What a sneaky boat Me Voy is! She must have been planning this surprise for weeks, although just how she influenced events over 100 miles away, will remain a mystery. Its not surprising however that her previous boatyard would remember her, as even in her awful state of disrepair, one couldn't help but notice what a special boat she is.
It was one of the boatyard workers, who found the surprise, and asked our friend and mentor, Richard, if he knew how to contact us. Finally, on Mother's Day, Richard gave us a call with the wonderful news. A set of Me Voy's sails was found in the sail loft! Wooooo hoooo!
The stars aligned to make the trip to Oxford the following day to get the sails and visit with Richard.
The town of Oxford, where Me Voy spent her years prior to us finding her, is on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. It is a quiet little town, with pristine waterways, clean sidewalks, and beautiful boats.
Everything in Oxford is postcard perfect. Flowers smell better, the cars are always shiny, and even the squirrels carry little baskets for their acorns.
Chopper reveled in the familiar smells, sensing the boatyard where he romped for three years. We were all very excited to see what changed, what was the same, and what our sails looked like.
Everyone was hard at work in the yard, getting the boats commissioned for Spring. Steve, the rigger, lead us into the sail loft and pointed to three bags waiting for our arrival. They had Me Voy's name stamped onto them and like everything else in Oxford, looked clean and proper. We had to be satisfied with only peering inside the bags, as it was too windy to unroll them for a detailed inspection. We did see that we were now in possession of a 140 Genoa, a complementing staysail, and a small handkerchief of a sail used in stormy conditions instead of the main sail. This sail we hope to never ever use, but the other two will sure come in handy! (We have since unrolled them and the condition of each of the sails could only be described as brand new. This means we now have two main sails, one in need of repair, one jib, three different staysails, one genoa, and the small main whose nautical name I can't remember. Our cutter rig is now fully equipped with the exception of a spinnaker, which we hope Me Voy is saving for next years surprise)
It was time to celebrate with some afternoon beer and chips on the beach, while waiting for Richard to come home so we could spend the evening catching up on our lives and solving the world's problems.
Chopper decided he was going to play till he dropped, and stared us down every time we refused to throw the ball. We obliged for most of the day with relief coming near the end of the afternoon, as new and yet untested ball players took over.
Squeals of delight egged on our exhausted pooch as he jumped, dove, and swam for the ball. We watched with joy as he ran and played, knowing this meant we were off the hook for the rest of the evening, free to be entertained by Richard's stories, without being politely reminded that there was a ball to be thrown.
Richard, with his customary white shirt and jeans, and his boat, the 103 year old Roslyn, deserve a post all their own. In short, Roslyn is Richard life long love and companion. He saved her from sure death, as he replaced the trees growing thru her deck with new boards, and converted her interior from a fish hold to the cozy salon that we are now privileged to enjoy.
It does seem like every good news is tamped down by bad news. Is this the law of balance that we must accept? We were elated at hearing about our new sails and deflated upon hearing that Richard has throat cancer. He will begin chemo in two weeks and was told to prepare for "hell". His chances, he was told are 80-30 , 80 being that he will come out of this fine. In thick British accent, with an irreverent smirk he says, "I've had chances worse then that at sea... at least 50-50".
He is in fact preparing for chemo as he prepared for a long voyage, lots of pre-made soups and easy to make meals. The difference however will be the absence of his tobacco pipe and vodka, two constant companions in Richard's long history as a yacht captain.
Even with the somber news, the evening was a celebration. It was good to be back in Ros' cabin sharing drinks, smokes and stories with Richard, who in all our time at Oxford, was the only person who never doubted that we will succeed in restoring Me Voy. He understood in a way that only someone who did the same thing 50 years ago could. I know that his sincere support, understanding and encouragement were crucial to our success. Richard here's to you!