As I set the sails in Elliott Bay under blue skies with a perfect 8-10 knot breeze at my back, it was hard not to feel overwhelmed with joy at the successful completion of our haul-out. In five days we (myself + the yard) had gotten a ton done, nothing had gone wrong, and the haul-out was completed on schedule. Amazing. And no leaks!
It felt really good to have the boat back in her natural element, and as we glided smoothly along I noted it felt faster than before – probably thanks to the freshly painted bottom and prop, but more testing is needed to say for sure.
If you’ve ever done boatyard work, you know that haul-outs are stressful times. In a short period of time we take the boat out of water, do some of the most critical projects of the year and also incur our biggest expenses of the year (in one week, a haul-out doubles our yearly maintenance cost). It’s easy to see why some people avoid / postpone them as long as possible. But we want to get the boat into prime cruising condition, and delaying bottom paint any longer wouldn’t have been good.
Several years ago, a couple friends and I were hiking Mt Rainier’s Wonderland Trail when we came upon an elderly gentleman stopped to admire the view. He was in his 70s or 80s, and spoke to us with a deep gravelly voice. As we stood on a lookout over a ravine cut into the glacier, deep reds and browns showing in the dirt, he said: “It’s always over too soon, isn’t it?“
At the time I didn’t really recognize the wisdom in that one sentence. I thought, it’s not going to be over that soon – I have a heavy pack on, three more days of 18 mile days, and my feet hurt.
Later I realized his comment had life wisdom beyond what I was capable of seeing at the time. He may have been talking about the hike, or maybe he was talking about life. The good stuff is always over before you wish. That’s why it’s so important to savor it and live in the moment.
That’s what we find when we go sailing. Yet, getting to the part we know we’ll love is sometimes more difficult than it seems.
Untying the Lines
In sailing lingo “untying the lines” means casting off dock and setting off to fulfill whatever your dream cruise is. There’s even a YouTube video blogger with a series called “Untie the Lines”.
Over time I’ve noticed many people have difficulty getting off the dock. Life gets in the way. Even though we live aboard our boat we sometimes still have difficulty getting off dock. And getting away for that “big” cruise – whether it be a month, a year, or even an multi-year sail around the world – is super difficult. There are a lot of competing interests keeping you tied in one place.