Weather holds are one challenge of life on a boat that Paula at least had never thought much about before living aboard. Oh sure, we’ve had tons of fantasies of perfect sailing passages and many nightmares about horrific gales. We didn’t realize that the decision to remain in port or at anchor in poor weather would be so complicated and fraught with computations and doubt. This is especially the case when there has been a good bit of recent unfavorable weather, and one is longing to be on the move and finally back to home port. Weather predictions are just that, predictions, and demonstrably fallible. In addition to forecasts of wind strength and likelihood of localized thunderstorms with higher gusts, the planning of any ICW legs must take into consideration the timing of the tides with attention to shallow or “trouble spots” as well as the availability of bail-out points if something goes wrong. The Captain must consider just how much risk is involved if C Ghost is caught in a “50% chance of” squall while she is traversing a narrow ICW section or going under a bridge. The uncertainty as to your own weather calculus solution is compounded by seeing that one vessel (there is always at least one), that despite an ominous forecast, gun-metal gray sky, spitting rain and threat of blow, exits the marina looking salty, with the crew wearing foul weather gear and determined expressions. Do they know something we don’t? Each boat and crew have a different agenda, destination, experience level, and acceptance of risk. It’s not a good idea, we have found, to try to compare our decisions to those of others.
In this decision-making, Tommy has the hardest job, as Paula’s skills at charting, meteorology, and tide prediction lag way behind his. She considers it her job to listen to Tommy’s analysis, ask questions, and acquiesce readily to the final plan.
There are benefits to weather hold days. We get to know the towns and/or anchorages we spend extra unplanned time in much better, sometimes with very sweet benefits. When we were held-over nine days in Norfolk during Hurricane Matthew 2016, we met strangers who are our friends still. In Titusville, we met a couple just starting their Looper journey, and have already written back and forth to them.
We have enjoyed our stay in Titusville, where everyone we have met is friendly, the marina is beautiful with great amenities, and we have walked the park and shore in-between raindrops. Today we explored some beautiful residential areas and saw some neat boat graphics. We saw many Memorial Day decorations and got a chance to reflect on the meaning of this holiday. The featured picture is of one of the winners of a patriotic boat-decorating contest held here for Memorial Day.
We had one more wonderful lunch at the diner which is clearly the culinary and social hot spot of this town. But we will be glad when we are able to be on our way.
Tonight’s dinner is sautéed pork with sauerkraut and zucchini.