Rough Passage

Rough Passage

Scott and Mary Beth Litofsky Sail Through Challenges




​Scott and Mary Beth Litofsky love taking their sailboat out on the Lake of the Ozarks.

​“It’s really quiet,” says Scott, who is chief of the division of neurological surgery at the MU School of Medicine. “You hear the rippling of the water as you’re going forward. It really is very pleasurable.”

​“It’s very serene,” Mary Beth adds.

​But sailing at the Lake hasn’t always brought the Litofskyssuch serenity. When they came to Missouri from Massachusetts10 years ago, they brought a little motorless sailboat with them.It had been just right for taking them and their two kids out on little lakes, but things were different at the Lake of the Ozarks.Several times, Scott and Mary Beth felt some wind and thought it would be a great day for sailing. But once they paddled out, the wind — which was being generated from the water meeting the land — would disappear.

​“The first time this happened,” Mary Beth says, “we could hear our neighbor laughing all the way across the Lake. And of course, all the motor boats were going around us, and we just sat, waiting for some wind to come along. After a while, we would take down the sail and start up the engine, which meant we would pull out the oars and row back to land. We did this numerous times, much to the mirth of our neighbors.”

​Finally, Scott and Mary Beth decided they needed a bigger sailboat — one with a real motor. A bigger sailboat would require new skills, so they signed up for a sailing course at Ozark Yacht Club in Lake Ozark in April 2012. The course was a mix of lectures and sailing, and the instructor, Scott and Mary Beth say, was excellent.

​With their new skills and new understanding, Scott and Mary Beth thought they were finally headed for smooth sailingand bought a used boat.

​“It was in pretty good shape, but it had some issues that required some additional attention,” Scott says — and Mary Beth cracks up.

​Between laughs, she explains that the boat had problem after problem. First, an improper lift left the boat with a crack in its hull. After getting that fixed, they discovered the motor didn’t work. And then after that repair, not only did the motor still not work, but the pull cord broke when Scott tried to start it.

​It’s funny now.

​“It’s been a couple of years,” Mary Beth says. “A couple of years ago, I don’t know that you would have found us to be laughing so much.”

​Finally, near the end of the boating season in 2012, Scott and Mary Beth were able to get the boat out on the Lake one time.

​“And then last year, we were able to take it out a number of times,” Scott says, “and each time, we got a little better.”

​Today, when the wind is right, they are able to go three or four miles on the main channel by sail.

​It’s very enjoyable, Scott says, when they are actually sailing.

​“When everything actually works as it is supposed to, it issimultaneously exciting and relaxing,” Scott says.

​Mary Beth has her own reasons for enjoying each sail.

​“I’m happy it makes Scott happy,” she says. “Plus every time we take the boat out, the cost per trip decreases, which really thrills me.”