by Isis Rexie
(ed: Jane Fossett)
I cried a little while I sailed last night.
I don’t normally get to spend time in world on a Saturday night, and it was sheer luck that I was there to catch the message broadcast on the SL Coast Guard channel: The SLCG Cutter Niki Writer was about to take its maiden voyage from Santa Catalina. Instantly a number of emotions flowed through me: a sense of appreciation, loss, pride, and love.
I felt a great sense of appreciation for this very thoughtful act of the SL Coast Guard. It is my understanding that the Coast Guard names craft after great women who have passed away. Seeing Niki’s name on the back of that cutter showed how much she touched people’s hearts in our sailing community, and it was an amazing gesture on the part of the SLCG to recognize her like this.
I knew Niki … not as well as some, but I called her a friend. She helped me when I needed support making graphics for the Fruit Islands Yacht Club. She did amazing work. I later realized that she was having issues with rent in SL, but she had never asked me for a single L$. She was a great person, and at the mention of her name, I felt that sense of loss again.
Ranger Upshaw took the helm of the cutter that night, and led an impressive flotilla of SLCG air and sea craft away from the docks and out into Blake Sea. They were kind enough to allow me to tag along, and I sailed a black J-Class alongside them. More than once I had to lower sails and wipe my teary eyes as we made our way around the perimeter of the Blake Sea. I was so proud to be sailing alongside this magnificent group of sailors and aviators in this touching tribute to our lost friend.
As the flotilla headed back north from Arabian, I was forced to tack west away from the group as they headed to Santa Catalina, and when I rejoined them in Blake Sea – China, they were lining up for a tribute salute before returning to dock. I was invited to join the group for a commemorative photograph, and proudly (trying not to hit any helicopters with the mast of the J-Class) lined up with them for the salute.
It really came home for me what a true community we have in SL sailing. It was a powerful, wonderful act on the part of the SL Coast Guard, an organization for which i have ultimate respect.
I am proud to be a supporter of the SLCG. There is true love here, and this tribute to Niki was a beautiful expression of that love.
I am proud to be part of the SL sailing community.
Mango Yacht Club