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

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

January 1 - 22 --- Not Much Going On in the Cold

The first day of the new year was a brunch at the Huguenot YC. We went with Bennett and Harriet, who are also keeping their boat, Ohana, at that club this winter. The Huguenot has imposed a new requirement for "winter members" like us: $100 of chits that we have paid for, to be used for food at the club. So with this brunch costing $45 per person, it was an opportunity to get most of  our chits eaten up. Not so fast! The "special event" brunch, we learned after the fact, cannot be paid for with the chits. How can they be used? The restaurant is open for two hours on most Fridays and Sundays during the winter, but they serve only soup. It would take a lot of soup to eat up $100. The solution: take out from a specific approved local italian restaurant to be delivered to and eaten in the Club House during the restaurant's "open" hours. Complicated, and I'm not sure how the Huguenot benefits from imposing this requirement.

But I have invited, subject to their Commodore's approval, the Huguenots to join with us Harlemites in our "Eighth Annualish Winter Excursion" which this year will be to the American Merchant Marine Museum on the campus of the US Merchant Marine Academy on Kings Point, Great Neck -- Wednesday, February 20, less than a month away.

Only one work day during this period, for four hours, on small chores while ILENE's batteries got a drink of rejuvenating juice. The seven of them cost about a thousand bucks when obtained in Grenada in the fall of 2011 and have been giving good service since then, knock on wood. But the electrical space heater did not work: the fan whirred but the heating coils did not turn orange--no heat! I took it home and it worked fine there so I'll try again with more indoor boat chores next decent available day. The cockpit table and companionway trim, that were re-polyurethaned at home, have been reinstalled along with the door to the aft head, with larger screws.

 I looked up the Ritchie Compasses site and ordered a new light plastic protective cover to replace the existing one which was ratty and did not hold on well. The compass itself has worked flawlessly for 20 years. I had less success in getting them to tell me what paint to use to repaint the cylinder in which the compass sits, from which the white enamel paint has come off. This pic shows the work needed, after I temporarily removed the cup holder from the forward side of the binacle.
Ritchie said their paint formula is  "proprietary" and actually did not even tell me the metal from which the tube in question was made. They want me to detach the unit from the boat and mail it to them! Yeah, right! Not very good customer service.
And I took home, scraped and sanded off the old glue and reglued part of a strip of clouded plexiglass to repair the top half of the companionway hatch boards. There is always something to do.

And five non-work days (I call them "Other" days but could just as well call them "Play" days) that related to the sea. I immersed myself in Frankenstein, the book club's selection for January. I had never read it before nor seen any of the movies. The book greatly exceeded my low expectations. The sea link is that it begins and ends on a wooden ship in the 1790's engaged in a voyage of discovery, north from Russia, searching for the North Pole. That part of the novel frames the heart of the story -- man creates monster -- and the frame is the first thing left out when the story is staged or screenwritten. I very much enjoyed an excellent musical version of the novel with book music and lyrics by Eric B. Sirota, staged at the Saint Luke's Theater on West 46th St. But no sea story. Similarly, I enjoyed a major exhibition about the creation, existence and sequelae of the novel at the Morgan Library, on Madison Avenue at 36th St., but again, the nautical aspect was downplayed. And good food and discussion at the boog group's meeting.

The Harlem's annual "International Night" party (an organized pot luck with ethnic foods) was cancelled due to forecast snow and sleet, but not before my linzertorte was in the oven. So by now, half of it has been eaten, and the other half frozen for a future occasion.

I also visited the Salmagundi Club, an old club in a brownstone mansion on Fifth Avenue, about three blocks form our house. This is a club of and for artists. They present frequent free shows of art by members and others. I had no expectation of a watery connection, but I admired two different  black and white photos by different photographers in different parts of the room of two different New England lighthouses. The first is of the interior spiral staircase of the light at the NE corner of Nantucket which we sailed past on our way to Nova Scotia in 2017. The second is of the light at Port Clyde, Maine where we were last summer, and I have included my own photo, which is considerably less artsy.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

December 17 - 31 -- Closing Out 2018

Only two work days and one of them involved only ten minutes on City Island, half for nephew Mendy to carry the main sail from the car's trunk to the upstairs locker, and while there, the other half to buy larger brass wood screws to hold the lower hinge of the door of the after head in place. The other was at home, woking on the cockpit table so it will look good again next summer -- four hours. This picture was before the final coat.

And three "other" days: One was a lovely dinner at the home of Bennett and Harriet.
Another of  about ten hours was used writing and researching what I hope will be accepted as my next article in Points East Magazine: a stringing together of a hypothetical route, without excessive mileage on any day, linking our eleven favorite Maine stops, based on our five cruises there over the years -- from Roque Island, the furthest "down east" to Isles of Shoals, on leaving Maine waters for home.
The third such day was not supposed to relate to boats, but rather was a visit to the Metropolitan  Museum of Art, for its Delacroix exhibit. I had led a group of Harlemites throughout the museum to look at art involving boats a couple of winters ago but expected no maritime content on this visit. Wrong. First, amidst the huge throng, I ran into Howard and Barbara of the Harlem; such a welcome surprise. And then I saw this painting in the Delacroix show: Christ (reclining, with a bit of a golden halo, on the port side) and his entourage in a small out-of-control ketch on the tempestuous Sea of Galilee. I don't know the Christian Bible well enough. I knew he was a fisherman (and a carpenter), but the storm scene remains unfamiliar to me.
I've also been busy thinking about sailing next year on boats other than ILENE. For one thing Lene and I are in contact with potential boats for bare boat charter with Bennett and Harriet for 7 to 10 days in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in late April and checking out airlines that serve the airport there. This may be our first catamaran experience. It may not come off but planning is 1/3 of the fun.
Also I'm firming up a passage, crewing with Yves on his French boat, Rusee-de-Jersey, from Bermuda to Halifax in the first half of June. We met Yves in Quebec City last summer. The other member of the crew will likely be Gregg, who we met in Halifax and new York in 2017. This event is highly likely to come off and I'm eager to learn more about the boat.

But while thinking ahead to 2019, it has come time to sum up 2018. Previously I reported on the 82 Sailing Days, i.e., days of sailing and/or living aboard. Some of them also involved working on the boat, of course, but I count them as "S" days. In addition I enjoyed 57 Work Days, divided as follows: 33 before the launch, ten while afloat and 14 after hauling. And then there are the "Other Days" -- experiences with sailing friends, the Club, etc. -- 47 of them. So adding up all of the "S", "W" and "O" days, 2018  had 196 days related to sailing in some way. A good use of my time, thank you.