Archive for April, 2016


Glory in the Harbour before we bought her

Glory in the marina  before we bought her

“Glory” is our 1987 Niagara 35, an iconic boat that cruised Lake Ontario (and the Caribbean for one year with its second owner:  we were the 4th).

A “proper yacht” was the description given to her by a fellow sailor:  a cutter rig, fully outfitted (solar & wind generation, and water maker) with a stunning blue hull with gold trim and a gorgeous teak interior complete with Tommy Bahama upholstery. It was designed by Mark Ellis, a well respected boat designer who specifically created the Niagara 35 for the gusty wind and challenging conditions that you can get on Lake Ontario. When we brought her back to the Oakville Yacht Club, the Harbour Master commented that it would be a pleasure to have Glory back where she belonged.

On Wednesday’s during the sailing season, Ben and his buddies would make arrangements to meet on one their boats and go out for an evening cruise.  If there was any weather, the boys would choose Glory. As Ben said, she loves the wind and the chop:  she just lays down and goes.

Why are boats always she?  There is a Navy tradition that includes some mildly amusing observations such as  “ it takes a lot of paint to keep her good-looking; it is not the initial expense that breaks you, it is the upkeep” and “ She shows her topsides, hides her bottom and, when coming into port, always heads for the buoys.” Your sides are busting no?  More likely because Latin word for ship has a feminine gender.  But no one really knows definitively.

Yesterday, we sold her to a couple from New Brunswick.

Both Ben and I are breathing a collective sigh of relief. We loved our Niagara 35  and were proud owners but since we have been spending more time in hospitals than on the water, we just did not get much use out of her anymore. Since one of the causes of that hospital time was Ben’s melanoma, it seemed prudent to let her go.   And since my brain surgery, I am terrified of getting hit hard in the head, and on a sailboat, the odds are better than good that it will happen.  There is a saying among boat owners:  there are 2 best days in your life…the day you buy your boat and the day you sell it!

We were still new to our relationship when we bought Glory together in the fall of 2010.  Ben’s sailing buddy Dave sent him photos of this glorious Niagara 35 that was for sale, and wondered “if I could be tricked?”  Or was it him being tricked? We weren’t even living together at the time, but being the impetuous types that we are, we hesitated for about 30 seconds!  Ben is an experienced racer and long time captain, and me, just a wannabe sailor who wanted to do everything with my new found love.

An aside:  I may not have learned to take the boat out of the harbour by myself, which I do regret, but I did learn some colourful sailing idioms, like “winch wench”, “deck dolly”, “bow candy” among others which I cannot put into print!

As a good friend of mine observed, Glory is so special to us because her purchase  signified our mutual commitment to the relationship. As Ben says often, we went from buying a bicycle rack together, to a yacht, to a vacation home in Mexico.  We have enjoyed her with family, friends and as a couple:  it has been an experience that has defined us as one of those “sailing couples” in the harbour.



I know that inanimate objects don’t have “feelings”, but I often observed that when Glory was out there on a beam reach, (the optimum point of sail) all 3 sails aloft and full, moving along at a comfortable 7 to 8 knots, that there was a joy in her movement across the water.  I hope that the new owners in New Brunswick will also feel her joy and exuberance when she is fully opened up and moving gracefully like the lady that she is, across the Bay of Fundy.


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