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Submitted by:  Robert Stopper, Lyons

Ted and Shirl from Union, Kentucky are on the Erie Canal aboard the S/V Serenity.Call it “Pure Adventure” or “Bad Luck” or “Lady Luck” in action, it makes no difference. On Saturday evening, October 6, 2012, Ted and Shirl docked in Lyons on the Erie Canal and proudly told their story!

Adventure? Ted and Shirl are headed to Florida and then the Bahamas.  Until a few months ago, Ted and Shirl had never owned a sailboat.  They live in Kentucky, but purchased the boat in Erie. What can be more adventurous than sailing on shallow Lake Erie during a driving storm, being buffeted by rolling swells, and then suddenly thinking that perhaps the gale force winds just might blow you past Buffalo!

Bad Luck? Ted is a Licensed and Certified Orthotist (designs and implements mechanical devices to assist weakened or abnormal joint structures).  Over the years, Ted has increased the quality of life for many individuals suffering from forms of neuromuscular diseases including Spina Bifida and Multiple Sclerosis. He has assisted many children at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.  According to Ted, “I loved what I was doing. I was making a difference in the lives of many people…. Then, a few months ago, my company decided to downsize. I was a senior member, and at the age of 61, for the first time in over 35 years, I was suddenly unemployed!”

Lady Luck? Ted was raised on the banks of the Ohio River and had always been fascinated with river traffic and canal stories. According to Ted, “I read the blogs of boaters on the Erie Canal- they always seemed to be headed to Florida….Their tales and stories were absolutely fascinating….  Someday I hoped to join them…. It was a dream from my youth… Then I became unemployed- and here we are!”

Ted and Shirl are plying the Erie Canal and headed to Florida and the Bahamas on the S/V Serenity, a 35 foot Island Packet. It is a full keeled, ocean capable sailboat with a 35hpYanmar 3 cylinder diesel.  Solar panels charge the batteries, and a chart plotter adds another sense of security in storms and dark nights. Ted is an experienced power boater, but quickly admits that sailing is a bit different. 

Why not? Shirl, the First Mate, Chief Cook and Bottle Washer, and “No Bake” Cookie Baker par excellence, has been granted a 6 month furlough from her full time job. The sailboat is new, the Erie Canal is new, the trip to Florida and beyond is new, and unemployment is new. Why the trip? According to Ted, “Why not- life is what you make it…. We have met so many wonderful people and seen so many historical places…. You can’t get better history than the Erie Canal…. Perhaps my unemployment is truly a blessing. Our life is already richer, and we have just started our sail….  We have 6 months to appreciate life at a slow pace and experience Mother Nature the way early sailors did...”

Ted then looked at Shirl and with a big grin said, “Besides, our first- every sailing trip gives our five children and the 10 grandchildren something different to read and talk about- so why not!”


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4 Comments to "“Novice Sailors” on Erie Canal Adventure"

  1. amanda Said,

    Cool story! Thanks for sharing!

    Posted on Mon Oct 08, 05:00:00 PM EDT

  2. Videomark Said,

    Another Classic!

    Posted on Tue Oct 09, 08:40:00 AM EDT

  3. Tracy Ryder Bradshaw Said,

    I am so proud of my brother and friend. What an adventure to be able to follow with daily updates on their blog! This is a great article, and the family is very thankful to the publisher. Love, Tracy

    Posted on Wed Oct 10, 10:44:00 AM EDT

  4. Anonymous Said,

    Always great to hear about people who turn what may be viewed as a negative situation into a positive outcome. I hope that you find time to visit thier blog at blamebuffett.blogspot.com

    Posted on Mon Nov 19, 10:04:00 PM EST


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