2021: The Season in Review

Categories Supplemental Thoughts

As 2021 comes to a close, I feel compelled to do the traditional “season in review” log entry, although this has been another strange year in a string of strange years.

But first, a brief maintenance update: when going through the photos from when we put the cover on, I realized that the flag halyard was loose. This has been irritating me for a while, and I’ve had far too much time to imagine it whipping around and getting hopelessly tangled in everything. I finally had a chance to go down to the shore to address it.

Flag halyard wrapped around shrouds

I was happy to find it only marginally tangled. The issue was getting to it. One does not usually need to get to the mast when the cover is on. The cover goes all the way to the rail to help it shed rain and snow, so there’s no great place to walk on the outside. It’s in two halves that zip together in the middle, so I thought that it might be possible to crawl over the cabin top but under the cover, unzip it, and emerge from the middle like a molting cicada. I just wasn’t sure if I’d be able to re-zip it, given that it’s not meant to be unzipped while tied down.

Photo showing how hard it is to walk on the deck with the cover on

It worked. It was fairly awkward, and best done mid-week after the solstice so that it can be done without an audience, but it wasn’t that bad. The flag halyard is now properly secured, and I don’t need to worry about it flailing around and getting caught in my neighbor’s rigging or whatever.

Secured flag halyard

I was probably assisted by the fact that the tie-downs had gotten somewhat loose. Last winter, we were on stands and all of the tie-downs were rigged to tie to each other under the hull. This year we’re on a cradle and the cover is tied directly to that. But I already had the lines on and didn’t feel like changing them out, which resulted in some…exotic knots. And not the ones from The Ashley Book of Knots. I’m talking about the deep cuts: the Seventeen Half-Hitches, the rare “Unraveling Babushka” variant of the Granny Knot, the Double-Overhand Oh-Screw-It. I took the opportunity to retie these all with Truckers Hitches, and now it’s tighter than teak wood.

I drove through the woods on the way home. I find a high-speed run through the woods recuperative. Along the way, I passed a sign that I keep forgetting to take a photo of:

Out of Sight Alpacas

I have no idea why there’s a random alpaca farm deep in the Pine Barrens, whether the climate of southern New Jersey has anything in common with the Peruvian Andes, or if this farm even really exists, since (as the sign implies) there is nothing visible from the road. But I love this sign, and every time I see it, I am overwhelmed with an instinct to place a rival sign across the street:

Out of Mind Llamas

I love a rivalry in which I have no stakes, even if I have to invent it myself.

But on to the retrospective.

I really didn’t want to do the whole “season in review” thing because there isn’t that much to review, but I already started it since the last few log entries are completely bonkers and I have this nagging concern that if anyone were to stumble upon the boat log right now and start reading, they’d just be walking into a punchline with no setup. “So the priest turns to the rabbi and says, ‘That’s a lot of spaghetti!'” Ha ha; I don’t get it.

I guess the biggest change was that I moved. The boat is in the same place, but I’m a little further away. I technically moved last year, but 2021 was the first boating season with the slightly longer commute. It’s about 15 extra miles, and under ideal circumstances should only be around 15 more minutes, although the circumstances are frequently not ideal. It’s tough to even say if that’s normal, or if people were just all wound up from doing basically nothing in 2020 and were going crazy on the weekends this year, trying to live it up a bit. We’ll see. It’s probably mostly a dumb mental barrier for me, making it seem like a bigger investment to go all the way there and risk it being scrubbed for a random summer thunderstorm or something. We definitely sailed less, almost half as much as in 2020, but there are a lot of variables at work there, and we did have a higher percentage of full-weekend trips this year where we stayed overnight on the boat. I also seemed to get into a rhythm toward the end where I was going down late on Friday night, so maybe that’s the solution, even if we wind up daysailing.

Night shot of Fortuitous at anchor in Silver Bay

One of those weekends was when we went to Cattus Island in Silver Bay. We had the place to ourselves on Friday night, and making a drawbridge open for you is always fun. It was so good that not even the early morning jetski gang or returning on the day of Floatchella couldn’t ruin it.

“There were already a number of jetskis driving into and then out of the cove, as if performing a one-dimensional grid search for their own sense.”

We spent another night at anchor at Myers Hole and woke up in fog. Fog is a mess, and I don’t like sailing in it, but it was interesting to be anchored in it, and we had time to let it blow through before we had to go anywhere.

Barnegat Lighthouse from the forward hatch

In reading back through the log entries from this year, I kept saying that I wanted to go on an adventure. We tried to set aside some time to go on a larger trip, but between the weather and work schedules, it never materialized. The closest thing we got to an adventure was more in the “fiasco” sense of the word when I ran us aground. Oh well. It’s good to get some mileage out of that towing insurance every once in a while.

We also had a blissfully light season for unscheduled maintenance. The only thing that I really had to work on beyond the normal stuff was the switch for the bilge pump, which went pretty smoothly, as far as boat maintenance tasks go. I did technically give up on it at one point, but wound up stopping by the boat store on the way home, mostly because they had a hot dog cart operating in their parking lot, and they happened to have the part I needed.

“As always, I would like to thank hot dogs: you have been a consistent source of inspiration and nitrates in my life.”

One side effect of having a different drive to the shore this year was that the new route took me by a terrible old diner that I used to frequent. I started giving updates in each boat log entry on the status of the parking lot, which was usually inexplicably full. This extremely slow-moving setup is what led to one of the aforementioned bonkers posts, prompting a new category of boat log: the Halloween Spooktacular. I felt like that required a follow-up explanatory post, including an actual trip report on the diner, and that would have been fine, but then I immediately went off the rails again with some sort of clickbait/listicle parody regarding our boat winterization efforts. Just trying to keep it fresh.

There wasn’t really any racing this year, again. I don’t have much hope for racing at my club, but Sailor Steve has a new boat, so I’m looking forward to racing on the Delaware River in the spring, depending on the state of the world, etc.

In going through other items from the year, I came across this image that I made for a joke that never made the boat log, so here’s a rare outtake/non sequitur from the archives:

Jersey Girls Don't Pump Gas

I think that’s pretty much the full summary of the 2021 sailing season. These aren’t my favorite log entries to write, although it’s not because I lack a sense of rigorous self-assessment. I can be making coffee in the morning and out of nowhere, my brain will chime in with, “Hey, remember that time in 6th grade that you made a Sonny & Cher reference in gym class? That didn’t go over well at all.” Thanks brain, I remember. Can we maybe let this go now? But it keeps going. “I’m pretty sure that song was from like 1965. What a weird pull for a little kid in 1988.” Yeah, and if I would have known that I’d still be remembering it 33 years later, I wouldn’t have done it, but it’s over now, and we should probably move past it. “Yeah, but it’s super weird, right?” I’M SORRY, OKAY?

Anyway, this is the brief overview, with some maintenance log flavor. All log entries are always available in the Log Book if you want to go back. Looking forward to new and exciting sailing things in the double deuce, 2022.

"Prepare to fend off the bridge abutment."

4 thoughts on “2021: The Season in Review

  1. Hope we can race the “22” in ’22.. I have no idea what the year will bring, but we have to do that, if nothing else.

  2. Sorry bout the year bud. Llamas are almost as funny as monkeys . . . can’t go wrong. Always anchor when the tide is against you.
    Peace out.

    1. Hey, good to hear from you. It wasn’t a bad year, it just wasn’t so exhilarating that I thought it deserved much recap. But it’s tradition, etc. Hope things are good with you.

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