Welcome aboard. Get comfortable. Let the time pass without watching the clock. Set sail, let the wind drive your course.

We delight in those we meet along the way

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Bravura Performance: The Season Finale

Today provided a sad excuse for taking the day off.

Sad on so many levels, as it spelled the end of the sailing season. In some respects, the 20 knot winds and pounding rain didn't leave me feeling as though I wanted to stick around the marina very long today.  So we motored Tres Joli to its winter resting place at 9:16 a.m. where it will go mast up into hibernation until April, and get covered and bundled up as soon as the weather breaks.

A number of missed opportunities this year, where we didn't get out there with some of you because of crazy schedules.  Next year certainly!  We will be back with a vengeance.

But we did welcome some newcomers to sailing and without any major nautical mishaps hope to see you back out on the water again next spring.  We welcomed guests from Denver Colorado, Montreal, Austin Texas, Amman Jordan, Columbus Ohio, Chicago Illinois, Lexington Kentucky, Charlevois Michigan and Boston Massachusetts.

We celebrated our god son Ernie's graduation from WMU on board, and practiced hat overboard maneuvers with our godson Colin, affectionately known as "The Cheese." We also managed cruises with nephews Tyler and Jacob, and nieces Meg, Alex and Emma.  All of them said in a word what I long to hear from everyone who ventures aboard-- more!

We did manage a few new milestones this year.  We survived our first gale with 70 knots of wind at the Detroit Yacht Club after securing a choice berth to view the fireworks on the Fourth of July, this after a majestic cruise up the Detroit River. We lost a pair of glasses, watched a massive amount of property damage unravel around us, but never lost our nerve or cookies.

We managed our first storm sail on a 5 hour return trip from West Sister Island in 30+ winds with 6' seas, after having the most amazing gourmet dinner in the harbor the night before, compliments of Chef Daniel.  Which reminds me of another milestone.  Tres Joli went vegetarian this year thanks to Dan.  Progress.  All I can say is thank god vodka is distilled from potatoes (still considered a vegetable).  

In a major milestone, this was also our first season without once touching bottom-- no groundings! A testament to the sailing gods, a new GPS map chip and attentive crew.  (Though it was never a culprit, the blackberry moratorium imposed by Will and Dan helped!)

We met new boaters on the water at DYC, Grosse Isle, Grosse Pointe, and Jefferson Beach.  Before you say it, much less think it, not all the sailors on Grosse Isle are over 80!  We even kept the boat on a sufficiently even keel to keep Kay smiling throughout the season, and even suggesting she was enjoying herself aboard.  She even indulged us on a robust sail one Sunday afternoon in 25 knots of wind without blushing.  Her indulgence of my nautical excesses (okay a range of excesses!) made it to Boat US Magazine, where it's now a matter of public record that our shared adventure of sailing is a testament to her good judgment but also a triumph of hope over our experience.

Some new developments during the season for those who follow us:

  • Mumm became the official champagne of Tres Joli
  • Porter Family Vineyards became the official Cabernet of Tres Joli
  • Capn Crunch became the official cereal of Tres Joli
  • Crunch n Munch became the official popcorn of Tres Joli (after Gil conducted numerous taste tests with its much vaunted rival, Fiddle Faddle)
  • And Titos became the official vodka of Tres Joli
As a tribute to the original Polish Mariner, Geno, we continue to proselytize, preaching the gospel of nautical ecumenism-- we are after all just a bunch of profligate Pollacks cruising aboard a snooty French vessel, drinking Mexican beer, Russian vodka, and Kentucky bourbon. I wonder what would have captured Geno's fancy this season?

The sight of a small terrier perched on the bow of Tres Joli as we take sail? The sight of Will immersed in a stack of books in the salon reading to his heart's content-- for leisure?  Dan's prowess maneuvering the boat in a storm so the windlass could be positioned to retrieve 200 feet of chain rode with 30 knots of wind peppering the bow?

That's not to say all the big moments of the past season happened aboard Tres Joli.  It's simply to say that the moments aboard Tres Joli spoke for themselves.  And a bravura nautical performance it turned out to be.

Let's pray for an early spring!