If only I had finished the painting, had all the hardware back in place, raised the new sails and adjusted the halyards then I might be out sailing this coming friday. The forecast is for over 60 degrees, sunshine and light winds. But it's not going to happen. The nice day will find me sanding, varnishing and installing hardware.
I've always wanted to do a late February sail, getting out there on the water when the south wind carries in a few nice days that give hints of the coming spring. But it always March - typically mid-March - before Spartina's hull slides into the Elizabeth River. The top photo is from year's first sail on March 19 of 2010, a cloudless day with light winds and 70 degrees.
March 7 of 2009 found me out on the water in a tee-shirt for the first sail - I can remember that day like it was yesterday. Light winds, plenty of sunshine.
Last year we - Spartina, my youngest daughter and myself - got out on the river on March 18. There was a little more wind than forecast, but perfect for a nice sail down the river to the James and then back to pick up the daughter.
It was an overcast morning of sailing on March 13 of 2011 but with a warm breeze out of the south. By late morning the skies cleared and a stiff wind had me tucking a reef into the main.
Reading back through the blog posts from each of the first sails I find the recurring themes of trying out new gear - a compass, gps, or camera - and trying to remember how to rig the boat. I do know how to rig Spartina, but sometimes I forget the order for most efficiently reeving the lines, raising the masts and bending on the sails. So it takes a little bit more time at the ramp. But that's ok, that first day on the water makes it all worthwhile.
So I won't make a February launch this year. But I suspect that first sail can't be too far away.