'I will cherish it forever': Son buys back boat that was sold after his father's death

An Island man has been reunited with a sailboat once owned by his father, who died eight years ago.

'This is probably one of the most beautiful experiences I've ever gotten to be a part of'

Ryan says he is thankful to all who helped him raise the money to buy back the sailboat that had once belonged to his father. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

An Island man has been reunited with a sailboat once owned by his father, who died eight years ago.

Nathan Ryan recently saw the boat for sale on Kijiji. He couldn't afford to buy it on his own so he decided to give crowdfunding a try.

He said he never expected to raise the full $2,800 needed in just two weeks.

"It was so heartwarming. It was an amazing experience to get all that love from all my friends and family," said Ryan.

His father, Bill Ryan, died in the Charlottetown harbour. He was in his boat, named Lunasea, helping ferry some people out to their own anchored boat.

The boat was renamed the Fraid Knot. Ryan says he plans to revert back to the name his father had chosen — Lunasea. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

He was stepping between the boats and slipped. He hit his head and landed in the water unconscious. The people he was with couldn't swim and were unable to reach him in time. 

The family sold the sailboat soon after.

Thanks to the GoFundMe campaign Nathan Ryan bought the boat back — the sale was finalized on Sunday. 

"I just climbed into it to give it a look over and everything is pretty much exactly the way we left it," he said. "Pretty awesome just being in there and reminiscing."

Ready to get back on water

Ryan said what happened to his dad the last time he was on that boat hasn't kept him from wanting to spend time on the water. Instead, the boat will serve as a regular reminder of his father's caring and helpful disposition. 

"Most people going through that experience would swear off sailing all together," said Ryan. 

"But really, it's my only passion. I'm in love with the sea and I don't want something even as tragic as that to keep me from doing it. I want to be courageous and just get back out there and not let that deter me."

Nathan Ryan posted this photo of his father Bill Ryan sailing, on the GoFundMe campaign website. (Nathan Ryan/GoFundMe)

He said to have the boat back in his life means a great deal to him, but it's the many fond memories of his dad that keep his spirit alive. 

"It's nice to have that piece of him but at the same time people can't put too much value on objects," said Ryan. 

"It's the memories you have of that person and how that person affected your life and touched your life and the actions you take as a result of that. That's really what you've got to hold dear."

Ryan says his father's boat Lunasea was sold shortly after his death in 2011. (CBC)

He plans to give the boat a new paint job and give it back its original name — Lunasea — a name his father had chosen.

It also still needs a motor which Ryan hopes to buy in the coming year. 

But in the meantime, he's just happy to have the boat back in his life. He's grateful for everyone who supported the reunion. 

Ryan will now work on getting the sailboat ready to get back on the water. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

"This is probably one of the most beautiful experiences I've ever gotten to be a part of," said Ryan. "I will cherish it forever." 

He said he's forever grateful for all the people who helped make it happen. 

Ryan said whether someone made a donation to the campaign — or even just shared his post — they'll always be welcome for a ride on his and his father's boat. 

More P.E.I. news

With files from Jessica Doria-Brown


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