Regular readers here will remember the annual winter sailing adventure I take with my friend Tim.  The first year we did it, his Beetle cat was a bit leaky, so we nicknamed the trip the Off-Season, Semi-Permeable, Micro Cruise.  (“OSSPMC”) We’ve followed the first trip with ones in 2005, 2007, 2008 and again this year.

Picture 3This year’s assignment was pretty easy.  We needed to relocate his (super-neato) catboat from his house in Bristol, RI to her winter spot in Warren, RI.

Google maps says that it’s only 2.6 miles between these two points.  Well, if you were walking.  (This, I am told, is what literary people call foreshadowing.)   But while on the topic of internet research, I should also share the marine forecast:

Saturday: NE wind 9 to 12 kt increasing to 13 to 16 kt in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 25 kt. A chance of snow, mainly after 4pm. Seas 1 ft or less.

Saturday Night: NE wind 18 to 22 kt, with gusts as high as 34 kt. Snow, mainly after 9pm. Seas 1 ft or less.

Marine forecasts generally do not include details about the air temperature (that’s for the regular people to worry about.)  But let’s just say that the forecast temperatures were such that Tim titled his emails about the trip with the words Sufficiently Cold.

So with all that as a the lead up, Tim and I stepped aboard the boat and discovered that it had accumulated some ice:

Seeking just a little more adversity, we agreed to two rules for the trip.  First, the word “cold” shall not be uttered (at the penalty of $1) nor shall any sailing jargon be tolerated.  So with Kathleen’s enormous “curtain” raised and the “curtain rods” set, we untied from the parking rope and set off with the wind at our backs.

And because it really was cold (I’m allowed to say that now) we kept warm by non-stop chatter, which revealed some profound notions:

  1. At about 900 square feet, Kathleen’s “curtain” is about the size of my entire condominium in Cambridge.
  2. Someone should invent the “quadamaran” for multihull sailor couples who sometimes have varying differences of opinion.
  3. If it weren’t for the “newton”, the lowly “fig” wouldn’t have ever gotten shelf space.  (Could there be a Canditto-newton?)
  4. Any joke whose punchline is “…a trail of candy wrappers leading to a parked  van” cannot be told except at sea.
  5. When you sail a beautiful catboat by people’s coastal houses in December, their inhabitants often come out to wave.  Really wave.  Like, stuck on a desert island signaling to aircraft kind of wave.  And waving back in similar fashion works miracles for blood circulation.
  6. Tim’s boat (or his proclivity for off-season adventuring) is well known:  We got a call from a friend who spotted us from  the Mt. Hope Bridge as we sailed under it.
  7. This year’s trip should be called:  Off-Season, Snow Predicted, Merry Christmas!

The weather cooperated well enough that Tim and I struggled to find true hardship worth recounting afterward.  In fact, it was kind of scenic.

A buoy.  With ice on it.

A buoy. With ice on it.

Getting in to the slip was a little bit of a challenge because a powerboat had taken our spot (oh, that and Kathleen does not have an engine of any kind).  But we made it in and got secured without incident.

Oh, and about that foreshadowing I promised:  When we got back to the dock I learned that Tim was unable to make arrangements for a pick up, so we got to enjoy each others’ comedy for another 40 minutes during the walk home.

Check this space again next year for OSSPMC 2010!

56 Responses to “OSSPMC 2009”

  1. geecee Says:

    I love it, an enduring tradition, where fellowship overcame “hardship”!

  2. Eric Says:

    This was a wonderful read, made all the better considering the mountain of snow I just shoveled. Should you find yourselves in need of some additional crew next year—assuming there is sufficient freeboard left with an additional 190 pounds plus gear—give me a call. A character-building cruise like that might be just the ticket to instill in me the vim to face down the forthcoming frosty season with just a hint of a smirk.

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