I’ll leave Northport Point this afternoon, and like the old song goes, I don’t know when I’ll be back again. I’d like to think it would be to visit and relax instead of for a funeral, but who knows.
I leave with a lot of memories, including sailing with my dad.
Sixty years ago we had a fleet of Rhodes Bantams at Northport Point. They were 14′ sloop-rigged open hull, and while they were probably good on a small lake, on Grand Traverse Bay, where a good wind would give us three-foot waves, they were prone to shipping water, and in a gust they would capsize without too much trouble.
Dad grew up sailing M-boats — scows, really — on Lake Minnetonka, so Bantams were about as close as we could get to what he remembered from his boyhood. Every weekend that we were in Northport, he’d come up Friday night and be with us, and on Sunday afternoon there would be sailing races. The competition was fierce, and Dad could get to borderline Capt. Bligh if the races didn’t go our way. But we won our share of trophies, and I enjoyed being out on the water with him. As soon as we finished the races, we’d get the boat tied up to its buoy and then Dad would head back to work in Toledo, but ready to return the next weekend.
Sometime in the early 1970’s, the Bantams gave way to Sunfish: easier to sail, less complicated to rig, less prone to tipping (and easier to recover) and certainly more colorful on the water. By that time, though, Dad had given up on the competitive sailing and just enjoyed being out on the water, alone or with one of us on our Sunfish.
The picture below of the Bantam is not ours; it’s from Wikipedia. But you get the idea.
So, I’m homeward bound, back to extreme heat warnings and traffic on the Palmetto Expressway, but taking a lot of photos and memories back with me, including the reason I came back in the first place, and knowing that Mom and Dad are where I know they wanted to be forever.