"There is nothing more pleasant than cruising on a boat with the whole family."
Letter from Empress Catherine the Great

Saturday, May 26, 2018

May 19-24 -- Mostly With Our Haligonian Friends

Last summer, Greg and Wanda were perfect hosts in Halifax and we invited them to visit with us in New York. Well, they are perfect guests too, bringing Nova Scotian gifts with them, which was entirely uncalled for, buying groceries and wines and treating us to dinner at a nice Italian Restaurant.

I provided taxi service from and back to Newark Airport, and some entertainment though they are very self sufficient. One day we drove them around, including ground zero, over the Brooklyn Bridge, under the Verrazano, to Coney island for Nathan's hot dogs (not great but very New York), pastries at a Russian bakery/deli in Brighton Beach and back through Brooklyn and via the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel. Another day we did the Circle Line's 2.5 hour circumnavigation of Manhattan.
A third full day was a sail on ILENE, which they most wanted to do. Before we could get underway, Greg, trying to be helpful, accidentally knocked his high quality shades off his head against the headsail sheets and into the water. Woe! But borrowing our wetsuit and flippers (though we could not find the mask) he dove while we remained on our mooring in seven feet of water at low tide. On his planned sixth and final attempt he emerged with a big smile holding the glasses.

Our departure was marked by fireworks:
The Police exploding a vast supply of confiscated stuff on Rodman's Neck. The verticality of the plume showed the only problem we had -- low wind -- though we did sail without engine for about two thirds of our four hours underway: through Hart Island Sound, to New Rochelle, across the Sound and back with a detour to Port Washington in Manhasset Bay. Greg and Wanda own a luxurious waterfront home on Bedford Basin at the north end of Halifax, though not as big as the mansions of the Gold Coast that we sailed past. On Broadway they saw "Come From Away" the musical celebrating Canadian hospitality and humanity toward the Americans stranded for a few days at Gander Newfoundland in the aftermath of 9-11. They walked a lot, including the Highline, and shopped -- Wanda is a shopper.

ILENE's deck was finally scrubbed, as well as her canvas and cockpit, though not as planned: on the first attempt, Mendy and I got a late start because Lene needed the car in the morning. And with traffic, a quick lunch, and the fact that I forgot to give Mendy the "magic erasers" that Bennett wanted him to use on Ohana's freeboard and had to make another trip back to the Morris YC from the Harlem. By the time I was about to get on the launch to get ILENE there was not enough time left before the 4 pm "Cinderella" deadline of last launch ride to accomplish the round trip launch ride, the round trip drive to the dock and back and the washing. So I took an afternoon of leisure and read in the library while Mendy worked on Ohana and came back the next time that the high was at a convenient time and did the job, including washing off some guano that birds had left on the boat.

On Saturday Night the 135th annual Going Into Commission dinner-dance was held. Much like all the others except that with the trip to Newark, we got there after the opening ceremony, but in time for most of the cocktail hour, in which excellent copious food was served. We had ordered the vegetarian option which was fine, for the sit down dinner. It is a great event for connecting with friends after a long winter apart.

New stuff on ILENE:
A shiny chromed 9 3/8" diameter Perko deckplate covering the emergency tiller opening (replacing the squishy old plastic one that leaked).

The new Lewmar block at the starboard end of the jib sheet track.
The instrument pad, open, with new VHF attached but electrical connections to the new electronics not yet made.

A new smallish fender to protect the boat from the launch.

There is still work to do, but the season is underway!

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