Monday, October 18, 2010

Buttoning Up

We headed north again on Lake Champlain, but this time it would be the last trip aboard Sabine for 2010. We set out from Chipman Point, and of course the wind came from the north—because the wind always comes from the direction we’re heading into. Sabine’s not a fan of sailing to windward, and we rarely take the time or the effort to zig zag perpendicular to the wind so that she’ll sail happily.

My mother in law came along for the ride, and so did a 6 pack of Coronas from her fridge. We stopped at the super market in Fair Haven, VT on the way to Chipman Point and stocked up on plenty of junk food to sustain us until Sunday afternoon when we’d arrive at Shelburne Shipyard.

We spent the night in Converse Bay, just south of Garden Island, which is and always will be one of our favorite places to anchor. My in-laws keep a power boat at Chipman Point, but don’t anchor out to sleep as they prefer to stay at the dock. I’ve heard the stories of lousy sleeping nights at the dock when the wind has kicked up. But on Sunday morning she woke up and said she’d slept soundly—which rarely happens when she sleeps aboard their boat.

Being at anchor is vastly more peaceful than sleeping at the dock is. When the wind shifts while the boat is tied to the dock, the boat will rock on the waves in protest, and will bash into the dock if it wasn’t tied carefully. But while the boat sits on anchor it obeys the wind, rotates on anchor to face into the wind. It’s not tied to a fixed object and forced to stay facing one way. The wind on Champlain often changes 180 degrees over night. When we woke that Sunday morning in Converse Bay, we were facing the south even though we had faced the north when we’d set the anchor.

Sunday we pulled into Shelburne and tied to a temporary spot on the dock. We filled the diesel tank to the very brim to prevent condensation from forming on the inside wall of the tanks. The condensation would eventually dilute the fuel and render it ineffective. (And then we’ll also have one less thing to buy in the spring, as the tank will already be filled with fuel and ready to go.) We packed our bedding, our clothes, the food in the pantry, and anything else we wouldn’t need to keep aboard for the winter. I packed our stash of toiletries and tried to be happy about the fact that I wouldn’t have to buy any replacement face cream for awhile because I could just use up my stash from the boat over the winter.

We emptied the water tanks, and then disconnected a hose so that the water pump would suck directly from the gallons of bright pink antifreeze. Todd handed me mostly empty gallons, and I handed him full ones. I consolidated the remaining inch of antifreeze into 1 bottle and salvaged a half gallon that way. We pumped 12 gallons of antifreeze through the pump and the hot water heater. We watched the water flowing from the taps until it was tinged with pink. We turned off the pump, but left the taps open.

I started the diesel. My mother in law stood on the dock and watched the water sputter from the exhaust. She hollered when it too turned pink and I shut down the engine. Another 6 gallons had flowed through the diesel’s fresh water cooling system. We closed the hatches and hauled our things up the dock. I sighed heavily and looked back at Sabine as she waited at the dock for hibernation. I shuffled my feet on the gravel and dragged a dock cart overflowing with our things behind me. We made plans to go back to Shelburne at the very end of October to dress Sabine in her custom made canvas cover for the winter.

Thank you, Sabine, for a wonderful season. Thank you for taking us on our adventure up the Hudson and being so tolerant as we laid you down in the mud and scraped your keel on the rocks. You not only kept us safe, but you seemed to have fun right along with us.

We can’t wait to see where you’ll allow us to take you next year.

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Blogger Heidi said...

Damn it, winter! Until next summer, lovely Sabine...

October 19, 2010 at 6:48 AM  
Blogger BJ Knapp said...

Stupid winter. I feel like summer just started. Bah!

October 19, 2010 at 7:48 AM  

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