The spark plug was Friday evening. The honda 2.3 air-cooled outboard ran a little rough last weekend. It was clear to me it needed a new spark plug, the one in use at the time probably dating back to last summer. Why I changed the oil a few weeks ago and didn't bother with the spark plug I do not know. It took all of two minutes and the outboard was back in true form.
The warning came from a friend in the committee tent set up on the Portsmouth waterfront. Yesterday was the Cock Island Race, the biggest sailing event on the Elizabeth River (which is named after an area on the old Portsmouth waterfront that was home to gambling, cockfighting, thieves and whatever a sailor might be looking for after a long time at sea). With light winds my friend knew I would be sailing just a few hundred yards downriver from the starting line. "Some of the people don't sail very well! Fair warning!" I thanked him but the breeze was such that nobody was sailing too fast and as I weaved back and forth between the racers I was happy to see many friends and acquaintances crewing the boats. I was asked by a couple of crews if I was in the race, which I was not. Not too long after the series of starts, there must have been five or six classes setting off between 9 and 10 a.m., the wind failed and I saw much of the fleet barely moving, or not moving at all, down Town Point Reach. I don't expect any records were set, but I'm sure they had a fine party in the evening after a long day on the water.
The bugs came from my friend Shaggy, the NOLA crawfish king. Admission to the Bayou Boogaloo is expensive unless you arrive furtively by small boat, which I did. Tying up briefly behind all the food vendors Shaggy hooked me up with a pound of freshly boiled crawfish that made for a wonderful treat once back on the water. Trying to handle the lines and tiller while peeling crawfish was interesting. Yesterday's light winds maybe have been a good thing.