T’was the night before Christmas, when all through the boats,
Not a creature was stirring, of that there’s no doubt.
The stockings were hung from the pulpits with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.
The skippers were nestled all snug in their berths,
While memories of sailing days filled them with mirth.
Heaving lines, life-jackets, bailers and flares,
Coast Guard requirements had been followed with care.
From out on the water there came such a great splash,
They sprang from their bunks and threw open the hatch!
Out to their decks they flew like a flash,
Grabbing for life buoys they might have to cast!
The moon over-head with its shimmering glow,
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When what to their wondering eyes should appear?
But a red catamaran, named Nick’s Christmas Cheer!
With a little old captain, so lively and quick,
They knew in a moment it must be St. Nick!
Setting his course for the moorings he came,
And he whistled, and shouted, calling boats by their names,
Ahoy, Sailboats and Trawlers, Cruisers and Sloops,
Ketches, Cutters and Yawls… yes you too!
I must come close aboard as my dinghy’s too small,
So raft away! raft away! raft away all!”
They pulled up their anchors, their rodes they did store,
Then together they rafted so Santa could board.
Towards them he motored with his running lights flashing,
With the hull full of nautical gifts they had wished for.
And then, in a twinkling, through the rigging he came,
An old Salty Dog in charge of his game!
As the first skipper gasped, and was turning around,
Down the companionway St. Nicholas came with a bound!
He wore a Sou’Wester and a slicker both red,
With the best PFD ever, or so it was said.
An enormous duffle-bag he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a sailor just opening his pack.
His eyes — how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
As he joyously gave gifts that he knew they would cherish.
His log book of names, he carefully checked twice,
From bow to stern every boat got something nice.
A shiny windlass here a new furler there,
A hard bottomed dinghy with leg room to spare.
Out of the pack more gifts for boats came,
Depth sounders, fish finders, new jibs and new sails,
compasses, radios, wind generators times four,
G.P.S.’s, BBQs, fenders and more.
He spoke not a word, while finishing his work,
And he filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up to the cockpit he rose.
He sprang to his vessel and cast off his cable,
And he headed true North, as quick as he was able,
But I heard him exclaim, as he faded from sight,
“SAFE BOATING TO ALL AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!”
by Wendy L. Neumann, RCAF, Trenton Power and Sail Squadron
photo by: Guy Ladouceur