I stripped the sails, main and mizzen, off their booms this afternoon. It was only then that I realized that I had probably caught the wind for the last time with these sails, the ones that carried Spartina across the water on her launch day over six years ago.
I do not want to be melancholy about this but those sails - now worn, stretched and a bit dirty - have carried Spartina many miles over the years, through calm and storm, under hot sun and through cold that chills to the bone. Mostly they have carried me on beautiful days where I've left the world behind and found place of my own out on the water. I've heard the water hissing under the bow as the wind pushed these sails across Pamlico Sound, the Chesapeake Bay and on the edge of the ocean. Spartina has ghosted along marshes, pounded through steep chop and heeled under a steady breeze, all under the power of these wings. I cannot describe the joy in my heart as I have looked up at the bleached white sails pulled taught in the wind.
I had intended to leave the sails on the spars through spring, not knowing exactly when the new set of sails will be ready. Maybe there would be some early season sails for this first set. But Stuart of Dabbler Sails and I have had a running email conversation about the new sails -modifications, options, etc. When I said said on this blog that Stuart pays attention to detail I was talking about the hand stitching and craftsmanship of his work. Now I'm realizing that his attention to detail is much broader than just the craftsmanship - he looks at the boat, the rigging, the sail design with a goal of sewing the sails to suit the boat. As such, we both agreed that it would be best if he had a look at the current sails. Off they came this afternoon. I'll ship them up to his loft in the next day or two.
I flew over Hatteras Island this morning, a beautiful day with clear skies and a north wind. We took off out of Manteo on Roanoke Island and headed south over Oregon Inlet, following the narrow ribbon of sand down to Cape Point. Below is Mirlo Beach, with the north wind once again pushing the ocean waters up over NC 12, the island's highway. It has been about six weeks since wind and waves from Hurricane Sandy washed away the dunes and destroyed a section of the road.
And below is Cape Point, where the cool waters of the Labrador current coming from the north meet the warm waters of the Gulf Stream out of the south. I have visited Cape Point before. It is a magical place to visit and a spectacular place to see from above.
Warm weather is forecast for the weekend. More epoxy work and maybe some painting on the schedule.