A noticeable frost this morning. Cold and clear, no wind. No desire to compete with rush hour traffic, we took out time hooking up the trailer. Down to the ramp a little after 9:00. I planned to take my time rigging, checking each detail, each knot, each fitting as I went. But somehow Spartina was rigged quickly as if the last sail had been last week, not three months ago.
Not even a hint of a breeze as we launched and motored down the eastern branch to the Elizabeth River. Perfect for the first time out. Raised the mizzen coming out from under the bridge, main and jib off the Waterside Marina. And a light breeze filled in.
A busy river, tugs and barges, a couple of loads of clean sand being hauled to Craford Bay to replace the contaminants cleaned up over the winter. Downriver I could see a container ship coming into the terminal.
Then more wind. Spartina heeled, her freshly painted hull slicing through the calm water.
The mainsheet, now run between a pair of fiddle blocks for 4:1 purchase, worked well, putting less stress on the main boom and also looking nice. A simple way to put a downhaul on the main was obvious, and I've sent off an email requesting information on a nice brass tube jamb cleat.
With even more wind, we headed back to the ramp under mizzen and jib, the tide carrying us along.
Only one other sailboat on the river, the yawl Precious Times which has been anchored there since last spring. For the warmer part of the year there was a man living aboard. I'm not sure he stayed there during our cold and long winter. I do expect to see him soon, possibly rowing out in his plywood dinghy.
A pleasant day on the river, a first sail of the year that did not feel like the first sail of the year.
In Washington DC over the weekend my youngest daughter pointed out at the National Museum of American History the namesake for the original Spartina's design. Drawn by Sam Devlin, he called it Nancy's China - the cost of building the boat being about the same as the cost of one setting of china for the Reagan White House.
Other highlights of the museum: Dorothy's red shoes, Kermit and Archie Bunker's chair. It was a nice visit.