Summer is icumen in

Ever so surely, the good weather is coming. It's still pretty cool - those who have planted their tomatoes and basil are covering them nearly every night up here, and we had a fire in the woodstove last night. When it is still light out at 8:30, though, you know that the warmest part of spring should arrive soon.

I spent several hours during last week getting our sails ready for use. Both our mainsail and our primary headsail are getting a bit long in the tooth, and usually need some repairs before sailing season starts in earnest. This year the mainsail passed inspection, but the genoa needed long stretches of new edge facings on both of the edges that are exposed to wind and wear. The genoa is a huge sail, and very heavy, so sewing the facings on is arduous even though the sewing itself is very simple. I folded the sails after inspection and repairs - the only time they will be neatly folded all year. Assuming that we don't need to take them down during the summer, they'll be wadded into the bags in the fall when we take them down.

We spent much of our long weekend on Minuet. Saturday was supposed to be devoted to cleaning, but we arrived at the marina to find that there was no running water to be had anywhere on site. There were lots of other chores to do - hooking up electricity, waterworks, and the head, and stowing all the things that were in the wrong place. It was also dead calm, perfect for putting the sails up. As evening approached, we decided not to generate more things needing washing and headed to the mall to grab a light supper and do some shopping.

At the mall, we had a remarkable experience: we bought a suit for Robert the way that people used to buy suits. A salesman who knew every suit on the rack and how a suit is supposed to fit a man helped us find one that Robert really likes. He is a man who obviously loves his job. Besides helping customers and keeping the stock well organized, he chooses shirts and ties to go with the suits on display. You have never seen a person select ties to match a suit as quickly as he could.

It turns out that he owned a funeral home for decades, and has dressed many a man. That is an interesting way to learn to become a suit salesman, and it was excellent training. When we checked out, we raved about the service he gave us, and the front desk people told us that they often receive compliments about Bill.

We woke on the boat the next morning to find that there was water. We spent the morning cleaning. I tackled the inside while Robert washed the cockpit and topdecks. After lunch, we started up the motor, and headed out for our first sail of the year. Not a technically perfect sail, but good enough. We found time to play with our newest piece of equipment, a Garmin handheld GPS. By the end of the trip, we were starting to see how the GPS could improve our sailing. As you travel, the GPS shows a track of where you have been; the dashes marking your track are called bread crumbs, a term I find to be very endearing. I'm imagining Hansel and Gretel throwing crumbs behind the boat to mark the path. Seeing a visual record of the boat's movement lets us know if we are tacking effectively, for one thing. Here is a record of our trip, including our very first waypoint, marking our dock space.

Robert loves flying flags on the boat. We found an Ontario flag last summer, and are currently flying three flags off the backstay. When the flags go up, we are announcing to the world that we are home. Minuet is indeed our second home.

One reason we love our marina and our slip so much is that we have a perfect view of the sunset. After dinner and cleanup, we were treated to a glorious vista.

Sailing season is off to a good start. Now we just have to keep pushing back on all of the events that can fill the weekends, and keep us from going down to Clayton. We've started scheduling sailing trips with family and friends. Having a full schedule is the best defense against the events that can deflect us from where we need to be.


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