Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Winterization Blues - A Sailor's Depression

Solitary sailor upon the sea, as seen through
one of the lenses of my binoculars
This is my first winter as the owner of a sailboat. Warmer than average temperatures in mid-November and a mid-November sailing outing lulled me into postponing starting to winterize my 1983 C&C 24 until early December. Even though I will be keeping the boat in the water all winter, as the previous owner had done, there was still some work required before winter’s freezing temperatures set in.

My first winterization required two half-day workdays. On the first day, I cleaned the cabin, bilge, and storage compartments. I also added antifreeze to the fresh and salt water lines, spending most of my time winterizing the head. None of these tasks, however, made the boat un-sailable. Fortunately, I completed these tasks before the first hard freeze.

On my second day, I not only added a second bow line and spring line but also fogged the outboard, removed both sails, and removed most of the running rigging, rendering the boat un-sailable without an equal amount of pre-sail work.

I have never owned a vacation home in the mountains or at the beach, or anywhere else for that matter, but now I think I can empathize with how owners of vacation homes might feel after closing up their getaway for the season. Nearing the end of my second workday, I felt like I was saying goodbye to a good friend before leaving on a long trip, and we did not know when we would see each other again. No longer would I be able to drive the 20-30 minutes to the dock, and within another 15-20 minutes have the boat rigged and out on the water. Winter had not yet set in and I was already thinking about – dreaming about – sailing next spring, perhaps as soon as April, or even March.

My winterization blues intensified yesterday when, from the sixth floor window of a beachfront timeshare at Virginia Beach, I looked out over the ocean and saw a lone sailboat out on the water. I picked up my binoculars, lying nearby, and focused on this solitary sailor on the sea. As inches of snow and ice from a recent storm were still covering the beach and boardwalk, some sailor and crew were enjoying a post storm sail on a nearly glassy sea bathed in sunshine, and I wished I were out on the water with them.

No comments: