Haulout Season

I love October. The air is crisp, the tourists are gone, the water still warm enough for swimming (at least after a sweaty SUP session). But it does mark the end of our local sailing season. Last week I sailed Matsya to Wickford to come out of the water for the winter, on a day that felt too much like summer to be appropriate.

matsya sail 2017 haulout October

By October, ending the local season is a bittersweet mix of relief and regret. No more sleepless windy nights with two a.m. imaginings about mooring pennant chafe, and no more after-work sails that add so much quality to the daily routine.

Matsya is set up to be quick and easy to sail, minimizing the mental and physical transition from desk to underway. Grab snacks, a bottle of something, and oars, walk down to the end of the street. As soon as we climb into the dinghy, we breathe deeper and easier.

Ten minutes later we’re sailing off the mooring, making decisions about where to go based on set and drift and remaining daylight. I appreciate the simple risk-reward equation—and the certainty of time, tide, and sunset, none of which will be altered by wishing, wheedling, or reasoning.

Our preferred course around Dutch Island can be adjusted to fit the time available, and no matter how direct a course we plot we always feel like we’ve actually gone somewhere more than just “out and back.” After an hour or more, we get back to the mooring and furl the sails. We might even idle in the cockpit for a few minutes, enjoying twilight’s peace and quiet, before rowing ashore.

Winter regattas will keep me in touch with mainsheet and tiller, but I’ll miss those Matsya evenings. What I won’t miss is a good night’s sleep on the next windy night, knowing she’s safe in her shed and resting up for next season.