No Man’s Land

There is a small desolate island south of Martha’s Vineyard called No Man’s Land–it is stony, flat topped, and devoid of trees. As a matter of fact this No Man’s Land is a U.S. government bombing site where visitors are forbidden–the kind of place that, navigationally, gives you the willies when you are in the vicinity, low and hard to see, cold and ominous.  Kind of like our changeable New England weather.

No Man's Land is a small island south of Martha's Vineyard. Prohibited to visitors, this government bombing range is a metaphor for when winter-like weather hangs on into spring

Mid March we had a beautiful sunny 70-degree weekend day that had me ready for spring prep.  I cleaned leaves and debris from around the boat and started organizing staging. I got out some sawhorses and started cleaning up my mast.  The next day it snowed and was below freezing, keeping me inside feeding the woodstove.  This is the time of year for boaters in northern climes that is a no man’s land—a tease.  We want to go to the forbidden place, but we know weather-wise it might blow up in our face.

No, I haven’t set my launch date — there is still too much to do.  I’m still working on winter projects, organizing and making things in my warm basement because it is still too cold to take the cover off and get to work.  I’m no polar explorer when it comes to boat work. You need reasonable temperatures to cure paint and epoxy, and to elevate the spirit.

Crocus, harbingers of spring and boat prep await the snow melt

But even though boating season is still in No Man’s Land, there are some positive steps toward getting back on the water: returning my mooring contract, checking out boats for sale on the internet, ordering boat supplies from all those marine catalogues with the turned-down pages.  Because even though snow still covers the ground, spring boat prep is coming—and I can’t wait.

By the way, the next time I want to be anywhere near No Man’s Land is in June, when we race around it on the annual long distance race from Newport.

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