It’s a small world after all

Published on February 17th, 2021

A fundamental rule in competitive sailing (Part 1, Rule 1.1) is that “a boat or competitor shall give all possible help to any person or vessel in danger.” This emphasis on sportsmanship occurs off the water too as shared in this story by longtime supporter Bill Smoak of Miami, FL.


Texan Mary Helen Edgecomb was an enthusiastic ‘den-mother’ for young sailors, and in the late 1980s her Thanksgiving Regatta on Lake Ray Hubbard in Rockwall was the place to be.

From our base in Miami, I set off on the two day drive to Texas towing a trailer with Lasers, while four teenage competitors were to fly to Dallas and meet me on Thanksgiving afternoon at Chandlers Landing. At least that was Plan A.

Nearly arriving at my destination, I was driving through the residential area above Lake Hubbard when a loud, grinding noise occurred. Upon investigation, the trailer’s tongue had fractured, freeing the trailer to gouge a long trench across a home’s front lawn.

With understandable apprehension, I knocked on the front door which was opened by a man who looked beyond me, and without a word, went to inspect the damage, leaving behind the noise from a football game.

I stood with my heart pounding, assessing what I could do on a holiday to get the trailer repaired and deliver the boats, plus how was I to placate an angry home owner.

To my surprise he remarked, “We can fix that, come inside, heck, my Aggies are losing anyway.” A benevolent fate had delivered me to the home of a retired aeronautical engineer whose hobby was fabricating in his garage solid-foil sails for Little America’s Cup C-class catamarans.

While his name now regrettably escapes me, he set off to collect pieces of metal from a scrap pile, fabricated a much stronger tongue, jacked up the trailer, and attached the new tongue. Pulling out my wallet to pay for his time and repair of the lawn, he shook me off, delivering another surprise.

”I see by your car decal you are a member of Coral Reef Yacht Club in Miami,” he noted. “Do you know the Wrigley family?” When I said I did, he remarked, “Last time I was in Miami my boat trailer had a damaged tire. Hearing of my problem, he told me to take the spare off his trailer and head home. When you get back tell him I said hello.”

He turned and went back to his Aggies game. Small world, indeed.

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