I spend 8 months every year without contact with my boat. That will end in two weeks and I am thinking about the annual process that I go through to resume cruising. Cruising for me officially begins with the first night at anchor and the required first evening of champagne cocktails followed by a steak dinner. This usually happens about mid June.
I am now at home completing the gathering phase of preparations, buying those new boat toys and maintenance items. It also means looking around the house for all of those things I brought home and will need to take back: cook book, binoculars, Dremel and many more.
Next is loading the car. Will the new dinghy, generator, bag of books and everything else fit? My route north will remain a secret as you could out fit two 20 footers with what I am hauling.
When I arrive at Mackinaw City where I store with Shepler’s there are even more required rituals. Waking the boat from her long hibernation means climbing an old ladder and checking the batteries. Waxing the topside and bottom paint work will begin and last till I am tired. Dinner the first night will be at Darrows, white fish and an answer to the important question; is the pie as good as last year? During the two days before launch I will buy my half pound of caramels at Marshalls fudge. On launch day it’s doughnuts for myself and two dozen for the boat yard crew at the shop just off main street. The same lady has waited on me every year for the last 10 years and as I have my caramel pecan roll and coffee I expect the same regulars to be at the same table.
The boat will go in and I will tighten the rig, put up the dodger and motor to Duncan Bay. Again the ritual takes over with the first morning coffee in the club house and of course the renewal of old friendships. I will spend about three weeks cleaning, putting on the sails and installing the new gear. During that time I will intersect with others who are just arriving and following their routines. A well know club member famous for hot dogs and saying “hokey dokey” will come in. I have helped them dock every year and we will go to the Great Lakes Grill where he will have whitefish and the “chippers” potatoes.
The admiral flies up in mid June and we will provision and head for Harbor Island for that magic dinner and the start of cruising. I hope you have a great season and have your own set of must do’s as you get ready for it.