Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Cruising Just Happens. Our youngest Cruiser was just 14 months...our oldest was just...old

It’s boat show season, which means that the weather is freezing cold up north and sunny and warm down south; or at least that is what it usually means. The winter of 2010 will be remembered by many as the coldest in recent memory as the Florida Keys were swamped with masses of arctic air that took our temperatures down into the 40’s for days on end. When Pat and I returned to the Keys after our Christmas visit to Toronto, we had packed shorts and T-shirts into our precious carry on space so that we could do the airport quick change upon arrival in Miami. Sadly we found that not only was Miami cooler than normal, we were quite comfortable wearing the same clothes and outer wear that we wore in Toronto.

The good news however is that cold weather causes our northern friends to start searching the internet for flights to places where the likelihood of shoveling is somewhat reduced. Perhaps it was the aligning of the required planets, or some other phenomenon of nature, but the month of February has seen a veritable horde of folks from home descending on Marathon. We like to think that they all came down to see us, but it was more likely the fact that just looking at a palm tree will make you feel a little warmer.

They came by land, sea and air, they came in all age groups and they came with very different ideas about what constitutes a good time. On a couple of occasions, Pat and I had to split up in order to accommodate everybody who came to visit. The funny thing about the visitors is that virtually every body paid a visit to the local West Marine store. Somehow they found WM, when other essentials like supermarkets and even liquor stores eluded them. I guess WM to a boater is like an elephant is to water.

PCYC cruises are legendary on Lake Ontario, as we tend to arrive in armada strength, with the logistical organization worthy of a UN Peacekeeping mission. For most of us cruising is as natural as the wind in our sails or the ice in our drinks. Therefore it should come as no surprise that if there is more than one PCYC boat within VHF hailing range of another, the old cruising reflex takes over and a cruise just happens. If we throw in a couple of retired VC’s who no longer need to maintain decorum and add a pinch or two of spirits, the cruise goes into hyper-drive.

The PCYC fleet in Marathon this year consisted of Tecumseh, Cakaro, Con el Viento and of course Threepenny Opera. Each boat rose to the occasion to host our friends from home. I think the record was a group of 12+ who gathered on Cakaro for dinner one evening. The funniest thing was meeting Meg and Ron on the dinghy dock the next day as they brought two large green garbage bags stuffed with the remains of the previous evening. As the saying goes, “A good time was had by all”, even if it means they slept until noon….

Here’s a new concoction for the Chart Room that is guaranteed to liven up a gloomy post boat show winter afternoon. Take 2 parts diesel, 1 part jet fuel and a sprinkle of gasoline, shake it well over a few thousand miles, garnish with northern gales 40 and serve with a dash of Blarney and you have the Warm-up Winter Cruising special. Maybe we’ll see you next year!

Have a great week, I know I will


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