Last Shall Be First

Happy New Years! Today I took Luna from her mooring and berthed her at a nearby marina with floating piers, just until  winter subsides. The thought of leaving her alone, in a cold howling storm, out there on her mooring and not being willing nor able to go attend to her prompted the move. She’ll appreciate the shore power to keep her battery juiced for the bilge pump. She does weep slightly. And, the secluded marina does provide some added shelter.

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So, was this the last boating of the season or the first of the year? I don’t know. The temps were unseasonably warm, 63 degrees and generally overcast. It was good to be out on the water. I miss it so quickly. A forlornness settled upon me as I rowed away from Luna. Perhaps for both of us. Back across the cove and on shore with skiff in tow, I came upon 2 dandelions seemingly out of touch with the season’s portents. They offered some hope that three months might pass speedily. It does so more and more. Soon enough, boatyard rituals will begin anew. Meanwhile, we’ll dream of new paint, varnish and that first overnight cruise. Till then …

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Sunny Day, Gentle Boat, Beautiful Girl

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The week between Christmas and New Years is traditionally our time to winterize boats. The wait until Spring was once an eternity. Now, it rushes by, and yet I easily recall cradling my baby girl as we steered our Pearson “Emily” from the leeward rail. Oh, how her blue lights scanned the view. Now that she has a choice, I’m glad she’ll still come along. Hopefully Wednesday wasn’t this year’s last opportunity …, but we know the window is closing. Our wonderful picnic sail is one I’ll long treasure and savor until warmth returns. Here’s a short minute of the day.

My Buddy Huckleberry

As the season closes, Huck and I stole a brief sail across Mobjack Bay and back yesterday. Believing he is still a lap dog, he made for a nice heater as we pushed to weather.

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We’re still assessing the new sails. The stainless steel slides are not right for bronze or naval brass T track. They still snag slightly when raising and lowering. Either I need to file round edges on each slide or replace them with naval brass, if those can be found. Such is the challenge of ordering sails at a distance. Add it to the winter projects.

At 10:30 wind fluctuated between 5 mph or less. LUNA still moved along. Maybe the bottom isn’t as slimy as I thought.

By noon the breeze built to 12-15 and we really chunked along.

Short and sweet.

Steampunk Sailor

Yesterday, my daughter and I took a short, brisk sail with LUNA up the East River, stopping by “Ed’s Cove” on the return for lunch on the hook. The menu offered hot tomato soup, ham wraps, beer and sunshine in a protected cockpit. No one else was around. No one. Granted it was mid-week, but too many boat owners put their craft away after Labor Day here. So many wonderful days are missed. You can have July and August in my book. From September up until Christmas frequently is truly the best sailing time of the year. The water’s summer heating holds its inertia well into November. Yesterday was beautiful … ah, so is today.

Here’s one of my favorite sailors working out music for the picnic.

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A Friday Night

Sorry, nothing raucous to show here. No overhang thrills. Just a simple overnight sail. With winds at 12-15 and gusting to 20, LUNA beats up the East River under full sail. She puts her shoulder into it without protest. Not far past Put In Creek, we turn downwind, pass the magnificent Bruce King ketch “Chanty” (there’s some varnish), and set out into Mobjack. We reach toward Ware River,  before tightening up to beat up the North River. Sails are lowered across from an old 1848 neo-classical home named Elmington. It owns the largest magnolia tree I’ve ever seen. Perhaps its age matches the house. I set the anchor in 5′ of water. The sunset highlights a beautiful golden tree line. Cocktails and a quick dinner compliment.

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Sack time for this rowdy Friday is 20:30. The night is still. Stars are blazing at 02:00. At 07:15, dawn brings a flock of crows who are bent on waking the roosters to their job. They do eventually. The orchestra is complete with a few dogs giving their say. As coffee brews, I wipe down the dew from the cockpit. A feathery mist lifts off the water.

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With mizzen and main raised, I haul the anchor. No mud. Must be sandy. I put away the brush. We ghost out of the river to meet a fresh breeze back into Mobjack and reach to East  R. Opposite the marina, we flatten the mizzen, head to windward and go forward to drop the main. It lowers 18″ and then sticks repeatedly. No yanking of the halyard persuades otherwise. So, I toss the anchor, drop the jib and am just able to hoist my lead tail up the mast with the bosun’s chair to reach the snag above the spreaders. Wouldn’t this be a perfect time for one of those powerboats to roll by? Well some idiot did decide to swing by at full tilt to see what was up. If my hands were free, I’d have “waved” back. I’ve sent the main and mizzen back today to remove the shackle to slide connection for webbing. That should fix that problem.

The SNAFU did nothing to remove the glow of the perfect sail. In fact, it was a point of accomplishment in an odd way. The time on the water was grand. Here’s some video.