My Father's Lanai

Kerry and I have been downsizing a bit lately. Part of that process has included giving away books that have been sitting on our shelves without being touched, except for an occasional dusting, for years. My father, John Dyer, gave me a bunch of sailing-related books many years ago. I've kept some and given away most. Before we give any of them away we check to see if he left anything inside of them. For instance, I found and kept a bunch of hand-written notes he made as he was deciding what kind of sailboat to buy back in the early 1980s. He ended up buying an Endeavour 43, a sturdy, center-cockpit ketch with 6'7" of headroom below. He and his wife, Mary Lou, lived on the boat for a couple of years in North Palm Beach, Florida. I was stationed at the Defense Language Institute at the time, and I stayed on the boat with them for about three weeks during Christmas break in 1982. I have a great photo of Dad at the helm on one of our day trips in the Atlantic, and the days I spent with him on his boat, particularly the days we went sailing, are as important to me as any time we spent together. He eventually sold the boat. I think it was just too confining to be a permanent home. But for a while, as his friend Les Sutcliffe said while visiting that December, for a few years my Dad was "living the dream." 

Before we'd sail, Dad would raise the boat's burgee. His burgee was yellow with a pineapple depicted in the middle of it. My recollection for years was that he once told me it was the burgee of the Lanai Yacht Club. I was pretty sure the whole thing was a mild joke, that Dad didn't have any more connection to Lanai or some yacht club on Lanai than I did, and that he just liked saying that about his boat's burgee. But the story had a certain charm to it, and it was a story I liked to repeat.

A couple of weeks ago, while going through some old sailing books for donation to the local library, I found a yellow, 5x7 posterboard certificate, No. 201, dated March 14, 1981 (Dad's 50th birthday, as my brother pointed out), naming John Dyer as a Charter Member of the Pineapple Isle Yacht Club of Lanai, Hawaii, and signed by the club's "Commodore." What a find! According to some brief web research, the club no longer exists, but apparently it did at one point, and Dad was a member from the get go. What I'd once considered to be a mild joke had some substance to it, and here was some documentary evidence supporting that proposition. The certificate is the second image below.

We'd started planning our trip to Maui back in January. That planning included taking a quick trip to Lanai. All of the above made the visit to Lanai an imperative. We took the 50-minute ferry ride from Lahaina Harbor on June26th. When we disembarked at Manele Bay, Lanai, we walked over to a set of flags on a small rise above the harbor. I'd hoped that one of the flags would be the burgee of the Pineapple Isle Yacht Club. Even though the burgee was not flying, the picture I took of Kerry on Lanai is one I'll treasure for reasons going back much further than our recent trip. The picture evokes memories of sailing with my father on the boat of his dreams more than 30 years ago, sailing along through the Gulf Stream off the coast of Florida with the burgee of the Pineapple Isle Yacht Club flying high overhead.  

Kerry beneath the flags at Manele Bay, Lanai, June 26, 2014

Kerry beneath the flags at Manele Bay, Lanai, June 26, 2014

Digital copy of my father's Pineapple Isle Yacht Club membership certificate.

Digital copy of my father's Pineapple Isle Yacht Club membership certificate.