Oct 052013

I’ve been continuing to think about boats over the last few weeks, and it’s going to be a few years before I can seriously consider purchasing a big enough boat to live aboard. Many of you don’t know that I owned a 44’ wooden schooner for about 15 years (a classic boat nightmare, by the way!) and that boats have always been an interest. Even fewer of you know that I already own a boat. Yes, this is her, Miss Powassan, a 17’ Giesler cedar-planked runabout.

The story is kind of amusing. Nancy’s family has had cabins on a lake in Ontario, Canada for about 80 years. She and I first went to her dad’s cabin in 2005, and it was an annual vacation most of our years together. After hearing her desire for a wood canoe, I contacted Giesler and ordered one for her, gave her the order as a Christmas present, then we went to the town of Powassan on our first trip in 2006 to pick the canoe up. There in the show room, covered in a quarter-inch of wood dust, was Miss Powassan. They had built her especially for the town’s centennial in 2004, with full decking, reinforcement for an oversized motor, and a commemorative brass plaque on the dash. She had appeared in parades, escorted dignitaries, etc. Nancy fell in love, we actually needed a boat, so of course we had to buy her. Miss Powassan is a classic and simple boat, with bench seating and cushions for four, quick, light and economical.

She has been the star of our trips, pulling water skiers, getting groceries (the cabin is only accessible by boat), ferrying guest and taking us on full-day journeys from lake to lake to lake, touring the country in search of the perfect picnic spot. This picture was taken on just such a day, when we took a lunch and traveled a couple of hours to this inn, where you can see Nancy sitting at our picnic table. I realize that I want Miss Powassan in my life, it’s been more than three years since I’ve been to Canada and put her in the water. Now the itch for a boat is reminding me that she sits in forlorn storage, untended, and I only need to fetch her.

Ah, therein lies the rub. 2835 miles, 42 hours of driving time. A journey is forming in my mind, a pilgrimage to Port Loring, Canada next summer, in my trusty Ford pickup. I’ll get the kayaks, canoe, fishing gear, and Miss Powassan of course. I also will scatter Nancy’s ashes in the lake near her family cabin, a place she deeply loved, a duty that has been awaiting me for almost two years. There is a world of closure that this trip will offer, as well as a chance to visit good friends and perhaps even family. I’ve had some amazingly wonderful times there, with some very fine and fun people. With both Nancy and her father gone, the connection is slipping away, and there are many there who will want to honor Nancy’s passing.

Then of course, I have to figure out where I’m going to keep all these boats. One of my friends who lives aboard a big boat in Sausalito has already volunteered dock space. Hmm.