Early this morning as I walked the dogs by Newport (RI) harbor, I was struck by how empty of boats it is. It’s the middle of June and by now the harbor should be full of mainly sailboats, and the docks along the waterfront should be jam-packed with large motor yachts and the 12-Meter fleet. So, where are they all? The word is that many local boats just haven’t been launched yet and boats coming in from the south and the Caribbean simply aren’t coming. The forces at work all around us—Covid-19, massive unemployment, economic recession, businesses either shuttered or just re-opening, social and racial strife—all of these are conspiring to create a country with three reefs tied in and a backwinded headsail. Like it or not, we’re hove to.
The coronavirus that caused all of the ill winds is still with us and in some regions cases appear to be increasing while in others it appears to be on the wane. It’s kind of like we are seeing a few small patches of blue through the clouds and feeling the wind abate a little. According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (University of Washington), rates of infections and deaths from the virus are down from the peak and trending positively. Maybe it’s time to shake out a reef and trim the headsail for sailing again? Maybe it’s time to get our boats in the water and ready for sailing? Maybe it is time to head off for a long-weekend cruise just to get away and back to the sailing life. I certainly hope so. I’d love to see Newport harbor full this summer.