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old daughter, Dory, and for years, with brief interruptions for the births of their three sons—Donald, Richard, and Mark—she handled the shoreside end of Don's businesses while he was off on Io-laire chartering or researching for his guides and charts.

Tuesday was a lay day, set aside so boats could prepare for Wednesday's round-the-island race, which promised to be 60 miles of rugged sailing in a stiff wind and strong tides. Don listed a few chores he wanted accomplished, what I could only imagine was the top end of a very long list. One of the items was to extend the main-boom topping-lift tackle.

Different Ships, Different Splices

"How are you at long splicing?" he asked me. I looked at the too-short topping lift and the piece he offered as an extension. Both looked as though they'd been round the world with Moitessier. "Don," I said, "I don't trust my long splice, but I can certainly splice an eye round a thimble. How would you like Cruising World to buy you a new piece of line long enough to do the whole job?"

On Wednesday, conditions were sufficiently rugged that the race committee, in deference to the museum-quality vessels in its charge, abandoned the round-the-island race in favor of a shorter race in the Solent. While Ben and D on d e bated wheth er the spinnaker would be a help or a hindrance on the running and reaching legs, Iolaire swept along at hull speed, leaving the Solent foaming in her wake.

It was a long enough day as it was— exhilarating and nerve-racking at the same time. One boat lost its mast to a failed bronze casting. Iolaire lost her pigstick, which holds Don's burgee aloft, to a broken halyard, prompting Don to effect a repair the moment we'd docked (and had a Heineken). "Are you going to replace all of the halyard?" asked Te d, who'd raised a surprised eyebrow when Don produced a coil of new nylon cord.

Trich isn't just a great helmsman. She's been Don's sheet anchor since they met in 1966 on a beach in the Grenadines

I watched in horror as Don shackled the bosun's chair, which looked as old as Iolaire, to the main halyard. I looked at that wire-reel winch and felt another twinge in my arm. "You're going up on that?" I asked.

"Yes," Don said,"and you're the man to hoist me."

Getting him up was one thing—at least the brake was on the halyard. Bringing him down, I had to back off the brake and hold his weight with the handle as I unwound the winch. And it wasn't a lock-in handle. About a third of the way down, Don was tiring of the view. "I think I got on the slow elevator," he said.

"Your choice, Don. It's this or the really fast one."

Sailing Is Thirsty Work

By Thursday, I was feeling pretty com-f o r table at my ch osen station by the mizzenmast—as far as I could get from Iolaire's foredeck. My partner of the day and I had plenty to do; along with the mizzen and the mizzen staysail, we also

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tended the yankee sheet, the mainsheet, and the main topping lift. Also, I could watch everything else going on aboard, and I could hear the constant banter between Don and Ben, who, with Trich back at the helm (she'd cunningly spent Wednesday ashore with friends), could play tactician full time. By this time, the wind was down a bit, which brought more heat into the discussions of how much sail to set.

"What do you want to do, Don?" Ben asked. "Shall wet the kite or pole the genoa out to windward?" Don's response came immediately.

"Quentin!" he yelled forward. "Quentin, bring some beers back here, will you?"

Ben, eyes popping, burst into a laugh. "Don Street!" he said, "You're unbelievable!" Then he turned to me. "Are you getting all of this down?" he said, "Do you have this on tape? This stuff is absolutely priceless!"

"Sailing is thirsty work," said Don, who drew deeply on his Heineken. Refreshed, he set to with Quentin and Ted to rig the whisker pole.

We never did set the spinnaker.

Meanwhile, Ben coached Trich at the helm. "Can you steer down about five degrees? If you can, we can lay the mark on this jibe."

"Where's the mark?"

"It's up there, but don't even look at it. The tide'll carry us up to it. Just concentrate on your heading."

On the last day, Saturday, we had the right conditions, the spinnaker came out of the forepeak, and Quentin and Ted hauled it aloft only to have it fall back down on top of them when the halyard's snap shackle tripped on the

"Quentin!" Don yelled forward. "Quentin, bring some beers back here, will you?"

headstay. We made do, as we had all week, with the genoa poled to windward or sheeted to the main boom (see "Give Your Headsails Room to Breathe," July 2003). But despite the shortage of downwind sail area, and thanks to the skill and rapport of the crew in the cockpit, Iolaire, the granny of the fleet, managed to garner a creditable fourth place for the week out of 10 boats in the cruising class.

One of my last chores on Saturday was to wind Don aloft to retrieve the spinnaker halyard. A beer well earned, I figured, reflecting as I went below to pack my gear how ironic and touching it was to be finally drinking Heineken with this man aboard Iolaire.

A little while later, I emerged from the companionway to see a small crowd gathered on the dock by Iolaire's stern. The attraction was Don, cross-legged on the aft deck, a boyish grin on his face, priming the cannon: the black-powder firing piece that earns Iolaire the appellation "one-gun yawl." After a couple of failed attempts—the priming tube was blocked with old powder—he succeeded in getting off a round, spraying passing boats with soot and wadding. The onlookers cheered, and with that encouragement, Don reloaded.

Former CW senior editor Jeremy McGeary is now a contributing editor based, with his wife, Melissa, in Tidewater Virginia.

Former CW senior editor Jeremy McGeary is now a contributing editor based, with his wife, Melissa, in Tidewater Virginia.

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How To Have A Perfect Boating Experience

How To Have A Perfect Boating Experience

Lets start by identifying what exactly certain boats are. Sometimes the terminology can get lost on beginners, so well look at some of the most common boats and what theyre called. These boats are exactly what the name implies. They are meant to be used for fishing. Most fishing boats are powered by outboard motors, and many also have a trolling motor mounted on the bow. Bass boats can be made of aluminium or fibreglass.

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