It finally felt like the new year this morning as the warming sun burned the frost off the dock on Scuffletown Creek. I had left SPARTINA on the river for December, a month with more rain than usual and a couple of wind storms. I sailed a few times but not nearly as much as I wanted. I found myself leaving the boat in the water with the hope of a New Year's Day sail that, because of rain, was not meant to be.
The tide and wind were perfect this morning at 6:30 (the pre-dawn time and temperature - 36 degrees) not so much, to bring the boat home.
I drove to the ramp just off the southern branch of the Elizabeth River, leaving the jeep and trailer there as the Pilgrim picked me up on her way to her downtown office. An early morning walk took me right up to day break.
It felt good to be on the water, so, so good, even if just for a motor up the river with sails still covered. It was fresh and open and I enjoyed the clean, chilly air. It was also a good morning to test-drive my new Ice Breaker medium weight (#260, though I don't know what that number signifies) merino wool thermals. They worked very well.
Mist hung about the docks on the little creek as I readied to haul SPARTINA for some winter maintenance. There is some sanding, epoxy work and varnishing to do. Plus painting some of the interior cockpit and storage areas. With more and longer trips this year, plus leaving the boat on the Elizabeth River for daysails, she has been exposed to the elements more than ever. And it shows. I expect the maintenance to take about four weeks. And there will be some modifications too, including putting the new rudder stock and rudder in place, and adding a downhaul for the jib.
February is for some winter sails/test sails, most likely on the Pasquotank River in Elizabeth City. Then in March, well, we'll see. Maybe head south for some warmer weather.