Sailing into Autumn

We are still daysailing and over-nighting on Cay of Sea.  The days are cooler – we’re wearing jackets and sweatshirts out in the weather – and the nights are chilly.  When sunset arrives the temperature falls quickly, and it’s a relief to get the anchor down and start dinner.  The start of dinner is exciting on two levels: that means the stove is going to warm up the cabin, and we get to eat soon too – we often have a pretty late dinner when we cruise, so we’re hungry.  I usually light the big trawler lamp, which gives off a lot of cozy warmth.

The circular wick is about 2.5 inches across.  When it begins to draw, it produces more heat than you expect.  Much more than the common flat-wicked lamps.

The circular wick is about 2.5 inches across. When it begins to draw, it really throws out the heat.

Sleeping in the V-berth is cozy too.  Our bottom layer is the cushions, of course, and on top of that we lay a thick comforter.  Bottom sheet and top sheet are the next layer, then one or even two sleeping bags for the insulation on top.  We’re never cold like this.  Only on really cold evenings do I consider leaving the lamp burning on low.  I’m always very careful to cross-ventilate the cabin when I do so.  It doesn’t take much to feed the lamp and keep the air fresh for breathing.  The cabin warms quickly in the morning with coffee-making and turning up the lantern.

We enjoy such great sailing in the fall.  While we motored across the bay on Sunday afternoon due to light winds, our return yesterday couldn’t have been better.  Wind on the beam at 10-15 knots and brilliant sunshine equals two solid hours of brisk sailing with the boat hovering near hull-speed, but never over-powered.

This J110 came flying by us as we drew near Herring Bay.  Note the white caps and clear skies.

This J110 came flying by us as we drew near Herring Bay. Note the white caps and clear skies.

I’ll probably haul out in six weeks, but until then we hope to get in 3-4 more nights on board.  Then the projects begin again!


  1. Hey Rick, What kind of overnight temps are you getting in late October?? You know we are in MN so most all the marinas require you to be out on Oct 1st or be on the schedule for hauling. However there are 2 marinas on the Mississippi river that allow you to stay in all winter but they have to approve you anti freezing equipment. For a sailboat it just isn’t practical. These marinas mostly have large to very large houseboats in their slips. Owning an maintaining a sailboat is cheap compared to a big houseboat

    • We’re down into the 50s up til now. This weekend we dip into the lower 40s. This is the mid-Atlantic area, and our climate is still considered moderate. We do get snow Dec, Jan, Feb, and the creek can freeze over. It’s been many years, however, since the bay froze over. It has happened, but not in recent decades.

  2. Joe Hochadel said:

    Hi Rick! It’s always sad to feel the end of the sailing season approaching. Down in the Hampton Roads area, we always left our sailboat in the water year round. A lamp in the bilge would keep anything important from freezing. But we really didn’t sail much after mid November. Here in Ohio, we’ve done the landlubber equivalent of the winter haulout. I winterized the trailer! Temps have fallen below freezing a couple of nights this week.

    Just a little musical note here: I play bass clarinet with the Southwestern Ohio Symphonic Band. For our Christmas concert we are playing a tribute to one of our members that passed away earlier this year. He was a Navy man, so we are playing the Claude T. Smith arrangement of the Eternal Father, Strong To Save. It’s the first time I’ve played this arrangement. What a gorgeous setting! You can check out the band website: Cathy’s cousin founded the group forty some years ago. I guess I spent too much time in military bands, I need my concert band fix!

    Please tell Ruth we said, “Hi” and I hope you both have a great fall.

    • Nice to hear from you Joe. I think of you often – every time I play one of those songs we played together last May. I would leave my boat in the water this year, except that my slip is fairly shallow, and the tides can get pretty low. The boat dries out, then it’s possible for her to lean over onto the pier and get damaged. If it weren’t for that, I would let her float, and just winterize in place.

      No camping/RVing in the freezing weather, eh? Well, can’t say as I blame you. It’s no fun to be cold without the possibility of warming up and being comfortable overnight.

      I’m very familiar with the Claude T. Smith “Eternal Father” and you’re right – it’s one of the better pieces out there. The chorale at the end is a particularly wonderful moment. I believe the parts specify the band members to sing in four parts in that section. I know I’ve done it that way, but can’t remember if that was an adaptation or if it was scored like that.

      • Joe Hochadel said:

        Camping this time of year is great and we use the gas furnace or an electric space heater depending on the temperature and whether or not we have an AC connection. The issue is the water tanks. They are not weathered in and can freeze, so we usually blow out all the water lines at the end of October and close it up until early spring. We’ll plan our first outing for late March.

        Our conductor mentioned a section in which there is optional singing. For this occasion, however, we are simply playing the whole piece.

        Have a great day!

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