What a summer of boating I’ve had! Although my penchant started when I was only about four. Here’s a picture of me from then captaining a boat in Florida, my dad taking the picture. The guy who owns the boat is alongside, looking pretty relaxed in spite of a four-year-old at the wheel who isn’t even looking straight ahead, but instead at her “cute little daddy” (that’s what I called him then even though he was 6-foot-4 1/2) snapping away to capture the moment forever.
I thought of this picture the other day when I was a guest of the Chicago-based Discover Boating people on Lake Michigan for a couple of hours. They let me drive the boat, too. With several people on it yet. But I got the hang of it pretty fast. And now I want a Formula 350 FX6 of my own–to the tune of upwards of $400,000 with all the trimmings. My little $5,000 Topaz Taz sailboat just won’t cut it anymore. Not only do you have to sail it yourself, there’s also no bathrooms, no bedrooms and no fully-stocked galley. If you want to bring a sandwich, you have to put it in your pocket.
If you’ve been reading my blog, you know the story of the Topaz Taz. I lamented in one post that no one knows much about the official South Loop boat show at McCormick Place. From there, I got invited to a boat show at Navy Pier–which is where I won the Topaz Taz. And for good measure, after meeting people at the show from the South Loop’s Burnham Park Yacht Club–and after winning the boat–my bf Bruce and I joined that, too. And by the way, speaking of the South Loop and boating–did you know you can tailgate on a boat before sailing on over to the game at Soldier Field?
In any case, here’s more on the latest boating life installment: getting on the Formula 350 FX6 and boating on the actual lake, again invited by Colleen Richardson from Discover Boating, who invited me to the boat show at Navy Pier where I won the sailboat. She’s a good person to get to know. Colleen told me that Chicago and its 10 packed harbors on Lake Michigan puts the State of Illinois at #9 on the list of top 10 boating states.
So, we met up last week and traveled south from DuSable harbor. Rob was at the helm of the pretty fancy powerboat. First we visited the 31st Street harbor–new and protected by a manmade barrier of boulders out in the water. So high that you have to sail in, in order to get a look at the boats docked there. Which are pretty cool–as is the design of the whole harbor.
From there, we traveled back north–Rob let me take the helm–to what Colleen called “The Playpen.” The area just east of Streeterville where boats like to anchor and relax, often with occupants who like to jump off their boats and take a swim. We anchored and relaxed. But didn’t swim.
Later, I let Rob take the wheel back and I went into the cabin to try out the combo couch/double bed/dining table–it can be configured each way at different times of the day. I also peeked into the second bedroom–and the head–and I ate some peanuts while I checked out the well-equipped galley and experienced that rock-a-bye feeling that you get in boats. Which I love. Especially with someone else worrying about the rules of the water-road above.
While we travelled , Rob also demonstrated the very sophisticated GPS-type system and the steering controls that are capable of taking over. And he showed me how to get the anchor down. And what various things are within the many cabinet doors peppering the beautiful boat.
He also explained how he’d recently proposed to his girlfriend on the boat. And that picture is on its way to 4,000 “likes” on Facebook.