It is cool and grey today with a steady north wind. Tomorrow the temperature may not reach 40, the wind will cut to the bone. But yesterday....yesterday was perfect.
Sunrise melted the light frost and temperatures quickly climbed. At the ramp I took my time rigging, enjoying the simple knots and crisp sails as I set mizzen and main in place. A medium high tide made for an easy launch, then under power downriver raising the mizzen as we went. A chill, the only coolness of the day, came and went as a cloud passed overhead. Then clear skies.
The breeze was steady out of the southwest and, after visiting the barges and cruisers in Craford Bay, we headed down Town Point Reach to the coal piers. I could tell by the waterlines, one collier half loaded and the other almost empty. The coast guard base across the river seemed quiet. A few barges on the move, a couple of tugs. There was a siren from a passing state marine police boat, with a friendly wave from the officer on board. Southbound cruisers angled in our direction, compliments exchanged and delight in the weather shouted over the water.
It was sailing at its best, tacking in the breeze with nothing to do but enjoy the late fall day. I tried hard but failed to recall any better weather for sailing this year.
Late morning the gusts arrived, gust predicted only by SailFlow and none of my other weather sources. The gusts were warm dry winds out of the SW, pushing the temperatures over 70 degrees. We tucked a reef in the main and sailed for another couple of hours, heeling in the stiffer winds and righting once they moved on. Sea Biscuit, a Stone Horse I believe but I'll need confirmation my friend DoryMan who sails one, joined us on the water.
I do not know if I will get another sail in this year, I have some days free but the weather will make the final decision. If this was my last day on the water for the season, I will have no complaints.