hotel window will be going out sailing.

For more blogs prompted by this week's photo, set sail for Sepia Saturday. Whatever you do, just don't miss the boat!


  1. Your sister was adventurous. It takes a certain kind of personality to live in such a small space and with a family. I owned two boats and was very happy to see them go. Too much work and my ex-husband turned into a tyrant when fitted with the captains hat.

  2. After I posted about my uncle's boat, I remembered I have some photos of my mother's and Henry's sailboat. They never sailed across the sea, just in the Detroit River and the great lakes. I do have the ships log though and I see I am ready for the next boat prompt!

  3. You've caught the right tack for this theme. An island nation certainly can inspire its people to take up sailing. Each adventure away from land seems to lead to longer and longer voyages.

  4. What wonderful adventures they had. That drawing is a treasure to keep on the wall and the description is lovely.

  5. When I showed the wife of a second cousin a similar photo to the last one above, she told me that one Of the boats captured there used to belong to them. There are a lot of boats in the harbour so it's a pretty amazing coincidence that I just happened to take a photo of it!

  6. Even imagining being out in the Pacific in a 36 footer has me tensing. I crossed from California to Hawaii several times in my childhood. Once on a commercial ship, the others Navy ships. They were big. I felt safe until I'd look over the side. But 36 feet in a storm would paralyze me. Your family has some brave brave souls.

  7. What wonderful adventures that family glad there are some good photos too! I've crewed a few times for other's sailing, but not ever very seriously...when I lived in FL. It's wonderful recreation for me.

  8. Boats were never a part of my growing up.
    I'm a little bit sad about that.