Tuesday, January 2, 2007


This is a story about our previous sailboat "Agapee"

What’s in a name anyway?

Several years ago my wife, Arline, and I wanted to get back into sailing. Our two girls where in their teens and we had just about finished with the horses. We also knew that this would be the start to our 6-year plan to leave and go cruising. So the search was on for a boat. We did our homework, looked at many boats and refreshed our sailing skills with a quick course in Florida. Our instructor, Bob, was an old navy guy, not your typical old salt, but damn close. A very knowledgeable man who really helped us to learn a lot in a little time. The last day of our class we were allowed to ask him anything we wanted without any extra cost, so we asked him about the different boats we were looking at. It was between an older Catalina, Bristol, S2, and an Ericson. He sent us back to re-look at the Ericson. I remember there was something about the Ericson when we first looked at it, but after the second look, some negotiating, and a survey we were the proud new owners of an Ericson 27 with the name “Agapee” on the stern.

After moving the boat closer to its’ new home and preparing it for spring launch into Skaneateles Lake in upstate New York, we started doing all the things that a new boat owner might do. This of course means throwing money into every thing you look at or touch. Plus there was the grill, club fees, and launch cost. Our daughters started looking for the meaning of Agapee. All their research led only to a Greek origin having something to do with Love. Arline and I joking thought that maybe a couple with young kids had named it when one of the kids said “I got pee” and then did. We were looking for a name to strike a cord with our family or our family business. We looked at all the different lists of boat names, and had several strong contenders. Since I would always be sailing with a boatload of girls, one of my favorites that would never, and I mean never float, was “HMS PMS”. Well, to replace the lettering on the stern would cost money of course, and at the rate we were going through that, the name change could wait.

In the mean time we discovered that the previous owner was an elderly man who lived not to far from the boat’s new home. Arline called him up, and found out that he was a retired doctor. He explained that before he sold the boat he had not sailed it in a couple of years and that his younger kids and family were really the major force in him selling. Arline told him about how we found the boat, about our family and future cruising plans. She invited him to the launching, which is always a big deal in this area because several boats hire a crane for a day to launch all the big boats into the lake.

Finally our big day was here, the sun was out, the boat was gleaming, and all the wood looked sharp. The icebox had been filled, the boat really stood out. By mid-morning our boat was hanging in the sling, and was being swung from its cradle over the water. Right then a big Cadillac pulled into the parking lot. An older well-dressed gentleman hopped out and starts walking down to the boats. Arline was confident that this was the previous owner. She went to welcome him while I checked the thru-hulls, fired up the motor, and for the first time moved the boat out of the way to another dock, so other boats could be launched. When I landed at the dock Arline and the doctor strolled up and helped with the lines. With a quick introduction, he climbed aboard and set down his briefcase on the cockpit seat. I swear he stroked and patted the hull, then grabbed the tiller and sat confidently down with it in his hand in a manner that seemed to say “Hello old friend.”

He was very happy to see that we had really taken care of the boat and that we were so proud of it. After a bit of small talk he said, “I brought you kids something.” He grasped his briefcase and set it in my lap. As I opened it I saw manuals, notes, logs. It was filled with every type of paper from the boat that he had, belt numbers, spark plug and filter numbers, radio and stereo manuals, dates and locations of all work ever done on the boat. Kewl! He said he was quite bitter for a while about selling the boat and about somebody else owning it. He thought he could have sailed several more years, but his kids and family were relieved he had sold the boat. His phone conversation with Arline had inspired him to put aside the bitter feelings and return to Agapee with the paper work and records in hand. Arline pulled out snacks and drinks; then we asked him about the name, its significance, and how it came to be.

He took a deep breath and simply started, "Well years ago I lost my wife. She was the love of my life; she was my life. I had a hard time and was doing nothing to help myself. I bought this boat to help keep me busy, it's something she always wanted to do but we never made the time. AGAPEE is Greek for MY LOVE, my wife, this boat.”

Right after I wiped the tears away I promised that Agapee would stay with this boat and every boat I owned forever. “Agapee” has brought my wife and I closer together and closer to our dream of cruising. People ask about the name and then they hear this story, some are as moved as Arline and I were, others just ask “Well,.. why is your dingy named Agapoo?”

Fast-forward to today, we found the boat we can cruise on so, we have a deposit on Agapee. And in a few short weeks we will be the proud owners of an Ericson 36C with the name “Kasidah” on the stern. I don’t have the full significance on that yet, but I hope there’s another story.

Jon and Arline Libby

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the nice visit aboard your pirate vessel on Saturday! It's beautiful.

P&R Hazard