Thursday March 19th, 2015
I am truly saddened by the passing of Doc Bailey. I grew up with the Bailey boys and as a result got opportunities I would not have otherwise received. I will focus on a love and respect for the water.
In our public school days Doc had a wooden sailboat, heavy with a bowsprit that dove through waves rather than bounce and bob like today’s plastic versions. After the wooden ship was launched it was a team effort to keep the thing afloat while it ‘soaked up’. This involved riding bikes to Squires’ and sharing the pumping duties. No automatic electric bilge pumps with alarms. The pump was a single stroke brass pump and alarms were floating floor boards. “fifty strokes each” Chris would proclaim.
The boat always did eventually soak up and we would get opportunities on Bailey birthdays or just for a sail days to take her out and try to bury the rail….”Lovely, Lovely”. The bigger the wind the more likely he would be out. Sometimes the calls would come later in the evening, “wanna go for a sail”? One night the painter on the dinghy broke and the sail turned into a search and rescue for the inflatable escapee. We found it, Doc only got a little excited or a little higgledy piggledy as we respectfully called it.
Around 1966 Doc’s new fiberglass boat came along, an Arlberg 30. This boat has had many names through her life with Doc. He gave me a discussion when I suggested that the name plate should be affixed to the stern with bronze wing nuts to facilitate name changes. The A 30 was built in the same shop as Fracas. Around the same time or at the same time the Water Rats came along. These dinghies were short and slow but fun in heavy air and of course that is when we would take them out. We would also load the boats with at least three if not four of us. George would give us a “sheesh” as we would leave the dock and attempt to bury the rail if not the boat…”Lovely…Lovely. There were days when Doc would arrive and inwardly snicker at our plucky sailing while suggesting we bring the boat(s) back in.
We bought our first ‘boat’ in 1995 and several years after we got her the Bailey boys were home and they were out for a sail with Doc. Of course two boats make a race. For the record, his boat was faster than Moonshadow and he was fast as well. I was proud of my new boat and as they overtook us I waited for Doc to say something, the boat being passed is less likely to say anything. He looked over and yelled “Nice looking boat, too bad it’s so f****ng slow.”
Doc did come down shortly after we brought FRACAS home and he took the tour. I have a picture of him behind the wheel but not with me here. He told us that he remembers well the Whitby 42 being at the Toronto boat show over the years and how much he liked the layout. I never got him out sailing on her though.
Our condolences to the Bailey families, I wish we could be home to be with you all and tell and listen to a few stories.