It has finally arrived…..the shortest day of the year, the first day of winter. I vividly recall the luscious, balmy days of summer in Henderson Harbor, NY and the southern border of Ontario, on the St Lawrence River in the Thousand Islands.
Right now, my sailboat is sitting on a cradle, under cover and having dreams of me at her helm. The dreams are reciprocal and constant.
Although most of us have a love affair with our boats, I tell myself it is good to take a break. I do this to justify the endurance of winter and not having use of the boat. I own a 35 foot, C&C 35 Mark 2 sailboat (“Hambone”) that is now 45 years old.
Even though it is a fiberglass vessel, she is always in need of something. This past summer was a tough one in particular, as there seems to have been an acceleration of projects that the vessel required. These included: failure of my engine driven “cold plate” refrigeration system, failure of the brown water waste holding tank, failure of the one-way output valve in the marine toilet and finally, the painted deck was looking rather ragged, since its last coating of paint after 15 years of cruising and racing with crew running around on deck.
In response to the “calling” of my boat for my attention, I took the reins and tackled the issues one by one. The marine holding tank was removed from the vessel and taken to an aluminum welder for repair. I removed the marine toilet from the boat and did a total rebuild on the dock with my sailing friends looking on while making “toilet comments."
A couple of friends joined me in the week-long project of repainting the deck of the boat with two-part epoxy. I never got around to the cold plate refrigeration system as I have a redundant 12 volt refrigeration system as well. These repairs required a considerable amount of time, disassembly and reassembly, along with extreme patience when sanding, taping and painting the deck. All of the efforts were well worthwhile as the boat deck looks fantastic and I ASSUME that the toilet and holding tank refurbishments will work as they should, in the spring of 2020. Hence, it is good to take a break!!
Now that we have reached the shortest day of the year, I know that the next three months will be a long, cold endurance test of my patience until I can get the cover off in the spring and start preparing the boat for the water and another beautiful summer in our little piece of the planet. There are two sayings amongst boaters that I will recite:
“The best two days of owning a boat is the day you buy it and the day you sell it.”
“There are two seasons, boating season and waiting for boating season.”
My wife Nancy and I have now owned “Hambone” for 34 years, and we are still glad we own her. I am waiting for boating season……….
Happy New Year to everyone. See you on Lake Ontario and in the Islands in a few months!
By Captain Art Bronstein “Hambone” C&C 35 Mark 2 (1975)
Art Bronstein is a vessel delivery captain as well as a captain/pilot for Mid-Lakes Navigation Cruise Line on Skaneateles Lake, in Central New York.