I think there are few sports that are as dependent on good weather as sailing. Mind you, Bryce and I are fair weather sailors; we don’t relish braving all the elements in an open cockpit. No, we don’t like freezing in the wet, blustery days of winter or roasting like a barbequed hog during the sweltering days of July and August. Cold, wet spray in the face never makes me feel like a true sailor. I admit it; I’m a girl who likes warm, dry days with blue skies over head and a gentle breeze to blow us slowly down the river. Aah! That’s my idea of sailing!
However, the weather gods rarely give us such ideal sailing conditions. Usually we have to compromise. Is it really too wet or cold or sweltering to take the boat out of her slip? Now you need to know, our boat is sitting in a very protected slip in a very protected marina, what we sailors call a “hurricane hole”. She is connected to shore power and is running either heat or air conditioning most of the year. Really, she is our “condo in the water”. So whenever we are faced with the decision to disconnect from shore power and leave the slip, we are asking ourselves whether we want to leave this very nice environment. I should also add that wind is another very important factor beside temperature. Too little wind and a sailboat just wallows in the water; too much wind and conditions can become uncomfortable or downright dangerous. Only fools take their boats out in gales; lesser fools take their boats out in “small craft warnings”.
For the past month Bryce and I have wanted to take the boat out of the slip; afterall, sailing is supposed to be fun! Well, the past two weekends it has blown a gale. This coming Thursday (New Years Eve day) we were hoping to sail to Ocroacoke, but again it looks like the weather gods are going to give us a “small craft warning” and some heavy rain to boot. That would make the five and a half hour trip pretty uncomfortable and possibly dangerous.
Now we are looking at whether we can compromise and take the boat up the river to New Bern on Friday afternoon when the wind should be lighter, the rain will have stopped, and we have only a three hour journey. Mind you, we do have a very protected steering station in our pilothouse; there is heat from the generator even though we are un-plugged from shore p0wer during the journey, and the windshield has wipers to clear off the rain. We also have radar and a GPS if conditions get difficult to see (read “heavy rain”). So just maybe we can beat the weather gods this weekend! Helen (12/29/2009)