by Peter Jensen
WESTMORE — A tiny Sunfish with a rainbow sail and a pirate flag was a common sight on Lake Willoughby this summer, tacking back and forth in all conditions near the north end.
Brandon Dietter, 62, had the helm while “Boo,” a King Charles spaniel, seemingly charted each course, standing near the bow clad in a jaunty red lifejacket.
Mr. Dietter is part of a large family that has been coming to “Graystone,” a three-house compound on a granite point, since the early 1900s. They rented from a Dr. Stevens before they purchased the property.
One might say Boo is the second in the Dietter family’s line of talented sailors. A Dietter ancestor is George Dewey, who defeated the Spanish fleet in Manila Bay in 1898 and became Admiral of the Navy in 1903.
Not long after, another Dietter relative, Fred Howland, President of National Life Insurance Company, bought Graystone on Willoughby in 1917.
Both Admiral Dewey and Mr. Howland were born in Montpelier. Yet another relative, famed regional artist Paul Sample, also called Graystone his family’s summer home.
A day without a sail is all but unknown to Boo. This sure-footed little sailor enjoys every summer on Willoughby with Brandon, wife Tina Marie, and children Azelle and Drew. Look for the boat in 2022 and be sure to bark your own version of “Ahoy!”