by Eileen L. Ziesler

We named our 28 foot O'Day Winnie-ther-Pooh and as with many boats the name attempts to impart the owner's philosophy. Ours is to keep it simple and fun, to pull our big boots on for an adventure wherever the winds blow, and just to be. Over the years, our guests on Pooh would choose a mug with one of Milne's characters depending on how they happened to feel that day. Are they an Owl, a Rabbit, an Eeyore; or is this their first sail and they are a hesitant Piglet? We have had great fun with this as exemplified in this latest chapter of the logbook of Winnie-ther-Pooh.
On Saturday of the Bayfield Applefest, Captain Pooh gathered some friends for a last sail of the year. The sailors made their way to Madeline Island from Pike's Bay Marina enjoying good company, the wind in the sails, and an anticipated Venetian night parade victory. The friends docked at La Pointe, chuckled at the signs at Tom's Burned Down Café, and had a little something to eat.
Upon leaving Madeline Island, it was declared a spinnaker day. With Captain Pooh at the helm, Tigger on the lines to douse the spinnaker, and Rabbit handling the sheets everything went well. Owl and Kanga hatched a plan to have an adventure. They launched the dinghy. Set adrift on the lake they snapped photos of Winnie-ther-Pooh with its gloriously colorful spinnaker.
Following this adventure, a single strand of Christmas lights was wound around the lifelines. Forms of Tigger, Eeyore, Piglet, Rabbit, Kanga, Roo, Owl, and Pooh with his pot of honey danced between the back and front stays. In all this splendor, Winnie-ther-Pooh now made way for Bayfield and the Venetian Night Parade.
Time for a little something. Kanga cut apple strudel and placed pieces on dessert plates for the happy crew. But before the dessert could be served topside, the sparkplug on the engine fouled. Not to be undone, Captain Pooh hurriedly changed the plug and turned the key. CLICK. It would not start. click.
The strudel had to wait. Just out of reach, magnificently decorated boats began to form outside of the Bayfield harbor. A decision was made to de-decorate the boat and sail upwind, returning to the homeport of Pike's Bay Marina. The crew hoisted the main, pulled out the jib, and sailed mournfully away from Bayfield. Kanga considered the unhappy option of docking at night while under sail. Eeyore considered what could happen if they continued on without using what might be left of the battery for the required red, green, and white lights. At the helm, Owl considered the wind speed and when to tack. What Piglet and Rabbit considered, we do not know.
Captain Pooh and Tigger considered the spark plug problem. They found it was the wrong plug. After installing a new one, the engine burst into life. The engine purred, the crew cheered, and the sails were dropped. The decorations were hastily re-hung and Pooh got ready to wave to the crowd. "Backward to Bayfield!" shouted the crew.
With Owl at the helm, Tigger madly blew his foghorn. Piglet and Rabbit shone weak flashlights randomly at Pooh who was waving and dancing for the crowd. Poor Eeyore sadly sat with an unworkable spotlight and bemoaned, "Pathetic, that's what it is. Pathetic". The boat, with its single strand of Christmas lights, puttered away at the very end of the majestic parade of boats. Pooh bowed to the crowd and blew kisses. The crowd cheered.
As the boat ventured closer and closer to shore, the Captain cautioned Owl to check the depth finder. THUMP. Thump, bump. The little boat stopped and stood still. Owl had steered his friends too close to the shore. Unknown to the crew, Owl could not see the shoreline in the dark and without his glasses, he could not read the depth finder. A sad "oooohhhh" arose from the crowd on the shore.
"PORTSIDE!" shouted the Captain. "EVERYONE TO PORT!" The crew scurried to port and the boat leaned. It came unstuck! The crowd on shore cheered wildly and Pooh blew kisses and waved goodbye. Once underway, the crew celebrated and went below deck for a little something. The waiting apple strudel was served up in great style. Only Eeyore complained, "We'll never get a trophy now with those pathetic lights and running aground. Too bad."
The next day Bill Rohde of the Bayfield Applefest presented the traveling trophy to a surprised captain and crew on behalf of Winnie-ther-Pooh. The crew marveled in disbelief, "How could this trophy been awarded to poor Pooh?"
"Well," mused Eeyore, "maybe we got the sympathy vote."