I've just completed one of the most harrowing ordeals any mariner ever faces.
Dodging icebergs in the Southern Ocean?
Rounding the Horn in a gale?
Trying to figure out if it's a better deal to order from West Marine's web site and pay for the shipping or to go into the store where the web-only discount doesn't apply but there's no shipping charge?
No. No. No.
I got my boat back from the yard in one piece. It didn't get bumped off the stands by a delivery truck. It didn't get dropped out of the travelift slings on its way to getting splashed. The topsides didn't get sprayed green by the next guy over. And the final bill was less than fifty per cent more than the original estimate. That's quite a few bullets to dodge in one week.
Of course, Mr. Neptune had to throw one last curveball at me. The splash was scheduled for just after lunch. But one of those Pacific squalls was coming through, and by mid-morning the wind was starting to scream. I just had to motor across the marina and make it back into the slip, but even that can get interesting in 40 knots. And the last storm that went through here had gusts that were higher.
I asked the yard to do the splash early and got under way with winds only around 20. And I made it back to the slip before the skies opened. Two more bullets dodged.
By the time I got things put away and closed the hatch above me, though, the rain was coming down in torrents. The wind was up around 25, and the O Dock Philharmonic was tuning up. Up and down the fairways, every unsecured halyard was clanging away like mad. Sailcovers and tarps thrummed through major and minor scales. Finger piers grinding against wooden pilings added a bass beat. And the flutes and piccolos of the rigging section were running through arpeggios in the fresh wind.
But I was enjoying one of those rare moments every boat owner savors. I was snug below in the storm. Any deck cleaning chores I had planned were cancelled. There was no place to go. The heater was heating. The coffee was going. Tunes on the stereo. Lunch in the fridge. And, should my spirits sag, there were spirits handy.
Let the Philharmonic play on.
I have my boat to keep me warm.