For us, Thanksgiving weekend marks the end of the boating season. For nearly 30 years, we raced sailboats on the Chesapeake Bay. Every year, we prepared our boat for haul-out immediately after the Thursday holiday, and she would go “on the dry” on Monday. Sailboat racing had been a family sport for us. Sue and I sailed together, and David began crewing around the age of six. We began with a Catalina 27 named “Serene,” and later graduated to a C&C 30, which we named “Blue Ice.” Our last sailboat, a C&C 35, was called “Pistol Pete,” after the mascot of my alma mater, Oklahoma State University.

We sold “Pistol Pete” and gave up racing soon after David married and Sue and I took up golf. We thought that we could be happy without a boat. But, living near Annapolis and being without a means to get out on the Severn River and the Chesapeake Bay proved to be impossible. We bought a small runabout, which satisfied us for a couple of years. But then one day, I spotted the most beautiful powerboat I had ever seen. She had a dark green hull, teak decks, a mahogany caprail, and gorgeous lines ending in a rounded stern. At the time, I was involved in a company about to go public, and I announced to Sue and our friends: “That’s going to be my IPO boat!”

And so we ended up buying an Italian Apreamare and we named her “Czech Mate.” Although work and golf have kept us from being on the water very often, we’ve now enjoyed our mini-yacht for ten seasons. This weekend, we’re holding with the tradition we established with sailboats — before going over to the “dark side” — and we’re getting ready to put “Czech Mate” on the dry on Monday.

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