It has been a great summer. Truly one of the best we have had in the Thousand Islands. Day-after-day we were blessed with hot, sunny days and starry nights that made sitting at anchor a blissful, soul-feeding experience. In the middle of the summer, we even found that we stopped paying attention to ambient temperature in our daily weather watching check – it was always 30 degrees Celsius and sunny! A few late afternoon storms would arrive from time-to-time but they always seemed very fleeting, barely interrupting one of our afternoon swims off the stern of Wild Horses.
But now we are knee deep in getting Wild Horses ready to be hauled out of the water. The days are colder so we are often in jeans, hoodies and boat shoes. No more sandals and bare feet as we move about the boat! Some call it “decommissioning” while others say “getting ready for Haul Out”. Whatever you call it, this time of the year is a flurry of activities to put the boat to bed for the winter.
Our first step was getting the dinghy and her motor off the boat and stored securely. We were happy to get started but sad that this signaled the end of our days at anchor. With a dog as part of our crew, no dinghy for shore trips means we have to stay tied to the dock. To make ourselves feel a bit better about things, we took a final tour around the Bateau Channel (the waterway attached to Trident Yacht Club) before hoisting the dinghy out of the water.
The dinghy was stored in the clubhouse at our boat club while her motor was taken home, along with a few others things. The first of many trips to Trenton with a car packed full of boat stuff, ready for winter storage. Sigh.
In addition to our decommissioning work, we also took some time to re-mark our anchor chain. This is one of those tasks that you always remember you need to do when you are lowering the anchor but always forget to do when the anchor is nicely stored at the bow of the boat with its chain sitting hidden in the anchor locker! But, with a little extra time last week and some fairly great warm weather, we decided to finally get this job done.
The job? Re-fresh the spray paint that we had added to our anchor chain a few years ago. We have coloured paint at 5 metre intervals on our anchor chain so we have a quick way to see how much scope we have put out (the rule of thumb is a "3 : 1 ratio" for a day visit, "5 : 1 ratio" for overnight and "7 : 1 ratio" or more for stormy conditions). Putting out too little scope may mean your anchor doesn’t hold when the wind picks up – yikes! And putting out too much may have your boat swinging into another boat in your anchorage when the wind is becalmed – yikes again! The coloured markers on our anchor chain take us from “guessing” how much anchor chain is out so that we always sleep soundly when at anchor.
Next week, the sails will be removed from Wild Horses. A sure sign that the season is over. And then – one last boat ride along the lake in front of Kingston and onto the lovely town of Bath. We will be moving the boat to Loyalist Cove on Thanksgiving weekend so that it is ready and waiting to be hoisted out of the water and onto her steel cradle for the winter on October 13th. Is that the end? Nope! That is when most of the decommissioning work begins with waxing the hull, winterizing Wild Horses’ water lines, pumps, drains and doing the cleaning of cupboards, bilges and appliances to keep any critters away.
This is the thing about sailboats. The “fringe seasons” (spring and fall) are long and mean lots of boat work while “boating season” is short but incredibly fun and inspiring. You can definitely get through the fringe seasons by focusing on the joy of boating season. For us, we are lucky. We love it all!
Victoria is a hiker, dog-lover, blog writer and planner extraordinaire. Oh, yeah and she is kind of fond of living on a boat.