Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Return to the Duck Dodge

'Mirus' is a Latin word that translates roughly as "wonderful," "amazing," or "awesome."  It is related to the Latin root from which the word "miracle" is derived.  It is also the name of the little cruising boat owned by Dan, Zanne's best friend.  Last week, as Zanne was gearing up for her birthday celebration, we called Dan and, in addition to inviting him out for dancing and beers, discussed getting back out on his boat for the Duck Dodge, Seattle's 37-year-old summertime tradition of sailboat racing, mayhem, and inebriation.  Dan naturally invited us out.  Yesterday we met Dan at the little marina under the Aurora Bridge, and we set out, just the three of us, a little shy of 7:00 and the start of the race. 

Our attitude about the Duck Dodge is simple:  have fun.  Dan and I are able enough sailors, maybe just able enough.  Zanne, who has a fear of open water, nevertheless trusts us and better still is taking naturally to manning the foresheets.  We made sail after motoring out close to the starting line but missed the start itself.  Who cares?  I swung around my big bottle of Sailor Jerry, giving cheer to passing boats.  Zanne made her way to the bow--something she wouldn't have dared to do not long ago--and enjoyed the feel of the air while helping keep the jib from fouling on the lifelines.  Dan skippered as Zanne and I took turns handling the sheets on tacks and jibes.  We chatted of dogs, kids, travels, and travails.

We managed at least to complete the course, rounding all the marks (eventually):  AGC, Freeway, Aurora.  As the sun started dipping behind Queen Anne Hill, our attitude got even more casual.  There reaches a point during the Duck Dodge in which the scene simply overtakes you--the darkness of the lake, the gleam of the sun off of the downtown skyscrapers, the colors of the coming sunset, the scattered boats with their broad, white mains or their bright, colorful spinnakers.

The sun went down.  The wind died off.  We bypassed the rafted-together boats there for the weekly afterparty and all but drifted back to the dock.  Zanne said that she felt "cleansed."  Water, wind, friends...yeah, "cleansed" is about right.


  1. From now on, I'm straddling the bowsprit. I loved watching the dark, dark water under my swinging purple Doc Martens. It's black. I don't think the lake is that deep, but that water is so dark and so cold.

    I don't think I'm going to be afraid anymore. I'm with my best friend and my husband, and I always wear a life vest. How much safer can a girl get?

  2. Cheers to conquering fear! Cheers in general!

    Zanne's observations and ponderings, very entertaining, are at