Continuing with the story (read How I Became a Sea Ray 270 Sundancer Owner…), me and my wife finally took delivery of a brand new Sea Ray 175 Sport bow rider. I was on cloud nine since achieving one of your life dreams is a rare occurrence in life. Little did I know at the time how much further I will go beyond my dreams and blow away all my expectations. So for Father’s Day, my gift was the fulfillment of my summer dream of boating, not on the Ottawa River, but on the Rideau Canal. The Rideau stretches all the way from lake Ontario to the Ottawa River at heart of Canada’s capital as below map shows.
Of course my home port, Hurst Marina, resides in Manotick along the longest stretch of canal between the Long Island locks and the Burritts Rapids locks, a total of 29 miles. This is where my saga picks up. When me and my wife took delivery, we were given a “floating slip”. Of course, I was a total newbie regarding “slips” and such. As I found out, a floating slip is basically the normal slip for sport boats as it was the least expensive. The more expensive “fixed slips” were reserved for cruisers and yachts as those slips had shore power, etc.
So here in Canada, the federal government was in the process of instituting pleasure craft operator licenses. The actual license is easy to obtain since it can be done online. All you do is review some provided material about navigation, safe boating, and various maritime regulations then write an online exam. The second part, the practical portion of the operator license, has been left to the boat dealers. They’re mandated to provide a water/operation test on the delivery of a new boat. So we took delivery of our bow rider and immediately did our water test with Hurst’s sales staff. When we returned to the marina to tie up to our slip, to our dismay there was no more room in the “floating slip”. Our salesman called the office saying there was a problem and he was promptly told that someone is coming out. A few minutes later, an older gentlemen came walking. I knew something was up since the salesman immediately stiffened and talked to the gentlemen very formally.
The older man perused our situation, looked around and said, “put Mr. Daigle there in the corner” as he was pointing to a fixed slip right next to an older but large Sea Ray cruiser and a 30′ pontoon boat. I couldn’t believe it but panic then set in as thoughts of paying extra $$ for the slip flashed in my mind. I guess the gentlemen saw the panic on my face so he added “by the way, don’t worry about the price difference, it’s all good”, nodded to the salesman and walked away. I later found out that the gentlemen was the owner of the marina.
Now your most likely wondering why I even mention this. As it turns out, it became one of the key catalysts in moving to a larger boat. As I mentioned, our slip was among a slew of Sea Ray (Doral, Four Winns, etc.) cruisers. It was actually funny to see a lowly Sea Ray 175 Sport, the smallest of the small, rubbing fenders with 28-34′ cruisers. But besides that picture, my wife immediately noticed the lifestyle. Our slip neighbours, an older couple, would sit in their Sundancer sipping red wine as the sun set over the canal, having quiet conversation and what appeared to be a most relaxing moment. The expression on my wife’s face on seeing this was the same expression I had when I entered the showroom floor of all those shiny new Sea Rays. This was the first indication that my wife is going to enjoy boating.
The story continues…