The forecast changed abruptly on Sunday morning, and did a 180. A broad storm front was now approaching from the Midwest. So heading for the Bay was definitely out.
But there was still time to get to a local reservoir. Probably all for the best: It’s been so long since I’ve sailed these boats, so much chaos and mayhem in the intervening years, I need to step out slowly.
How long? Looks like four and a half years. Based on photos and posts here on this blog, the last time I sailed one of my own boats was MASCF in October of 2018. That’s incredible.
Got gear collected and did a dry run in the yard. Lights on the trailer work, tires not flat – check. Blocks corroded, but serviceable – check. Lines and spars intact – check.
We left home in sunshine and arrived thirty minutes later at Beaver Creek under grey skies, darkening to the west over the mountains.
Backing a trailer, turns out, is a little like riding a bike. It’s a part of your brain you don’t use for anything else; so once you find where that is and open the lid, it’s still there, right where you left it. Confusing and wobbly at first, but it comes back. Same with the sailing part. In a few minutes, everything feels familiar again. Fortunately, boats don’t hold a grudge. All this time ignored, and Aeon was just happy to be out on the water again. Light puffy wind, nothing too ambitious. Tacking and jibing, reading wind signs on the water and in the trees on shore.
After an hour the Blue Ridge to the west disappeared. We turned back. Got to the ramp and mostly loaded before the sky opened up and dumped rain on us.
Looking at these photos, we realize how much older and grayer we are now. It’s been a tough five years, for all of us.
Sunday is better. A little at first, then a lot. The Small Craft Warning is downgraded to an Advisory. It will remain gusty for the first half of the day, big gusts, but they will be spaced further and further apart as the day progresses, and lose their punch. By late in the day it is as close to perfect as sailing gets.
Our hotel in Warsaw is not far from the one where Paul Manafort is spending a few nights before his trial, and not that unlike it, apparently. Warsaw had the closest available rooms we could find. Kind of weird for such a remote and unassuming place to be part of such a big story. There’s a Hardee’s and a McDonald’s, a Tractor Supply, beauty parlors, a tire store. A pressure treated wood factory. And, clearly, a regional jail.
It’s a 30 minute drive back to the marina. For such a small boat, a slip is only $25 for the night, with showers, a pool, a cafe. Well worth it. Next time we’ll just stay on the boat and skip the hotel and the driving. With the kinks from yesterday all worked out, and the boat already in the water and ready to go, we’re back onboard and underway with little fuss.
A compilation of sailing clips taken over several days. A cold north wind made for some blustery conditions at first, then calmed down as the front moved through.
Really lovely stuff, marsh sailing.
If you watch to the end, there’s an explanation of how I smashed the stem nose back in October at the Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival in Saint Michaels. I still haven’t quite got over a wave of nervousness when trying to sail and take photos at the same time.
Surprised it took this long to have a mishap, but definitely shifts the balance from taking photos back to more attention to sailing.
Earlier, I replaced the old Main and Jib Halyards with new ones made of Dyneema. Very nice. They’re slippery through the blocks and feel good in the hand. The first time I raised the Main, though, it was obvious the eye and carabiner arrangement, thrown together so quickly, was sub-optimal. Their combined length made the sail stop several inches short of fully raised. This left the sail hanging too long down at the deck – there was not enough sail track on the mast to pull the luff nice and tight. It worked, but not right.
Fixing it creates an opportunity to try something new – a Soft Shackle.