Spring Sailing: Overcoming Inertia


Tom Babbitt

I have been whining about not sailing for the past six or seven months to the great irritation of my loyal and patient bride (of 50 years) and now that the boat is finally in the water, I find that this weekend, a full three weeks after launch, we will FINALLY be going for a sail! The reasons are many but generally settle into the following categories:

 Gremlins: No matter how thorough your decommissioning was, no matter how meticulous your maintenance is, no matter how well you know your boat or over how many thousands of miles she has performed flawlessly, there’s always a new gremlin or two or three waiting for you. Stuff happens. 

This year it was a masthead light that was working in the fall, checked again in the spring, but in the final movement in the mast yard it was broken, and with no replacement readily available, a delicate repair was effected and will have to serve. 

Then post launch a deep dive into the lazarette locker revealed a coil of line that had been destroyed by a very hungry rodent with a refined taste for salty polyester but thankfully, not attracted to wiring….and oddly, very neat in his or her personal hygiene leaving no calling cards.

Finally, while the entire suite of electronic gizmos was working perfectly last fall, this spring the wind instrument was not cooperating. The only difference was new and very delicate electrical connections to replace the ones that were destroyed when the mast was unstepped. With a bit more care taken, a second set of new connectors was the solution and now all the gizmos are playing nicely together.

Overthinking: While one needs to be prudent while commissioning in trying to think about every detail, it is guaranteed that complete confidence can only be gained by going sailing, and the sooner the better in case there is just one more little surprise waiting in the wings. 

Weather: Since launch day (drizzle and 42 degrees) there has been only one nice day in the last two weeks. With a water temperature of 43 degrees, a bit of sunshine has enormous benefit.

Calendar: In winter, we seem to say yes to every opportunity to volunteer or socialize and the calendar is jam packed. In March, one needs to start saying “No” in order to leave gaps in the schedule so there are opportunities to get out on the water in the spring. In January, we block off half of July and all of August on our calendars and accept no appointments or obligations. It works like a charm!

Inertia: Probably the biggest impediment to getting out for that first sail is inertia. There are so many reasons to put off that first sail whether it’s minor gremlins, uncooperative gizmos, weather or calendar clashes, but it all contributes to inertia—the FORCE that resists motion or progress. 

The solution is to log on to the CCA Cruising Guide to Maine,, reacquaint yourself with your favorite harbor or anchorage, then cast off the lines and go for it. With the expectation that there may be a surprise or two (oops, we forgot the toothpaste!) you will quickly remember the wonderful feeling of approaching your favorite anchorage and finding that it’s yours and yours alone because you overcame inertia and went sailing in the spring.

50 knots in Camden on May 1

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