Over the weekend I had the opportunity to visit Put-in-Bay and sail aboard General Patton’s schooner, When and If. Located on South Bass Island, the quaint village of Put-in-Bay comes alive during the summer months, catering to locals and tourists alike with a laid-back island way of life.
Getting to the island is easy, take the Miller Ferry from the Catawba Dock in Port Clinton. The ferry leaves every 30 minutes during the summer season, and transit time is about 20 minutes. Aboard the ferry, guests are treated to wonderful views of Lake Erie and the surrounding area. We decided to stay on the lower deck, where the vehicles are parked, to take in the views and feel the water spray upon our faces. Taking the Miller Ferry round-trip was the perfect way to begin and end our day at Put-in-Bay!
In 1939, General George S. Patton had a dream to sail around the world aboard his personal schooner, the When and If. Patton proclaimed, “When the war is over and If I live through it, Bea and I are going to sail her around the world.” Sadly, Patton never lived to fulfill his dream after he tragically passed from an automobile accident in France in 1945.
Now, 77 years later, a new fantastic crew is trying to fulfill the ship’s destiny by sailing her around the world. Before the When and If’s global journey begins, the crew has been showcasing her beauty throughout the Eastern coast and Lake Erie, giving history lovers and sailing aficionados the opportunity to set sail aboard the historic vessel.
The When and If is constructed of mahogany on oak frames, with an overall length of 80 feet and deck length of 63 feet and 5 inches and her beams soar 15 feet over the deck. Her beauty was unparalleled on the open waters of Lake Erie, with other boats and boaters stopping beside her to snap photos of the stunning historic vessel.
It was a beautiful summer day to enjoy a sail on Lake Erie off the shores of Put-in-Bay. I sat aboard the When and If thinking about how magnificent it would be to see the world on a sail boat. What a dream General Patton had…When and If. Maybe it was the summer sun, the lake breeze or the feeling of watching someone’s dream come true, either way I began to contemplate about life goals and dreams. We say to ourselves, “when and if…” we can all fill in the blanks of what our dreams might be. But do we act upon our dreams or just push them aside to think about every once in a while? As a dreamer myself, I advocate to start fulfilling your dreams! Take General Patton’s life for example, he survived a world war, had a dream to spend time aboard his personal schooner with his wife, and then was tragically killed. His unfulfilled dream teaches us that life is too short to not follow your dreams! If that doesn’t make you want to start fulfilling your dreams, then I’m not sure what will! So, yes, sailing aboard the When and If was an amazing opportunity, but it also fulfilled one of my dreams to sail on a yacht!
To learn more about the When and If and her crew, please visit www.sailwhenandif.com.
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