My family’s boat, The Christabel, is a Hunter circa 1976. It was passed down to my father from his father, Alvin Stevens. For about a decade, the boat sat idle in an old barn before my father decided to refurbish the small vessel. Little did he know then how much good ol’ fashion family fun that boat would bring to us.
It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get it back up and running, but my dad was committed to getting the ship back into the water. It’s a pretty old and beat up boat, but it’s beautiful nonetheless. The Christabel has this magical way of bringing people closer. And, even though, I have scars from years of jumping, crawling, swinging and playing from it’s rafters it’s given me so much love in return.
I remember spending long weekend trips with the Keefe’s sailing to New York, sleepovers on the deck, sailing at 2 am and watching the stars sail by above, skinny dipping off the mooring in Shelburne Bay, jamming the deck full of friends and docking up at Breakwaters for drinks in the summer. Those are memories the Cristabel gave me that I will always look back on with appreciation.
This weekend I went alone with my parents and I sat on the bow by myself to read and relax. It was gorgeous out. Sunny and calm. Other boats were out on the water around us, people were waterskiing, swimming, kayaking, jumping off red rocks and participating in a myriad of other warm weather activities. My parents were sitting in the cockpit talking and enjoying the scenery. I hadn’t been alone on my boat in awhile. It was nice. I started to look around at all it’s nicks, ticks, and imperfections and thought hard about how each one came to be. The rotten wood handles, the bent and broken sail clips, the new windows over the top deck dad replaced after I fell through one day and severely bruised my inner thigh. Most I was victim or at least witness to, but others I was not. I realized how much I knew about this boat and how much it new about me.
To me, that boat stands for so much more than it is. It’s bold, powerful, persistent, and brave. It’s also a great time no matter what the weather and always ready to hold as many people as we need. It brings me happiness, closeness, relief and a strong sense of solitude. It’s not the family dog I always longed for, but it’s the next best thing. I love that boat and always will.