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Doldrums2

A post from a previous ‘quiet time’ (2013) ……

Doldrums(from Wikipedia) .. noted for calm periods when the winds disappear altogether, trapping sail-powered boats for periods of days or weeks. Colloquially, the “doldrums” are a state of inactivity, mild depression, listlessness or stagnation.  —- a common, well-understood term in the sailing community, and one that comes frequently to mind this time of year. As summer heat builds, it seems only two weather conditions prevail; hot, humid and still or hot, humid and thunderstorms. Neither condition is conducive to good sailing. So, what to do with this time that includes much of July and August?

Some options include: make sailing plans for when more favorable conditions return, make those postponed repairs/improvements, catch up on ‘home chores’ and/or seek air-conditioning. These options will clearly fill the time, and are productive ways to do so.

For myself, I’ve been working through a long list of home projects/repairs, finishing a set of companionway doors for the boat, and developing plans for extended sails come September/October and beyond. In addition, it provides a quiet time to reflect on a variety of personal and philosophical issues.

‘Forced’ quiet and alone time can remind us to slow down, think about priorities and the important things in life – and maybe even turn off the cell phone and computer? Among more personal and arguably more important matters, emerge thoughts about why we sail, and why sailing can become a way of life.

Lyrics in Kenny Chesney songs, “vessels of freedom, harbors of healing”, resonate with the feelings that often come when on the water, powered quietly by the wind with “nowhere to go, and nowhere to be”. Sailing offers a sense of total freedom to go wherever one chooses and the wind can take you. And maybe to capture just that feeling is the fundamental reason we sail.

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Well, a microscopic organism has put us here in the current doldrums, so what to do while camped out at home? In part, I’m thinking about the boat I’m not allowed to visit, much less sail. I wonder if it’s thinking about me 😊

The good news is that I got it off the hard and moved to it’s home slip before the latest government order to stay at home was issued. With a couple friends crewing, we had a nice motor sail (almost no wind) of about 5hrs to cover the 23nm distance up the Bay. She is safely tucked into her slip at the Maryland Yacht Club – fortunately with a slip neighbor who’s watching out for her.

We headed out of Back Creek at 11:01am, said good bye to Annapolis, turned north under the Bay Bridge and settle in at MYC at 3:51pm.

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The world will return to some sense of normal, though what that will look like remains to be seen. I trust there will be good times on the water. Meanwhile, I wish everyone good health – stay safe and enjoy the quiet time.

“‘Forced’ quiet and alone time can remind us to slow down, think about priorities and the important things in life.”

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