Summer’s last gasp

Hello on this bright and shining last day of summer! I know, I know, it’s not technically the last day of summer, but it feels like it here.  Kids head back to school tomorrow, and September can’t be counted on for any warm weather, and the air show is screaming overhead for the last day of the CNE, and I’m about to head down to the boat for what will surely be one of our last sails, and all of this is a sure sign that summer is behind me, for the most part.

Yup, boat.  Joe has always dreamed of having a sailboat. He was a sailing instructor in his youth, and being a Newfoundlander, has extensive and fond ideas about boats. Me, I’m from Ontario, and my ideas about boats are vague and nervous, and largely informed by movies like “The Perfect Storm” and the occasional terrified viewing of “The Deadliest Catch.”  Canoes are more my style. I’m at home in them, and know how they work, and that’s the speed for me. This mismatch in our boating attitudes has never mattered. We didn’t have a sailboat, couldn’t afford a sailboat, and that wasn’t likely to change anytime soon, so when the topic of a boat came up I said things like “Wouldn’t that be nice” and waved a yarn wielding hand dismissively.  Well, destiny wasn’t with me, and earlier this year, Joe suddenly and magically got his wish.  A friend who had inherited a sailboat from another friend decided to part ways with the thing, and she called up Joe.  She’s gotten the boat for free, she said, so he should get the boat for free too.  The slip was paid up for a year, the boat was ours, if we wanted it, she said. There were only two catches. The first was that if we were ever done with the boat, we had to pass it on for free to someone else, to keep the good karma going, and second – the boat needed “some work.”

Joe’s eyes lit up, and he came to me asking (rather delightedly) if we could have a boat if it was a free boat?  Here, I had a flash of brilliance.  “There’s no such thing as a free boat.” I said, and I meant it.  The term being bandied about to describe the free boat was “derelict” and there wasn’t even a guarantee that the thing would float, and it looked to me (and to Joe) like there was going to be a lot of work, if not money involved in getting the thing into the water.  We had not a lot of time, and really not a lot of money, so the plan went onto the shelf, or so I thought.  Joe, and I shouldn’t have thought otherwise, didn’t let it go.  Ideas were swirling around in his head, and he was keen, and so a week later, he was back.  What if, he said, what if we shared the boat? It turned out his dad was keen, and Kate and Carlos were keen, and a boat shared three ways was more than reasonable – he presented me with a budget, and by wool, it was reasonable.

sailing 2014-09-01

That, my friends, was the last reasonable thing that has happened with the boat. I’ll tell you more about it tomorrow. Today, we sail.  (We think.)

handspun 2014-09-01

In the meantime, this pretty little skein of handspun became a pretty Fairy Snowcap, just about in the blink of an eye.

snowcap1 2014-09-01

Fast, fun pattern, and the perfect knit to say goodbye to summer.

snowcap2 2014-09-01

Someone will need it, soon enough.

85 thoughts on “Summer’s last gasp

  1. I agree a boat guy needs a gansey.
    I had friends who got a boat for free for a year; they just had to make her seaworthy and they could sail the Caribbean. They came to talk in “boat units.” 1 boat unit = $1,000. I’m sure you have come to the same realisation! Good luck with it all, including the gansey!

  2. The kids here have been in school for 3 weeks already! Summer is getting shorter and shorter. Have fun on the boat. You and Joe deserve it.
    Anna Marie

  3. Pingback: Summer’s last gasp | Yarn Buyer

  4. As Summer leaves you, Spring comes to us in New Zealand. So, thank you for passing it on. Everyone seems to have suddenly become a bit brighter and enthusiastic now Spring is officially here, and although it is still chilly, the birds are up early and there is no better time than early Spring mornings to plan some projects and turn out the yarn stash.

  5. The very day after my husband got his first sailboat (and I do mean literally the very next day), there was a full page spread in the newspaper about Great Lakes sailing, in which the following memorable quote appeared: “owning a sailboat is like taking a cold shower while ripping up hundred dollar bills”. Sad to say, it’s been pretty true, but he has had a lot of fun and it’s hard to put a price tag on that. Me not so much, I’m more of Stephanie’s philosophy on boating.

  6. I went out today and the leaves had turned and were falling. I sat in my car amid swirls of golden leaves, knitting a bedsock for my mum and watching the raindrops race each other down the windscreen. Welcome, Autumn!

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  8. Old saying: “A boat is a hole in the water into which you pour money.” But on the other hand, if you don’t go out in a boat, how will you ever see the sea monsters?

  9. Hubby says that a boat is a hole you throw money into. You may find this to be true, but still I’m sure that once you are out sailing, you will forget all that and just have a great time. By the way, in the first picture there is a dark round object which I can’t quite identify. Mind you, I know nothing about sailboats except that being on them makes my husband throw up, but could that round dark object be a skein of yarn that went along for the ride? Happy sailing!

    • The black round thing you can see in the first pic is the fender. We put it on the cockpit, laying on its side when we are sailing, to avoid extra drag 🙂

  10. I’m so sorry for you with regard to the boat. We had a lovely 25 ft Choy Lee sail boat for several years. A ton of work. I sewed a full boat cover and the decks still needed oiling every 2 months… The main problem was that what my husband thought was fun about sailing, I thought was terrifying. (Read, hanging on to the gun whales by your nails while the water streams by all too closely). The best day in my life was when we sold it. You might learn the term, “reef”! It was my chronic suggestion. lol

  11. I’d heard the HD of Harley Davidson also stood for Hundred Dollars. Even the smallest part seemed to cost a hundred dollars. Then someone informed me that BOAT stood for Bring On Another Thousand. That made my husband’s old motorcycle seem like a bargain.

  12. Canoeing is the only decent boating in my experience as well (I grew up in Idaho). Fortunately, I married a man who couldn’t care less about boating. However, he does have a fascination with convertibles. I suppose it could be worse – we really can’t afford it, so it’s currently a harmless fantasy. But I will take your boat story as a cautionary tale….

  13. My husband used to sail from Rochester, NY to the RCYC across Lake Ontario in the days before GPS and didn’t use Loran. We have windsurfers,kayaks, canoes,flying Dutchmen , Lasers, Omnis, and Optis, (notice all plural) and I have no idea what it is a LOT of upkeep. The two best days of your life are when you get your first boat and when you get rid of it.

  14. Yes, the summer of 2014 is over…I head back to school tomorrow also, hoping for cooler temperatures in the classroom, we don’t have air conditioning. I’ve been knitting for three new babies (2 boys and 1 girl) and a new grand-daughter on the way, teaching is seriously going to cut into my time to knit. Love the hat!

  15. How weird – my husband finally got his dream of owning a sailboat this year too! Alas, not for free. It has been an interesting summer – he broke a finger and a foot the third weekend out (2 separate incidents, while out with a friend). Sounds like your experience has been safer lol.

  16. Look on this as an opportunity for expanding your knitting repertoire. Ravelry probably has patterns for sails, sailor hats, sailor pants, and all the essential sailing paraphernalia, like belaying pins and bobstays (whatever those are).

  17. Yay for sailboats! I’ve been on and around boats ever since I was small, and I’ve always loved them. My family had an 18-foot Capri for the longest time, but we sold it last summer, to my sorrow. We do not carry on boatless though, because we’ve had a little Sunfish for the last ten or so years too! Perfect size for teenager me to learn to sail by myself. May yours give you a maximum of joy and a minimum of trouble.

  18. My dad got a “great deal” on a sailboat when I was a kid, and after it was finally seaworthy my mother christened it “Tanstaafl” – There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. I don’t think a truer name has been given to a boat. It made for a very fun, very exciting, and sometimes a very scary childhood.

  19. A friend of ours used to say “There are two great days to owning a boat; The day you buy it, and the day you sell it.”
    Here’s hoping you have many good days in between.
    That hat is adorable.

  20. Make him make the cabin snug and cozy first. Boats are great places to sit and knit or write. When they are being worked on. At the dock. That happens a lot.

  21. As the owner and editor of a boating lifestyle magazine, I’m guessing at least some of those who poke at boat ownership in the comments haven’t experienced the emotional value of being out on the water with family and friends. Most hobbies cost money, but try as I might, I’m never going to have 15 family members and friends spend 10 hours gathered around my WIP. Yet they gladly spent that time with me on the boat last Saturday!

  22. Way to go on the boat! We just bought one too, just a week ago. Ours wasn’t free, but it is old and needs work, so we have a connection! I’d love to know what kind it is! Ours is a 27 foot Ericson from 1972. Yep, that’s pretty old. Maybe you’ll give us periodic boat updates.

  23. Hello, Steph, from the opposite shore of Lake Ontario. If that’s you who sent the breeze earlier, I owe you much gratitude. I hope your sailing was marvelous!!

  24. I’m not a sailor but I live in a place that boasts the largest inland harbour in Western Canada (it’s on a a big prairie lake). I also managed one of the local marinas for a couple of seasons. I also discovered that boats have personalities, when I was weekend security for the boatyard. Walk around a darkened storage space full of hundreds of boats and you’ll see what I mean; it gave me the jim-jams. Also very spooky to walk underneath sailboats when they are high and dry, for some reason. Compared to some hobbies, boats are expensive, but they are also a very social hobby, leading to sailing parties and evening parties and onshore parties, wine and cheese at the yacht club, first-into-the-water events in spring, fall windup dinners, corn roasts and gosh-knows-what-all. Anything you are going to use is going to cost, including the family car and the family home, so the key is to enjoy it as much as you can. I bet you have a blast.

  25. I spent a lot of time knitting on a Nonsuch which is a Canadian sailboat. Loved it! The good thing about boat bucks is that my husband never has said a word about my stash and he is very patient when I am shopping for yarn since I hung around a lot of boat shows and stores . Maybe you will learn to love the sailboat as much as I did. If not, it is always a good place to knit.

  26. It has been a week of winter hat knitting at my house too! The husband and baby both have nice new wool hats for the coming fall. Now if only I could get traction on one for me (I’ve frogged four already! Ugh.)

  27. Stephanie–give it a chance and you will love sailing! Sailing is my other passion besides knitting, and there are two unexpected points of contact. One: Sailing, like knitting, is an activity that was once essential to survival and commerce, now done for the fun and artisanship. Two: I recommend a book called The Encyclopedia of Knots and Ropework. A book about knots will thrill the knitter in you–it’s all there, a whole new world of fibers and their uses, fabulous unthought-of new ways of doing magic with string. (Even some overlap–some knots are knit or crochet stitches.) Also, sailing is just plain wicked fun. It harnesses the power of the universe and you ride along for free! (at least, as far as using no fuels.) Can you tell I grew up sailing–and miss the boat I just put in storage after fussing over it all summer?

  28. A great way to get a sailboat! You could have achieved the same thing as sailboat ownership by standing fully clothed in the shower and tearing up $100 bills. But, of course, sailing is really what it’s all about. And having owned two sailboats in our past, there is nothing like the soft evening sail, the sails filled and the boat zipping right along. Three families owning the boat will mean that the endless little things that crop up (leaks in the lazarette, brightwork needing polished, sails dried out) will be shared by many. Well done, Joe! (and Stephanie for letting it happen, too)

  29. I have found that knitting works very well to distract myself from thinking too hard while sailing. I mean, I love sailing, but when it isn’t my turn to captain, I like to be paying less attention to the sitting captain’s decisions so I don’t second guess him, and knitting is soothing, and distracting, and elegant in the same way sailing is. to me.

  30. Everybody needs at least one hobby that others don’t understand. I’ve never been sailing but perhaps it’ll grow on you?

    Presbytera’s right though. This means it’s time to finish Joe’s gansey. 🙂

  31. What make (kind) of boat? How long is it? Sailed for many years out of Outer Harbour Marina and the sailing club on the Leslie St. Spit on a Contessa 26.

  32. Ahh my husband BOUGHT a sailboat years ago. I hope you enjoy yours. I always thought of it as a hole in the water to sink our money into. He enjoyed it though. Hope Joe enjoys his.

  33. “Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”
    ― Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

    • She says it’s “fast” and “fun,” not free. I think the $15 is for an ebook with seven patterns. Still costs too much, though, unless you also want the other patterns.

  34. I love the Fairy Snowcap, it’s such a darling pattern. Good luck with the sailing- my parents just bought a camper for $50 and it has no bathroom. (Meaning- the back end of the camper is nonexistent.) We’ve been calling it Cousin Eddie. As long as you have a good pair of sea legs I’d say you would do just fine! 🙂

  35. This has nothing to do with boats (I was reading some older posts of yours) but I was just wondering what you do with all the shawls you knit? You’ve made many over the years and I just wondered where you wear them. I spend most of my time in yoga pants and t-shits and a pretty lace shawl just seems too fancy for that. Plus, given my tendency to spend weeks at a time backpacking and sleeping on the ground, people might think I was putting on airs if I wore something that snazzy.

  36. Hahaha….we just got one this year too! I haven’t tried it yet, but I have it on good authority that knitting and sailing do mix well…..we shall sea, er um, I mean…we shall see.

  37. All you people talking about ‘imminent winter’, just knock it off. The furnace is NOT going on for at least two months (maybe two-and-a-half)!!

  38. Dear Stephanie,
    It’s your fault I got into knitting, and that I now covet exquisite yarn I can’t afford.

    It’s your fault I want to be a spinner, and recently spent bill-paying money on a spinning wheel that’s totally useless, because I didn’t have a clue what to look for (my not having a clue is NOT your fault — apparently, it’s genetic; please don’t tell my sister I said that).

    And now you have a bl**dy BOAT????

    I have to stop reading your blog.

  39. My Joe is also a former sailor. And also craving a boat. He bought one this summer with a small inheritance. We are having a wonderful time on Lake Michigan and it is a great place to knit and relax.

  40. I spent many happy seasons sailing on the Long Island Sound. I learned as an adult. My training, so to speak, was in the racing world. It was wild and wooly and I loved it. Tell us as much about the boat and sailing as you like. Perhaps Joe could write a post? I’d surely appreciate it!

  41. This is my first year as a sailor too! We bought an inexpensive 40 year old 28 footer, which is pretty solid for Lake Ontario sailing, which can get a little scary sometimes! is a great website for seeing what’s up with the wind in your area. I have found being a knitter has helped me with dealing with some of the crazy sailors knots. I hope you are enjoying sailing as much as I am – though when the boat starts heeling I start wondering what the heck I have gotten myself into!

  42. Oh my goodness, even in that little tease of a photo it looks like the boat is glorious. Have a fantastic time sailing!
    Ha! I agree with Presbytera, Joe needs that gansey now! Too funny.

  43. As a sailor, the big question is, what kind of sailboat is it?

    I grew up sailing on Lake Erie. I have many fond memories of summer vacations spent cruising to different cities on the lake. In fact, it wasn’t until I was older that I realized you could get to some of those same places by car! I think you’ll really come to enjoy sailing once you get use to it. Plus it’s such a great experience for Lou!

  44. oh dear….I hope the blog doesn’t have to go down again while genius Ken figures out a new system for reducing the spam.

    I’m not a sailor but it looks wonderful in photos – hope Joe (and you) enjoy it!

  45. When I was growing up, we had a place on Flathead Lake (largest lake west of the Great Lakes), and my dad had a motorboat. Every fall he would cover it carefully and every spring he hauled it to the shop to have the motor fixed before we could use it. I would just have soon stayed on land. He seemed to find it worthwhile, though, and especially enjoyed taking friends out in it.

  46. I used to have a one-sixth share of a sailboat, many years ago. I wasn’t knitting that much back then, so I don’t remember if sailing and knitting were compatible; I do know that we often just went down to sit on the boat and drink rum. The more people who can pitch in and help, the better! And most of the partners hardly ever took the boat out, so more time for us! Enjoy!

  47. We’ve owned sailboats for forty years. I don’t like to sail but it’s a great place to sit and drink wine (or beer). And my husband NEVER complains about the cost of my yarn purchases!

  48. What a great color! Also. Free sailboat? That is my husband’s dream of dreams. Meantime, he’s collecting kayaks. They are smaller holes to pour money into, but if you get enough of them, they definitely add up. Have a grand time sailing!

  49. Stephanie please tell us more about the sailing and the knitting and the yarn and where you stash it on long trips and and and…I am enthralled as my husband and I will also be setting sail in the not too distant future. I have a yarn stash that will not to left behind!
    More please.

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