May 9, 2008


In the Midwest, we think of the sailing season as May through October, but really, what with pre-season prep and post-season wind-down, it's a March to November proposition.

SV Smitten (aka Smitty, Little Miss Smitty-Pants -- you'll soon tire of all the nicknames) winters on her cradle at Crowley's Yacht Yard on 95th Street, where we even enjoy her on that one balmy day we always get in January:

Picnicking, for example. That's my co-captain, Dave, enjoying a sandwich one sunny, relatively warm Saturday. I bet the next day we were buried under a foot of snow. Such is the nature of winter in Chicago. But for this moment, we were basking and noshing and dreaming of summer days on the water.

And then there's the prep. Painting, rigging, tuning the engine, testing the bilge pumps, connecting the batteries, the chores fill a huge excel spreadsheet. It's a task list of mostly little things without much sex appeal. But then there's the payoff task -- rigging the sails:

Ta-da! The pointy-headed man is happy.

This is the moment when you think you might actually find yourself on a delicious starboard tack sometime before your winter-addled mind descends into complete madness.

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