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Dalrymple still sailing the Great Lakes

by on May 25, 2010

Dan Dalrymple

In his classic poem, “Sea Fever,” poet John Masefield says all he wants is a “tall ship . . . and the wheel’s kick, the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking.”

Dan Dalrymple feels the same way.  An avid sailor, he spent 27 years as a line mechanic with Ohio Power before retiring in 1994. “My wife and I sailed 29,000 miles on the Great Lakes between 1973 and 1983, and then we stopped keeping track of all the trips and all the miles,” he said.

“I started sailing in the very early 1970s with a 14-foot sailboat on Mifflin Lake near Mansfield, Ohio,” he remembered. “I got hooked on sailing almost immediately and soon traded it in on a larger boat so that I could sail on Lake Erie, Lake Huron and Georgian Bay.”

Today, Dalrymple is 71 years young and owns two sailboats, a 25-foot Catalina and a 27-foot Cal. His first wife passed away in 2000, and he remarried in 2005. “I sail mostly with my wife, Carol. She generally takes care of the helm and I handle the sails.

Storms can come up quickly on the Great Lakes, Dalrymple noted, and Lake Erie, in particular, can change almost instantly from calm quietude to scary turbulence.

“A sailboat is much more seaworthy than a power boat, particularly when it comes to navigating through a storm and getting back to safe harbor,” Dalrymple said. “A good-sized sailboat can handle big waves.

“A 27-foot sailboat like mine is easy to maintain and has enough sail area to sail well, but the sails aren’t too large for one person to handle. I love sailing because it’s peaceful, quiet and relaxing, and I’ve always enjoyed working with ropes and lines.”

Dalrymple said Georgian Bay is especially scenic, and sailing under the Mackinaw Bridge en route to Lake Michigan was a particular thrill. “I love the Detroit River,” he added. “It’s a fun spot and there are a lot of places where you can anchor, get something to eat and socialize.” He also likes to visit the Lake Erie islands, including Pelee Island in Canada.

Dan and Carol don’t just travel by boat – – they enjoy traveling by land, too. They recently returned to their home near Wooster, Ohio, following a three-week automobile journey to San Diego, Calif., and back.

The former Ohio Power line mechanic is also quite adept with computers. “My pastor asked me if I could create and maintain the website for our church, and I told him I’d be happy to do it,” Dalrymple said. “We’ve had as many as 178 hits in a single day, so it’s doing quite well when you consider the size of our congregation.”

Dalrymple has written detailed descriptions of his favorite sailboats on his own web pages, which can be found here. “I get a lot of e-mails about my web pages on sailing,” he said. “It’s rewarding and enjoyable to get questions from people who are just starting out and want to learn more about sailing.”

If you read them, you just might catch a little bit of “sea fever” yourself.

From → Retiree Profiles

One Comment
  1. I’m gad that Dan is enjoying his retirement! I believe the last time that I saw Dan was working the ice storm in Ellwood Indiana.

    Doyle Mason

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