In one of my sailing books I read about the ritual of caring for your boat once you’ve come in from a sail. Flaking the mainsail, snugging up the dock lines perfectly, securing the chafe gear on the anchor line. My boat doesn’t have shining varnish, sparkling gelcoat, or brand new nonskid on the deck, but she’s nearly always one of the prettiest boats in the harbor and I take pride in taking care of her as best I can. While many things were crossed off the list after spending a month in the boatyard, I now having a new one of things that need to be done as I continue to head south on this journey.
Some people are extroverts and some are introverts. Some recharge their inner battery by being around others and some by being alone. I was feeling a bit trapped in the north lake. After I made the decision to sail north on the day of gusting southerlies, I got caught up spending time with friends and working for the marina. The first day of summer passed and now everyday is getting shorter. I can’t help but think about the winter.
But I’m so glad I stayed. Last night was spent cozied up in the cockpit of Pierre and Mariev’s boat with our friend Rene. We walked along the road to the neighboring marina and campground. Pierre and I shared a cigarette while Mariev and Rene walked ahead of us, their conversation in French sounding melodic. Pierre said I should be on my boat by myself for a while. To not rush into bringing girls, or boys, or dogs aboard. I agree.
Today I finally took my friend John for a sail with his girlfriend, Tanya. We ghosted silently in a five knot breeze until it died all together so we drank beers, measured the height of the mast, and floated on the glassy lake. When we pulled into the dock I hugged them goodbye, not knowing really if I’ll ever see them again, but grateful that they adopted me as one of their own and acted as my north country family the past two months.
Rowing into shore to have a drink with my friends still in the yard, I noticed my dinghy had a bit of a leak in the bottom. Lucky for me to be in the boatyard my friend Alex gave me a bit of fiberglass and epoxy and I patched the bottom.
Now that I’ve had so many days around my mates I feel ready to take on the next week of solo sailing. Finally I will make for my furthest point south through the part of the lake with the biggest fetch, and thus biggest winds and waves. The forecast calls for increasing southerlies so I will leave early in the morning. My main is already reefed. I have sandwiches and snacks ready to go. I realized that so far aboard my little boat I’ve traveled 150 miles. That’s nearly the entire length of the lake. I should be able to make it off the lake before winter just fine.