My Dad Took Me Aboard A Sailboat In The Middle Of A Hurricane In 1991, And I Survived

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Our fearless leader, Tommy Craggs, sent me this series of Gchat messages early this afternoon:

you should write about boats now
i don't care what

Boats! I like boats. But not in hurricanes. Really, once wind speeds exceed 25 knots, sailing goes from exhilarating to terrifying. (Sandy has sustained winds well over 34 knots.)

And yet: I have a hurricane boat story, if you'd like. It comes to me from my occasionally crazy father, who took not-yet-one-year-old me aboard our Pearson Flyer—a 30-foot sailboat—back during Hurricane Bob in 1991. We weren't sailing. We were docked at Bruce and Johnson's Marina, in Branford, Conn., along the north shore of the eastern Long Island Sound. Bob, if you'll recall, made landfall in Rhode Island on Aug. 16, as a Category 2 storm. It tore up Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut, New York, and New Hampshire before making its way into Canada. Most people, upon hearing that such a storm was approaching, would not take their infant children onto boats, even docked ones. But most people are not my father. He writes:

I remember carrying you—you couldn't walk—onto the boat, hearing the wind whistling in the rigging. The boat heeled against the leeward dock finger. [Boats are not supposed to heel—that is, tilt violently to one side—while they are docked.] I loved it and you seemed to, too. We stayed a couple hours until it peaked, and then we went home. Your mother could not find us (I didn't have a cellphone then) and she freaked. Good times.


There you go. I wouldn't advise getting aboard your sailboat with your infant right now, but if you do, you and your infant might just survive, and he could go on to become a third-rate sports blogger.

If you've got stories of riding storms out, involving crazy fathers or not, post 'em down below.