Thursday, January 2, 2014

Welcome 2014

I woke up January 1, 2014 in the same clothes I had been wearing in 2013. My head was pounding, and I decided that meant our New Year's Eve celebration was a success.

I did my best to quietly tiptoe past the others sleeping in Gimme Shelter -- at least as quietly as one can be in a small boat with two dogs that are extremely excited about taking their first walk of 2014.

Our celebration hadn't been anything fancy. We just hung out on Pier 7 of Watergate Yachting Center with our neighbors on the Tina Marie and our new next-door neighbor with a Beneteau 39. We rang in the new year with two guitars, bongos, a tambourine and some magical vocal harmonies followed by a champagne toast.

Oh yeah, and the fireworks ...

Although they went off at 10 p.m. (I guess Tillman Fertitta celebrates on Greenland time?) we watched the Kemah Boardwalk fireworks exploding over Clear Lake Shores. It wasn't quite as magical as when we anchor out to watch them, but we did have an excellent view from our pier, and since we weren't bobbing around I could actually set up a tripod and catch some long exposures.

I was reflecting on 2013 as I walked the dogs around the marina. It was an exciting year. Our voyage to Offats Bayou aboard the Seahorse in March was the first trip we'd taken past Redfish Island and by the end of April we'd sold the Seahorse and bought Gimme Shelter. We also made our first trips to Double Bayou and Haborwalk. We re-plumbed toilets, we faced storms, we ran into submerged objects. It was exciting stuff.

Christmas brought Mary a new inflatable PFD with a built in harness, so that she can't pull a Natalie Woods on me. Santa also brought me a new electric screwdriver to replace the one I lost overboard, and a fuel level sender, so we'll actually know how much diesel we have in the tank. That will be the first project of 2014 -- quickly followed by the replacement of the  refrigerator lid, which seems to have rotted out and fallen off after it iced up and frozen shut back in November.

Of course, the boat repair list for 2014 will be just as long as it was in 2013 as we're going to need a bottom job this spring, and we're definitely installing air conditioning this year. At some point I also have to suck it up and climb the mast to fix the anchor light. 

Although 2013 was exciting, there were still a few resolutions that I never accomplished. My resolution for both 2012 and 2013 was to learn to use a spinnaker. I just never had enough crew and the right weather conditions to make it happen on the Seahorse, and Gimme Shelter doesn't have a spinnaker. However, we're kicking off 2014 in a big way by reporting for duty on Saturday as crew for the Antares for the first race of the Icicle Series. It will be our first time racing, so we hope to learn some new tips and tricks that will make sailing Gimme Shelter easier. Maybe we'll even get to fly a spinnaker.