What to do with winter……

Clearly there are all sorts of things to do, especially withholiday business behind us. Shovel snow for one if you live in that part of theworld. Cut, split and stack wood for the wood stove or fireplace.  As they say, it warms twice. I can attest tothat from personal experience. Do those chores around the house that got putoff during the important (sailing) season – and explain at home why that’s so.The explaining could be a serious time sink depending on the views of others inthe household. I’m sure you can add to this short list with many imaginativetasks from your – and others’- to do lists. However, I’m inclined to be forwardlooking, and specifically to look past this current inconvenient weather. Afterall, it is only a few short weeks till Spring sailing weather.

Days are gettinglonger now, and the pace of that change will accelerate soon. We’ve turned thecorner on day length, and very soon will do the same with temperatures.

So, on a more positive note I’m planning and preparing forthe return of the important season. That means attending to all the boat tasks– repairs and improvements – that didn’t get done when being on the water wasmore compelling. It’s actually very satisfying to complete those jobs that havebeen nagging at you for several months. In fairly short order:

  • I managed torepair some seams on my dodger and bimini – and learned another skill in theprocess.

  • Re-assembled the bimini framework and began acquiring the parts neededto add supports in anticipation of installing a solar panel or two on top.

  • Built a more convenient companionway door (well almost done).

  • Washed dockingand other extra lines that laid in the locker most of the past season.

Yet tobe accomplished is adding chain and new rode to anchors, add a new anchor toinventory and finish construction of ‘glass’ side panels to enclose the cockpiton those inclement days.

To add challenge and excitement to this off-season process, Ihave been mapping out my season schedule, noting organized club event and othersailing opportunities on my Outlook calendar. Of greater interest is pouringover charts to plan more extended cruising to new places and imagining findingquiet anchorages yet to be visited. Already I have at least two 10-day trips onthe calendar, as well as preparations for heading south next Fall before allthis cold weather arrives again. That will make my next winter “to do list”quite different!

Between chores it is a delight to follow the travels of sailing friends who allow us to track their progress via SPOT trackers, and to livevicariously thru their frequent Blog posts with pictures and descriptions ofplaces, events and the occasional interruptions of groundings and other minormishaps. Here’s one example of a friend who left Portland, ME last October andis now in north Florida —  http://forums.sbo.sailboatowners.com/forumdisplay.php?f=142

There’s much to belearned from those who are going places you have not been but intend to go. So,productive time is spent absorbing that experience and weaving it into our owncruise planning.

Finally, and not the least of opportunities, are all theseminars and other activities offered by clubs and the sailing industry. And Ijust heard we will have a Spring boat show in Annapolis (April) to add to theearly season fun – and wreak havoc with our boat budgets.

So, get busy with thechores, and look forward to seeing you on the water soon!

BTW – Happy Friday the 13th!

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