Monday, March 29, 2010

Easter Boating

'Ladybird' in hibernation

The religious aspect of Easter will largely go unheeded by the mass of people, but quite a few yachtsmen and dinghy sailors will take note of the date, because for them it is a time to be out on the water enjoying their boats, fresh air and the company of others. If they are into racing, they’ll look forward to competing; if they are into cruising, they may make the first cruise of the year, or if they are into just messing about, they will have a jolly around.

The date of Easter Sunday varies, depending upon it being the first Sunday after the 14th day of the lunar month that falls on or after 21st March, which is the nominal day of the vernal equinox. This year, Easter Sunday falls on the 4th April, which means that many of us will have a long bank holiday weekend extending from Friday, 2nd April to Monday, 5th April.

Yacht clubs will be buzzing with members busying themselves like bees organizing and taking part in races. Some will be painting and varnishing their prized possessions, and a goodly number will be looking forward to a slap-up meal provided by their Club to open the season. Socialites will hang around the bar drinking gin and tonics, while telling tales of heroic deeds, or of fearsome times when they escaped from the clutches of the awesome sea.

Unusually, for me, a boat of mine remains in hibernation before Easter. ‘Ladybird’ is still tucked up in her winter cocoon, because the weather has not been cooperative in stimulating activity on the part of her skipper. Well, that’s my excuse, but it has been jolly cold, and there have been bountiful showers, all very good for the flowers, but not for the varnish! With the launch date is set for the week commencing 18th April, whatever the weather, I have to make the effort.

The worst part of fitting out is lying on my back between the bilge keels trying to apply antifouling that wants to obey the universal rule of gravity. The last thing I want to happen is for blue toxic gunge to speckle my expensive spectacles. If I don’t wear them I cannot see clearly what I am doing, and if I protect them with goggles, they fuzz up with condensation. There’s only one answer, and that’s to take great care how the brush is handled and how the paint is applied, but I have to be double-jointed to get the brush into the pot, while on my back. As I am not double-jointed, I have to raise myself up every time I dip the brush into the pot, and sit-ups are not my forte. The process can be self-inflicted torture, all for the hope of hedonistic pleasure when the boat smiles at me and she skips over sparkling blue water.

Sometimes pain has to be endured for a better outcome. Just spare a thought this Easter for Jesus who endured unimaginable pain to give access to many to the riches and glories of His magnificent kingdom. (John 3:16)

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