Seasons are tough. Some, like Vivaldi, say that there are four seasons. Indeed, many moderate-latitude locales experience four seasons, although there are apparently two Four Seasons in Philadelphia…both the Four Seasons Hotel and Four Seasons Total Landscaping. It seems as if some Fuzzy Bunny mixed them up and took the show up to, what is that? Tacony? Bravo, sir. For me, there are only really two seasons: sailing season and non-sailing season. While now may be the winter of our discontent in many ways, autumn is the spring of my discontent as it relates to the end of the summer of my sailing season.
Atlantic City International Airport recorded a high temperature of 77°F on Saturday, which is absurdly warm for this time of year. [Note that I did not say that it was “unseasonably warm,” out of respect for the unfortunate torturing of the previous “joke.”] We had to take advantage of the weather and jam in one more sail.
Of course, when you play it to the bone at this time of year, there is nowhere to park. All of the normals have already pulled their boats, which were taking up the majority of the boatyard.
Jenn has no problem parallel parking in the city, but was completely unwilling to park next to yachts propped up on sticks, so I crammed the car in between a Yanmar truck and a Mercedes under a Pearson’s bow. We prepped the boat and headed out toward the bay.
The wind was very light from the northwest. It was directly behind us as we motored out of Cedar Creek, but was so light that our forward progress under power almost completely negated it. I tried to raise the mainsail, partially just to see if I could in that situation. It wasn’t the smoothest hoist ever, but it got there. Once we passed the last channel markers, we deployed the jib, shut off the engine, and reveled in the abrupt silence.
There were more boats out than I expected. Even with the unusually fair weather, it’s still November. I suppose that anyone whose boat wasn’t on the hard had the same idea as us. It was still nothing like mid-summer traffic though, which was welcomed because the wind was squirrely, and we had plenty of room to follow it around wherever it took us. There were times when it dropped to nothing, and we would slowly drift to a halt. Then it would come back from a different direction and we’d have to change the sail trim to keep generally heading down the bay. The benign conditions made it comfortable for Jenn to take the helm for long stretches, and I was able to roam around the boat and take video snippets with my telephone.
Without the benefit of daylight savings time, we turned around and headed back having not made it much farther south than Marker BI. The wind held out and I easily passed an O’Day 31 along the way. We got back with plenty of light to remove the sails for the season.
I heard someone remark that they prefer their boat be pulled out of the water early, so that they can perform their winterization tasks in pleasant weather. This seems like the sourest of grapes to me, and I’d rather pump propylene glycol in mittens than give up a day of sailing in the 70s, but to each his own. I may be saying the same thing next weekend if this weather holds out, because either way, this was the last sail of the season for Fortuitous. I’m never happy to admit that, but in observing the milestone this time around, I can at least take comfort in knowing that this stupid year is almost over.