There are a few who say spring is coming, then summer. The mariner is wary of these prognostications. Changing the time back to standard does not fool him. There is ice and snow all about and as he and his wife walked to the Post Office and back, the 2-knot wind had a sharp bite to it.
It was three years ago that summer came in February. It was 75 to 85 degrees for at least two weeks. Trees and bulbs began to bloom. The grass had to be mowed. Then March came. Coldest March in recent memory; killed many plants and all the buds and blooms. No apples, cherries or pears that year and no narcissus, either. Cost the mariner over a hundred dollars in ornamentals and landscape shrubs. Two years ago, the summer brought nine straight days of +100° weather – more plant kill-off. It is an old saying that owning a boat is like pouring money into a hole in the water. Try gardening in Iowa. Warning: you have to dig your own holes.
The mariner has always proclaimed that the Midwest, undisturbed for thousands of years, was a vast grassy plain because nothing but grass can tolerate the vagaries of the weather. In the southern plains, all the way to northern Texas, there wasn’t much of anything because of the frequent droughts. Visit Kansas, Nebraska, the Dakotas and Montana – and Iowa. Thomas Jefferson called the area The Great Western Desert alluding to the fact that nothing grew but grass.
Nevertheless, the mariner has hoisted his 17-foot Daysailer off the trailer for repair to a dozen spots. The poor thing has been in drydock for three years in an implement shed and is as dirty as a pig in _ _ _ _.
The first job is to put new lines on the centerboard so it can stay locked in the down position. Then it is a matter of giving the boat a bath in Ketone to remove streaks, stains and scum. Then its time to heal wounds and minor cracks with fiberglass work. Finally, the whole boat gets a 1000 grit sanding. Then the hull receives new paint trim and finally a complete waxing. That’s just the hull and deck. Working on masts, booms, deck hardware, new sails, and new sailing lines is another process.
This work will not be done by the spring equinox. There is hope, once the garden work diminishes, that the boat will be sail-ready for shakedown exercises at Lake Rathbun before it’s too late to sail in the Midwest.
If there’s time in October when the mariner visits the Annapolis Boat Show, the boat will be free to run on the Chesapeake Bay.
Screw the weather. Reef the mainsail and cast the mooring lines. He has a heated workshop.