First sail of the year just set the bar high

Finally, finally, we made it out. Greg got home around 5:30, and by 6:15 we were on the water. It’s so easy to get this boat ready to go, we comment on it all the time. It’s something we really love about her, because evening summer sails are the bread and butter of our sailing lives. To be able to get to the marina and then be motoring away just fifteen minutes later, is a dream.


Putting the sails up was magic. I’ve spent hundreds of hours looking at pictures on blog posts of other sailors and their Flickas, and flipping through (“swiping” through – they’re PDFs) all the back issues of the Flicka newsletters. When I saw those sails go up, something inside me lit up with a giddy joy – my soul?  I felt a happiness that I can’t describe…all I could do was laugh. I kept looking around and laughing. Greg was laughing at me laughing.

I kept thinking, “She’s mine. This is my boat.”


We spent two hours tacking back and forth across the Sound. It was a beautiful night. Light wind, but enough to keep us moving briskly along. I could not get the stupid grin off my face, not that I was trying very hard.


But it wasn’t just me: Greg was grinning, too. He loves to sail. We began trying to sell the Hunter back in November of last year, so it’d been several months since we’d been sailing, and many months since we had a night like this. It was dreamy. And my dreamboat was dreamier for his happiness.


At one point he saw a seal, and pointed it out to me. I love these seals. They have so much personality. I tried to get a photo, but it was gone too fast.


The sun was taking its time setting. I know how that whole rotation-of-the-earth process works, I know the sun can’t be sitting there thinking, “You know, Hollie and Greg look like they’re having a really good time out there, I’ll just set a little slower,” and yet it felt like that’s what it did. We just kept going. It got colder, and more beautiful, and more windy, as the minutes ticked by. The horizon turned lavender, and then orange.


Finally Greg said, “We should make this our last pass.”

And then he laughed at me. “You’re heartbroken!” he said. “I can tell! You’re thinking, ‘Why can’t we just stay out until it’s cold and dark, why can’t we just stay out here forever?'”

“It’s TRUE!” I laughed back. “You read my mind!”

And then I realized something, and I said, “Babe, take my picture! I want to remember this! This is exactly what I used to dream about.”

I have a folder on my Google drive, of Flicka photos. I’d flip through them, and daydream about owning my own Flicka someday, but I would imagine one scene in particular: sitting in the cockpit, my back against the stern, my hand on the tiller, sailing along. I imagined this so clearly. And suddenly it hit me: I was doing this exact thing.


We turned back toward the marina, and got ready to go in. I was still bubbling with laughter, sheer delight at the whole thing, the whole scene. Whenever I’m on this boat, there is no place else in the world I’d rather be.

Docking her is so easy. Docking is my special talent, I have an unlikely confidence with it that translates to proficiency (funny how that works), but docking Elska is like parking a VW Bug in a space meant for an RV. It’s really not that hard. We plug the power back in, clean the outboard, put the sail cover back on, and a dozen other small tasks, and then she’s done. Ready to be put to bed. I never leave her without looking back over my shoulder and saying quietly to her, “I love you.” Oh yeah, I’m a big cheeseball. No apologies. Elska means “love”, after all.

Sunset was just dropping the mic as we left the marina.





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