The Exciting Month of January


Tom Babbitt

Go ahead, take a peek at the calendar!

Today is January 21 and I am so pumped up about sailing, despite the fact that the boat is patiently sitting under shrink wrap and a fresh blanket of snow.

Just think of it, it’s been 95 days since the boat was hauled and it’s only 85 days until she is once again launched!  For someone such as me, who spends six months of the year sailing and six months of the year whining about NOT sailing, being over the hump, so to speak, is a very big deal.

The list of winter work starts forming in September and the known items needing attention are then joined by those items discovered upon haul out…..this year a cutlass bearing needing replacement and the leading edge of the keel needed repair after losing a fight with a mooring or anchor chain.  There are of course the truly important but seemingly mundane tasks that must be attended to.  Every filter and strainer checked, cleaned or replaced.  Dried and immaculate bilges are also important.  And an inspection of every nook and cranny explored for lurking gremlins waiting to ruin a summer’s cruise.  

Having already addressed the essential and the mundane tasks, with 85 days left to launch, there are only routine spring time tasks ahead. There’s nothing as gratifying as freshly touched up bottom paint, buffed and polished topsides and an inspected and reassembled mast.

January is also a great time to think about the priorities for the upcoming season.  Last year we had 50 nights aboard in cruising mode, and 10 days of racing fun.  This summer, we plan of 65 nights aboard and only 8 days of racing, slightly adjusting the cruise/race balance in recognition of my increasingly senior septuagenarian status.

So join me, look at the calendar, count the days to launch, make a plan and celebrate the onset of another glorious sailing season in Maine by curling up by the fire, tablet in hand perusing this Cruising Club of America Cruising Guide to Maine ( discovering new harbors and anchorages, additional resources and itineraries.  Very soon you’ll be able to turn those dreams into reality.

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