Sure, it’s probably one of the four horses mentioned in Revelation, but hey, like I always say, “Ride that apocalypse horse, baby!”
I’ve had a hard time writing this. Or at least starting it. The world is a flaming pile of garbage and I feel simultaneously dumb commenting on it and callous to ignore it. I will say that the story that has messed me up the most in all of this is this one, because this person is a friend of a friend, and that somehow made it seem a lot closer. I spent most of my rage donations on her charity of choice, although they’re now saying that they’re good and are suggesting alternatives.
It’s taken me a week to come to terms with myself on potentially writing something. While it is perhaps among the whitest versions of white privilege to retire to one’s yacht during a period of civil unrest, I made this boat log to record my sailing activities, so I’m going to write them down.
Sailing was not a foregone conclusion. As I left the house, I assumed that I was forgetting at least one key item that would be required to rig the boat for sailing. I also had to bend on sails and rig the sheets and other things, and based on recent events, I’ve felt like I’ve been stuck in some nightmare version of Zeno’s Paradox, where every problem actually has several sub-problems, and each of those has its own component problems, and each of those has yet more problems, and so on until there are infinite problems and therefore nothing can actually be solved.
As it turned out, everything inexplicably worked. The sails went on fine. I even brought all the battens and the Mother of All Screwdrivers, which is required to properly secure the battens since the velcro is on the inside of the pockets. I did have to run out to get flares, since mine were expired, and Jenn stayed and washed the cockpit, since we’d only washed and waxed the hull when Fortuitous was still on land. I sat and looked at the engine for a long time, as if I would osmotically understand its state of mind, but the only thing I could really think of to check was the oil, which was exactly as I’d left it (clean and full—I’d changed it as part of the winterization process in 2018.) She started right up and ran normally. We threw off the dock lines and motored out the creek. When we got to the end, we hoisted the sails.
The “hoisted the sails” part wasn’t exactly seamless, but it wasn’t due to mechanical problems. I just forget that putting someone new at the helm and saying “stay head to wind” is a little like sitting someone down for their first piano lesson and saying “play Chopin.” I was able to eventually hoist the main despite being 180° off course at times. The jib unfurled without issue, and we were suddenly hauling. The wind was from the west and a little gusty, and we were heeling pretty good in the puffs, but we weren’t drastically overpowered and I appreciated the visceral nature of it.
We sailed down to 39, a marker that I am intimately familiar with, and I spoke to the osprey who was perched upon it. I never pass up an opportunity to remind an osprey that its little songbird tweeting noise is completely ridiculous for a bird of prey.
We turned around shortly thereafter, partially because we would have had to tack to stay in deep water toward Good Luck Point and partially because there was a Pearson 31 going the other way that I wanted to pass. They struck their sails before I got the chance, but I would have had them.
We sailed a beam reach back toward the creek. Although the boat setup had gone surprisingly smoothly, we did get a later start and I didn’t want to push what had been a successful shakedown. We furled the jib and I started the engine.
While motoring up the creek, we were visited by a weird green bug. I thought it was some sort of bee at the time, but it looks more like a fly in the photo. Given the state of things, I would not have been surprised by a plague of locusts, but was not expecting a neon green fly. I’ve certainly never seen anything like it.
The final test was docking. As we entered the marina, the wind shot up, blowing right on our nose. Having not docked a boat in a couple years, I simply declared “This is going to be bad” as I goosed the throttle. I had to overcome the headwind, knowing that I’d need enough speed to make the turn into my slip and stick the landing without blowing into the pilings. I don’t know why I keep thinking that I’m going to forget how to do this stuff…it wasn’t bad. It was fine. I’m not sure if I have my 10,000 hours or not, but I definitely remember how to sail and operate a boat.
So Fortuitous sails again. Ride that apocalypse horse, baby. I wish everyone out there peace in these ludicrous times.