Today is another work day on the boat.
Well, tomorrow, actually. My boat will get its regular haulout, bottom job, topsides buffing, cutlass bearing inspection, and other expensive attention from people who actually know what they're doing.
I'm down on O Dock late today to get the boat ready for the move over to the yard. As I leave the gate to run an errand, I look out across the bay towards the Golden Gate and see this:
And it occurs to me that I see this view so often that I've become a bit jaded by some of the remarkable sights that surround me constantly on San Francisco Bay - sights that some people travel half-way around the world to see.
In other parts of the country, boats have been hauled out for the winter for weeks now. Determined dinghy sailors are gritting their teeth and diving into frostbite sailing seasons.
Here, we're seeing some of the best sailing we'll have all year. The summer's boisterous winds have relented down to the 10-15 knot range. On a clear day like this, temperatures can be in the sixties. All across the bay, reluctant spouses are being coaxed out onto boats to see what sailing can be like. No foulies. No chattering teeth. No icy spray. Pleasant conversation in a quiet cockpit as the city front glides by.
Well, for some of us, maybe. So much of my time on O Dock is spent working on the boat, not sailing it, I sometimes forget why I'm doing this at all. Some have given up on bigger boats and returned to the simplicity of dinghies that you can sail pretty much whenever you want to.
But, I'll have my time on the water, too, just like these sailors on one of the sailing school's J24's this afternoon. Doing penance in the boat yard or in the engine compartment makes you appreciate the time on the water that much more.
And on the bigger boat you can sail out that gate and keep going, chasing that sun. It's looking like next summer, we'll sail to Monterey again. There's something very primal about sailing a boat out of sight of your home port and arriving at a completely different place. You can't really describe the sense of satisfaction to someone who's never done that, but anyone who has will understand.
For today, it's enough knowing that at least someone is out there enjoying the freedom you feel under sail.
My day will come.