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‘It gets easier, as we get older’…..

Or so the song goes – ‘…to say, not today’. It’s my new favorite Willie Nelson song. [  A good way to think about shifting priorities with age, and maybe why we’re seen as getting cranky by some! In any event, it seems to fit the aging sailing skippers that I know – and I’ll own up to it as well.

I do notice that the physical requirements of managing a cruising sailboat are becoming more apparent. Still manageable, but not as easy as in recent seasons.  My single-handing days are not yet over, but I do plan to open the boat to more frequent crew this coming season. Finding and selecting compatible crew is a task that demands attention and time.  I’ve taken it on over winter to get acquainted with interested folks figuring those that would also take the time now are likely serious about sailing opportunities. A slow process so far, but promising!

In parallel to the crew search is the process of preparing a ‘new-to-me’ Hunter 33.5. She’s an older boat, but in solid condition.

Recent engine service and winterizing by a professional tech has been a bit pricey (what boat related work isn’t) but well worth it. It provided an opportunity to learn a lot about the lay out and especially the plumbing.  At least I now know where all the thru hulls are located 😊. Some fitting modifications of the cockpit canvass surround is done. The below deck inventory and storage plan is well along. Managed to build a set of companionway doors to replace the annoying drop boards…

The serious above deck and hull cleaning and waxing is a Spring project, along with some minor gelcoat repairs.  Maybe a trade off with some crew help? Also need to get the new name (Mischief) and port-of-call (Annapolis, MD) affixed to the hull.

Meanwhile, at home I’m spending time developing cruising plans. I started looking at the Downeast circle, mapping out routes and working out equipment and boat modifications that would be needed. Then reality struck following a chat with a friend who just made that trip – 4,000nm and 4 months among other considerations took that off the table.  I’ll get to hear more details when he presents a seminar next month. A cruise up to the Maine coast is still alive on the planning table. If not, then extended cruises exploring the many anchorages around the Chesapeake will pretty well fill the season. Over the years, I’ve visited most all the popular spots and some less so – all worth going back to. Then there’s always a circumnavigation of the DelMarVa peninsula which I’ve done twice and provides a bit of off shore sailing.  Also, have two extra sails I haven’t flown, including a gennaker. Looking forward to experimenting.  Had my first spinnaker experience in the Fall races on another person’s boat – including a broach ☹

Just survived the first winter cold front with temps down to 0 degrees f and high winds. Boat managed with a small heater on board. Appreciated the weather updates from my friends who sailed south – not! Past the winter solstice so lengthening days and warmer weather nor too far away…..