Monday, December 12, 2005


Sunday morning at the yacht club. I had my snow shovel in the car in case I needed to dig my boat out of the snow.

In the end I didn't need my shovel to dig my boat out, but I did need it to chip the frozen ice/snow mix off my boat cover. At home we had had about 8-10 inches of fluffy stuff. But 90 miles away at the yacht club they must have had freezing rain at the end of the storm. My Laser cover was so solid and heavy I couldn't lift it. A few minutes of scraping with the shovel solved the problem.

The guy at the next boat wasn't so lucky. His cover must have been porous. His cockpit was full of ice and he spent a few minutes scraping that out. Then he had another problem. His mast step was full of ice. He chipped away with a screwdriver without much effect for a few minutes until I suggested he try pouring hot water in the step. That eventually fixed it.

After rigging the boat I changed into my sailing gear. Thick thermal underwear. A pair of fleece pants. A polyester rugby shirt. A fleece top. Two pairs of socks. Drysuit. Hiking boots. Rubber gloves with glove liners. Ski hat. Life jacket. Ready.

It was sunny with around 8 knots of wind when we launched. Almost 40 boats for the first race. After an hour or so the sun went behind the clouds and the wind picked up to 15 knots. The sea was almost black. The sky was gray. The beaches were white. (Not sand.)

My feet were cold. My hands were cold. After 3 or 4 races the fleet began to dwindle as people bailed out. My face was cold where it was splashed by the waves. People started to get tired and made mistakes. There were more capsizes. By the last race there were only around 20 boats. My arms were aching. At last the RC announced, "The last race of the fall season will be a Harry Anderson course." I finished the race and sailed back to the beach.

I dragged my boat up the beach and through the snow back to the car. Always the hardest part of the day. Took off my gloves so I could untie the knots and derig the boat. Tipped the water out of the mast step. (Learn from others mistakes.) Put the boat away, took off my drysuit and went into the clubhouse. Pizza hadn't arrived yet. Decided to drive straight home.

Turned on the car heater (and the seat heater) full blast. Played a CD of island songs. Tried to think about warm weather. Slowly thawed.

After driving for an hour, I noticed that the tips of my fingers were still numb. Is that a bad thing? Is that why they call it frostbiting?


Anonymous said...

Hard core! Definitely Frostbite series!

Carol Anne said...

I actually did get frostbite when I was a teenager -- my mother and I were in a car accident in which we skidded on an icy road and went over a cliff, and we had to climb back up, finding tenuous snow-filled handholds, to the road to get help. I didn't have gloves, and I got frostbite.

Since then, the outer three fingers of my right hand have been especially sensitive to cold -- they turn clammy and yellow-white at the least provocation.

I think I prefer it where the term "frostbite" is merely metaphorical.

Anonymous said...

So that was the pic of your last frostbite, we had our last frostbite on sunday to- but it was very different from yours- no snow in sight, but a very bright sun.

Check out this link and scroll down a bit until you get to the picture, this was a pic taken at our club on sunday. I wonder who is the real one?

Claire (England)

p.s. There were more than three boats sailing!

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