…at sailing.

September 24

In the middle of the night, I can rip across New Jersey in about the time it takes to listen to OK Computer. The traffic lights seem to linger on yellow and wave me through like a customs agent at the end of a shift. The visual noise of suburbia fades asymptotically as I barrel east toward the ocean. It’s already noticeably more comfortable by the time “Exit Music (For a Film)” comes on.

We escape,
We escape.

And then the stars that are only visible in dark places become visible through the open sunroof.

In the intervening weeks or months since the last attempt at sailing, it has become cold. It seems abrupt, but it’s probably a sampling error. I turn on the heater and leave the windows open and continue pushing on through the pines.

I see no cars when I pull into the marina, and assume that there are no people. The boat has the slightly painful smell of a boat that has been closed up for too long, but it’s too cold to open it up. Instead I put the crib boards back in from the inside and start running amps through the space heater. I make up the bunk and get out my computer, thinking that I’ll write. I don’t. If it were this cold in February I’d be wearing short pants, but the summer has made me weak to it. I get in the bunk and pull the covers up and try to stay exactly in the one place that I have warmed up.

In the morning, I check my telephone. The landlubber forecast shows thunderstorms by the time we’d be out there, and the radar confirms the substantial line of storms approaching from the northwest. I text Jenn, which turns into a telephone call: she’s already en route, but we agree that it doesn’t make sense to continue. She’s going to stop for gas where they pump it for you and turn around. I’ll close up the boat again and go home.

I stop briefly to take a picture of an idiot crouching in a marsh.

Person crouching in marsh

September 30

The remnants of hurricane Ian were making their way up from the Carolinas. The storm had been downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone, but was still bringing rain and high winds through the Mid-Atlantic. I thought of a number that would make me drive to the shore to put extra dock lines on and checked the wind speed apps. I then drove to the shore.

When I arrived, I found that someone had already put an extra line on my boat.

Poor attempt at tying a dock line

When a proper cleat hitch just won’t suffice, wrap it around the cleat thirty times. I removed the offending line and ran another from the piling to the port bow cleat. I was reminded of the scene from True Detective when Rust mows Marty’s lawn.

I doubled up the stern line too. This storm was not a traditional nor’easter, but the wind was definitely coming from the nor’east, so I mostly concerned myself with the starboard lines.

Attempt at a photo of the mast and wind indicator at night

I thought it might be cold, but the storm brought warm, humid, tropical air with it. The rain started shortly after I had settled in and I buttoned up the cabin. I didn’t sleep that well with the boat heeling in the slip. By the early morning on Saturday it was gusting to 45kts, but nothing unusual happened.

The weekend was a total loss though. There was a second round of wind on Sunday, with the meter at Trixie’s registering gusts over 50kts, and it rained for four days straight. Or at least it seemed like it.


Not sailing is frustrating, but it’s not for lack of trying. We’ll keep making attempts, and hope to get some late-season sailing in before the boat has to come out for the winter.

"Prepare to fend off the bridge abutment."