Chartering Solves Winter
Although I hate to dredge up the memories of the last winter in the Northeast U.S. where we live and publish BWS, I will. It was brutally cold. It snowed and snowed and snowed. And it never seemed to end. People went down their burrow holes like groundhogs and didn’t come out again until May. Nevermind February 2!
In June, the harbors are still not full and the boat yards still have many boats to launch. Spring never got going and now summer is upon us and we’re not ready for it. It’s time to go sailing but the hangover of the long winter is only just clearing.
So what is the cure to this winter spawned malaise? It has to be heading south —to the Caribbean, Mexico, the South Pacific—to the sun sometime between New Year’s Day and the Ides of March. There is something about leaving the ice and cold behind that feels good. But even better is the sensation of deplaning in Tortola or Tahiti and smelling the scent of flowers on the warm breeze that causes a complete change of attitude.
The first night on the charter boat is usually an early one since we are usually exhausted from the process of getting away for vacation and from the travel. The chirping of the tree frogs, the slight motion of the boat, the warmth all combine to produce a deep and nourishing sleep. And, then, in the morning, after the charter briefing, we’re away. We like to sail somewhere not too far away to anchor for lunch because a most important thing has to happen as soon as humanly possible…a swim in the sea.
An old yacht captain friend once commented to me that the best way to keep natural teak on deck looking clean and healthy is with salt water and sunlight. Rosie and I are like that, too. Tropical salt water seems to wash away the grit and grim of the work-a-day world. Sunlight makes your molecules rejoice and your whole body smile.
By mid-afternoon we will have found a good place to anchor or moor for the night. We’ll take a walk ashore to stretch our legs and then have an end-of-the-day swim before heading back ashore for dinner at the local beach-side restaurant. Sitting outside wearing nothing but shorts, a light shirt and flip flops means we are about as far away from the snow and ice that we could be. And that’s just fine.
Yes, the solution to the northern winters is to head south for at least a week—two are better—to someplace where trade winds blow, the sun shines and our chartered sailboat takes us from one pretty landfall to the next.