Nelson residents Sanda Laine and Don Kurylko held a boat naming ceremony with friends and neighbours Saturday. Kurylko handcrafted the 34-foot sailboat in a shed on their yard. The boat mover arrived at the same time

Forever Boat leaves Nelson with new name

Don Kurylko and Sanda Laine christen their sailboat Tomfi during touching dedication ceremony

While a naming ceremony was held Saturday in Uphill for a 34-foot handcrafted sailboat, a truck from the Lower Mainland with a massive trailer attached made its way up Stanley St. to begin transporting the vessel to the Pacific Ocean.

These were Sanda Laine’s words as she and husband Don Kurylko ceremoniously christened their sailboat and soon-to-be new home while surrounded by friends in their yard:

Sanda Laine and Don Kurylko. Tamara Hynd photo

“To all the Gods and Goddesses of the sea, both ancient and modern: We present to you this small vessel named Tomfi and humbly ask that her name be added to the rolls of the great fleets that have come before her and all who sail in her be filled with the spirit with which she was crafted.”

The air was full of emotion. When Laine took a moment to recompose herself, Kurylko offered to read the dedication for her, but that brief pause was all she needed to gather her voice back.

The familial sentiment is what led to the name Tomfi, Laine’s middle name, which she was given in honour of her uncle Tom, who fought in World War II. He was wounded on D-Day and died three days later. Sanda was born a couple of days after that.

And with that, a swooping cheer rose from the crowd gathered on their lawn at Stanley and Gore streets with the boat gleaming with rich wooden finish and a celebratory bouquet of summer blooms.

Kurylko continued the dedication. While champagne was poured for guests, none would touch Tomfi’s bow that day, as that was to be reserved for her ocean launch. Kurylko, however, pointed to a large metal basin full of water from Kootenay Lake which was to act as a baptismal font.

“Like the salmon who return home to spawn, may the Tomfi also know the waters of the place from which she came,” said Kurylko as he splashed a cup full of lake water on her bow.

Kurylko invited guests to douse Tomfi’s bow, an offer that was quickly taken up with zest.

Anticipating the boat movers’ arrival, Kurylko said he felt every emotion — anxiety, elation, anticipation, joy. The day was here and he could hardly believe it.

For 20 years Kurylko handcrafted the vessel inside a shed in their yard. And it was this lengthy timeline that caused neighbourhood children who passed through the shed on their way to school who dubbed it the Forever Boat. The shed seemed like a permanent fixture until it was dismantled in July, revealing the seaworthy ship.

Once the boat mover was onsite, he and Kurylko began working out the loading logistics. Kurylko was to follow the boat to a boat yard in Richmond while Laine was tasked with the final business of moving out of their sold house. The couple will now live on their boat and after a few more preparations, plan to set sail in the fall to where new adventures await.

Sanda’s written words. Tamara Hynd photo

(Correction: An earlier version of this story stated the couple’s children called it the Forever Boat. It was, in fact, neighbourhood children passing by going to and from school who would pass through the shed as a regular part of their route who called it the Forever Boat.)

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