Last year I recognized Mother’s Day with an ode to my mom. This year, I’d like to recognize my “boat mother,” Katrina.

Katrina 1986 mid-Atlantic

In 1986, three days into a transtlantic crossing from the Canaries to Barbados, Katrina overhauled a fellow cruiser—who fortunately had a camera ready.

She was named after my actual mother, though these days, of course, her name makes everyone think “hurricane.” When our Katrina arrived in 1970, that 2005 storm wasn’t even a gleam in its own mother’s North African eye.

As good mothers do, Katrina has taught me a lot over the years—through showing rather than telling, so I’ve remembered the lessons. As a racer/cruiser, she adapted well to different demands—teaching me about flexibility. And since she is a well-built heavy fiberglass boat (produced before anyone realized how strong the stuff was), she taught me to handle whatever weather was thrown at me—though I often didn’t manage to live up to her example.

She also taught me that the sweet joys of competition are made even sweeter by sharing the best moments over a beverage afterward. And she taught me the joy of traveling to distant shores, while always being at home on board: after a childhood of extensive East Coast cruising, we sailed together as far north as the Lofoten Islands in Norway, and as far south as the Caribbean.

These days Katrina and her crew stick a little closer to her Cape Cod home, venturing to Maine in the summer and enjoying a well-earned rest over the winter. But I know if any of us felt inspired to plan a longer cruise, she’d rise to the challenge. Thanks to a constant round of upgrades and TLC over the past four decades, she’s aged well—another lesson for all of us.

Launching day 2015

Launching day 2015

Unlike last year, Katrina was launched in time for Mother’s Day 2015, and I’m guessing Mom and Dad will take her on a short adventure to celebrate. As I spend the day preparing my own boat for launching later this month, I’ll think of them all taking care of each other.

Thanks, boat mother.