I spent the first night aboard Fiddlehead in almost a year. I’ve missed my little ship.
It’s a fair night with a good breeze., and I’m remembering the feeling of setting off for a night passage as the sun goes down. Mystery and beauty. Fear and awe. No gps or chart plotter. I can barely see the compass. Forecast 15-25 knots out of the west. That’s my favorite. I’ll throw a reef in the main, but I’ll leave the yankee up. Ripping though the water with a trail of phosphorescence in my wake.
I miss that feeling of the unknown. Searching for the light at Point Partridge, then Smith Island, hoping the moon will shine bright enough on the cliffs of Whatmough bay to snake my way into the quiet anchorage. Wondering what the wind will bring.
I’ve seen plenty of gales on the straits, and I’ve made plenty of mistakes. Hugging the coast of whidbey to catch a sea breaze while a squal was brewing offshore, dead reckoning dead, dead wrong into a kelp bed in the fog – would have landed on the beach but for good fortune. The wind is building.
I’m still in preparation at the moment. I bit off a little more than I had the time, skill and energy to chew up.
I should have launched a week ago, but I’m still working on glassing in bulkheads. Trying to fit trim to a six inch radius and wondering if a three inch would have been enough. I can do a three inch with a hole saw on the drill press, but I think that corner would bee too abrupt. I don’t want it to look like a corner – and I happen to have a two by six piece of scrap oak on hand.
Everyone charts their own course when it comes to the water. I recently met someone who commissioned a new boat the same year I bought fiddlehead. It’s taken him ten years of working and saving to finish and launch his rig and, though I’ve been able to sail all but one summer since 2006, I’m still mired in unfinished projects. It seems like every year I end up working ’round the clock to get it all ready to launch. There are easier ways to do it, I know, but to each his own. I guess I just like doing things the hard way.