Milling Around

Tim BachmannFleet News, Hoover Sailing Club, Leadline

The mud beneath the footbridge from the Clubhouse is peppered with pieces of shale and fallen wood. That strange, thin oily stream with multi-colors is almost dry now. Squirrels have been busy collecting hickory nuts and scattering husks along the south bank of Windmill Cove.

As I zigzag through the riprap and onto the boat rafts, two mallards, huddled under an Opti, stir uneasily as they observe me from a distance. By now the water snakes are hibernating. The joined rafts collectively move and creak under my feet. Nothing more to frighten away.

The boat canvas cover is stiff from the cold morning. I unsnap and fold it backward toward the stern of my boat. My hand reaches for a bailing sponge even before I see how much rain has collected since my last sail.

Centerboard and rudder gleam in the early afternoon light. In the Spring I spent hours repairing the nicks and broken wood from last season’s sailing. I am pleased the smooth bright white finish has remained flawless all season.

Nate and I set the sails and push Blue Muse off the raft and grab the bowline. Impatiently, the sails flap loudly trying to escape with the wind. Like a battle cry, the breeze picks up and plays a few high pitch chords on the shrouds of the boats in dry dock. The water beats our fiberglass drum as it slaps the sides of our boat adding to the adrenaline of adventure ahead.

We adjust tensions and lines in the boat just in time for the first gust to hit our sails. Just past the T-dock, water streams past the bow. Oh yeah! It is cold as it drenches us with a invigorating welcome even before the first tack.

Just smiles on our faces now. The cold water soaks in beneath my lifejacket. But hey, its October sailing.