Monday, September 28, 2009

Heading South

After much thought, some would say too much thought, others would argue not enough, I have decided this is the year to head south for the winter. Yes, Capn Jack is going to be a snowbird. I think that all along that has been the goal, if not to cruise indefinitely, at least use the boat for her intended purpose, to sail and see new sights, enjoy a warm winter (so far an alien concept for me) and get a true sense of freedom again.

Having made this momentous decision, I am now in the position to wonder "am I really ready? Is the boat ready? Have I done enough to prepare?" The answer to the questions is, and in this order, no, yes, and most likely no again. Having never made a voyage of such length, I ask myself if I have the experience I need to go forth and adventure. I am almost sure I do not, but taking what knowledge I have gained from my sailing to date, and all the reading I have done thus far, I probably have more than enough knowledge to see me through, and the actual raw experience I need I am sure I will gain - because I have to.

The boat is ready, she has been ready, and every little thing I do to her just makes her more ready. I am finally able to raise both foresails on their appropriate stay, I have run the running rigging aft to the cockpit, there are now 3 kerosene lanterns aboard and I am putting away spares, stores and supplies. The engine will be serviced before I go, fresh oil and new filters, and of course extra parts for as many of the systems as I can afford.
I am making lists of things I need to finish and tasks still undone before I go - an extra row of reef points in the main, maybe a set of reefs in the working jib, possibly a storm trysail. Do I expect to run into any major storms along my passage - not really - I fully intend on being a rather fair weather sailor on the way south, and then once it is time to cut east to the Abacos I will be in much warmer waters where the winter storms and weather do not have the effects they have here.

But when I sit back and look at all that needs to be done, and all the things I'd like to buy before I leave, I realize one major thing - There are alot of people that have sailed alot farther and alot longer with less gear and knowledge and on less capable boats than I have, and they made it through just fine. So, with a bit of luck, and a dose of common sense, I figure I will do just fine, and Arden will carry me and Spook safely to new places and new adventures.

So somewhere between November 1 and December 1, 2009, Arden will leave Solomons one final time for the season, and then we will return 4 or 5 months later - rested, tanned, and relaxed for another season of work on the water.

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