Opening Day on Martha's Vineyard
14 May 2014
The photo above is of Katama Bay. SkipJack is the boat to the left.
May 14, 2014
Opening Day is an annual ritual where yacht clubs celebrate the beginning of the sailing season. In the Channel Islands Harbor, where we kept Cadenza for twenty years, it is celebrated the first week in April by our local yacht clubs. It is a beautiful, patriotic ceremony rich in tradition. Flags are raised, songs are sung, dignitaries are introduced, and then once the Fleet Captain has stated there is no ice in the harbor, the official yachting season begins - along with a grand party.
May 12th was Opening Day for SkipJack. Just one week before, she had been shrink-wrapped and sitting in a field by the Martha's Vineyard Airport. That is how she spent this cold, cold, winter, surrounded by dozens of other boats, braving the snow and the rain and the ice, just waiting for the day she could be let loose.
We were about to call the shipyard to see when we could pick SkipJack up when we were driving along the bay and I noticed two masts through the trees. Usually the leaves are so dense we would have to make the drive down the path to the landing in order to see our boat, but this spring winter is hanging on with a fierce tenacity and the trees have yet to bloom.
"Hey! It looks like there is a boat on our mooring!" I said indignantly, never suspecting it was SkipJack. But there she was, sitting next to our new neighbor in a virtually empty mooring field, waiting to be taken for her first sail.
It was two days ago, and unlike this frigid morning it was a warm spring day with a fifteen-knot breeze. The shipyard had delivered SkipJack in tip-top shape. She was spotless. The motor started right up. Last year we ordered a new sail and we were anxious to raise it and see how it performed.
What a joy! We were flying down the harbor with the wind and the current, sailing seven knots! Alone on the bay, with no one else around, except for the oyster farmers off in the distance. All our worries quickly melted away. Jay and I lost ten years in ten minutes. No words were needed, our smiles said it all. We were back on the water, sailing.