All of you four season sailors probably take your boats for granted, and you don't even realize it. Up here, where the season runs from early April to late October (if we're lucky... I'm still waiting for someone to show me the downside of global warming),I want to log as many miles during the season as possible- every day counts, and the clock never stops ticking. The deadline is halloween- on 10/31, the marina is CLOSED- boats are out, gate is locked, seeya, sayonara-bye-bye. usually, most boats are hauled long before then. Only real die-hards or procrastinators stay hull-wet past October 15th, since that is when the ex-wife weather starts- cold, miserable and unkind to man. This year, we had an extraordinary October- warm, sunny days with decent wind. if October is described as the shoulder season, this year had shoulders like the Packers defense in a good year, and we took full advantage of it. here's the story of the last sail of the season.
This year saw a new addition to the loose membership of the Dock Six Sailing Club and Rum Drinking Society. Gavin and Sylvia joined our merry band of misfits when they decided that Dock Six was a good home for their new-to-them Siren 17. It turns out they make their own wine. Further turns out that SWMBO and I liked drinking it, so the Sirenistas became a welcome addition aboard Whiskeyjack, the defacto clubhouse of our little club.Their Siren was no bluewater boat, with a trolling motor for an auxiliary and rigging that was so suspect it could have been named Soze, but they sailed it like it was the FDNY- when others were coming in, they were heading out. They tore their jib when Sylvia fell through it trying to keep their unrestrained anchor from flying off the bow, and that sorta shortened their season. One of their goals was to cross the bay and see the lighthouse out on the end of Long Point. By the end of September it hadn't happened. The first weekend of October is the Thanksgiving weekend up here, and SWMBO and I celebrated on the boat in balmy weather, and the Sirenistas joined us for a drink, but didn't have time for a sail as they had turkey-related family obligations. Sylvia mentioned that they hadn't achieved one of their goals, to see the lighthouse, and I suggested we head over together before the end of the season. We promised to keep in touch but their schedules were kinda hectic over the next couple of weeks, and nobody could make any promises and that was where the nascent plan was left. We could all smell the end of the season and nobody knew what tomorrow would bring; Lake Erie sailors look at sailing in October like Mike Wallace looks at buying green bananas. We didn't see the Sirenistas for a couple of weeks. I checked their lines whenever I was on the dock, but they hadn't been around. I fired off an email to them on the Thursday before the last weekend of the season, suggesting that they join us on Sunday around 11-ish for a raid on the lighthouse, if the weather was favourable. No reply.
Sunday dawns beautiful. i climb into the cockpit to enjoy my morning coffee, and barely need a sweatshirt but definitely need sunglasses. It looks like a nice day to get some white flappy stuff raised, so we decide to leave as scheduled. No sign of Gavin and Sylvia. We cast off, and as we head out the fairway toward open water, my wife looks behind us and sees a figure running down the dock waving a bottle of wine. We return to the dock, snag the Sirenistas and head back out into the beautiful day.
The lighthouse is about 15 nm southeast of our marina, so figure a 6 hour round trip, best case. Sunset was right around 5 pm, so we were gonna be burning all the daylight we had...