It is the love of sailing that originally brought Donn Lassila and I together. Friendship followed and somehow I earned the honor of captaining his beloved yacht, Raven’s Dance. Then the vision unfolded of a partnership where I would campaign her, and he would visit and sail when spaces in his work permitted. It is that vision realized that today brought the three of us (RD, Donn and me) back to Barra and to the end of five glorious days of sailing the Gold Coast of Mexico.
It’s noon and an unfamiliar melancholy is coming over me. It’s “moving day” for Donn (return to Nevada and then on to work in Alaska), which must end the most perfect sailing days in my life. He makes just enough time this final morning to change the genset and engine oil and make a few other adjustments to leave me with RD in the best possible condition.
Donn has always arrived at RD with a new cache of Gevalia coffee, plus parts requested for regular or non-scheduled maintenance (things I broke since we were last together). So far as I can recall, RD has never run out of diesel fuel, water, paper towels or Gevalia coffee.
Donn considers Gevalia coffee the only coffee worthy for his yacht. Folgers is prohibited with the same vehemence as mosquitoes. I mention that because I can think of no better way to introduce him. He’s “picky” about what he’ll allow into his life, but I rather think he has found the proper balance between being selfish and being selfless. His intellect is off the charts and his understanding of human nature is superior. I’ve never seen him fail at the smallest or largest task. He has a will of iron but uses it like a lamb — almost all the time. What continually strikes me is just how much he cares for his Raven’s Dance. Again, by extension it’s an expression of how much he cares for his friends — and for the planet.
He’s a good guy to sail with, and he has become the brother I never had.