The Boatyard’s Awake

I spent the past couple of days in a local boatyard preparing a Friendship sloop I am going to captain part-time this summer for the water.  There really is nothing more pleasant than being in a boatyard in the spring.  All my senses were heightened, whether it was the simple sound of rigging tapping on masts, the compound smells of varnish, mineral spirits, bottom paint, and low tide, or the visual sight of people smiling.

Tupelo Honey, a Friendship sloop is prepared for the water

Being a weekday in April, activity hasn’t reached its peak yet with the official start of the season, this far north, being Memorial Day.  However, there is a definite stirring–a few early birds launching on the public ramp and dealing with the inevitable maiden voyage problems, like the powerboater who let go before finding out his steering wasn’t working and had to be rescued by someone in a small skiff.

The yard crew was busy arranging ground tackle and launching work floats but seemed genuinely pleased to see life and content to chat amiably. A few more people showed up late in the afternoon, obviously getting out of work early to get a jump on preparing their boats. People were removing covers, plugging in battery chargers, and sharing pleasantries.

boatyard workers apply anti-fouling paint to floats prior to launch

There is a buzz to a boatyard in spring, an air of anticipation and good will among fellow boaters unlike anything else in my experience. If I could capture the enthusiasm and energy of a boatyard awakening I would be rich forever.


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