Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Life Long Sailor Gets his Own Boat

Lifelong sailor finally launches his own boat This Week continues to profile athletes over 50 Jun 14, 2005 Mary Riley - More from this author After David Abrahams spent 47 years as a sailor, he finally took the plunge and bought his own boat. Mr. Abrahams, who lives in Snug Harbour, spent 36 years in the Canadian Navy, 11 in active service and 25 as an officer in the naval reserve. "I've been around boats for 47 years, and I've sailed all over the world, but only now have I bought my own," he explained. "I crewed for a lot of racing sailboats in Toronto, so I had the sailing experience without the expense." The veteran sailor has sailed to all points of the compass and many in between during his naval career. "I've been to England, Ireland, Singapore, Gibralter, Australia; pretty much all over the world," he said. For many years he and his wife, Tommie-Sue owned a cottage near Algonquin Park. But after moving to the Kawartha Lakes four years ago, the idea of having a cottage a couple of hours' drive away wasn't as appealing as when they lived in Toronto. "Why do the drive and have the expense and maintenance?" he asked. "Tommie-Sue also grew up around boats, and we decided since we have the Trent Severn and all these lakes right here, it made sense to sell the cottage and buy a boat." Mr. Abrahams said while you can "work up a sweat" sailing, he said physical ability depends largely on what type of sailboat you're in. "A person sailing alone has a lot to do, especially in a dinghy," he explained. "All your physical parts should be working. But if you can handle the larger sailboats, which usually require two or three people to crew, as long as you can move reasonably well you'll be all right." The former navy officer said he thinks the Boating Operator's Card for powerboats "is the best thing ever." "People could go out and buy the biggest boat they could afford and they didn't have to know diddly about how to operate it," he said. "Making it mandatory to be a qualified operator was the best thing they [the government] could have done. Sailing is a lot the same in that you should know what you're doing. You can learn to sail in about a month and you'll be all right in a controlled environment. But if you are planning to sail bigger waters alone, you need to have more advanced skills." He recommends would-be sailors to check out courses offered by the Canadian Yachting Association and the Canadian Power and Sail Squadron. "Both organizations offer a variety of course information. It's like anything else; know your skill level and use common sense."

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