Friday, January 4, 2013

One day run

We are still enjoying having kids and grand kids in the house, and though there was some thought of heading to the lake this weekend, I was concerned that the marina would not be very kid friendly. Since they had a day scheduled full of events with other family, and my flying schedule doesn't start to pick up until next week, I figured it a good idea to take a day run to the boat. Glad I did too, but I am a bit embarrassed to admit to what I found.

It turns out rural central IL got a lot more snow than did urban St. Louis. Kintala's deck was covered with a layer of snow and ice even with the top of the toe rail. The embarrassing part? Buried in the snow pack were various lines and sheets left lying hither and yon by ye 'ol Deck Monkey, now frozen into solid blocks of multi-colored ice. The bimini was sagging under a load that had also managed to crack the plastic see-through panel. Deb's brand new dodger carried an load equally heavy but, fortunately, no damage appears to have been done. Once I had (very, very) carefully cleared the weight the dodger shaped right back up. So I set about clearing the decks and cleaning up the lines. It was slightly above freezing in the middle part of the day and the sun was shining brightly. Laying the rope blocks out softened them up so I could bring some order to my mess. Then I put the old deck tents Deb made last year across the boom and mounted whisker pole with a eye to keeping the next snow mass from piling up quite so deep.

I was glad that we decided not to have the kids visit. The marina is neither kid or adult friendly at the moment. The docks are a solid block of ice and snow. The bubblers are keeping the ice off the hulls but there is a good skim of the stuff throughout the marina. Falling over board or sliding off a dock could clearly put one at serious risk. Being the only person around while working an ice covered deck, struggling with lines and putting on covers ... a bitter, cold plunge was just one poor foot-plant away.

Other than winterizing the engine and water system, I never really got around to prepping the boat for bad weather. I think she might have gotten the better of me ... just a little bit. Last year was a minor disaster in our short sailing career, the end of the V-drive debacle, low water for much of the summer, brutally hot temperatures, and endless laboring on a to-do list that always seems to be just one item short of being completely out of control. By fall I'm afraid the needle of my enthusiasm meter was hovering near catatonic, evidenced by the things I had to take care of today.

I'm sitting by the fire now with a hot toddy by my side. A welcome aura of satisfaction that settled over me and I can feel my enthusiasm needle twitching a little. It was one of those days when the things a sailor needed to do to take care of his boat flirted with being pretty serious business. Not complicated, not daring, nothing like taking down a jammed head sail on a dark and stormy night or flogging off a lee shore. No, just chips deposited in the good karma box when being deliberate, sure footed, and careful, were the watch words of the day.

I think it might be a pretty good year.

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