Just about 3:30 AM on Monday morning I awoke to the sound of rain on the deck above my head in the aft cabin’s bunk where I was snug under the covers.  Great, I thought, it is raining and my day of sailing with Marina is shot.  I made a head call and back under the covers I switched on my Kindle, selected the Weather Channel app and was able to determine that it was a passing shower that would be gone later on in the morning.  I read for a while then went back to sleep.  This has become the norm for me each night; a couple or more head calls, read for an hour and get an hour and a half more sleep before the alarm goes off, either the electric one or the internal one.  Makes no difference, I’m up, no matter.  Out on deck it was wet, but no longer raining, so I walked up to the car with my shower stuff slung over my shoulder and drove over to the Marina office to clean up.  After the shower, shave and, well, you know, I drove over to the dinner, had bacon, eggs, and grits along with a glass of tea to get things rolling with a full tummy.  Back at the boat I got busy stowing all the stuff I’d been leaving out so that all would be shipshape once my daughter arrived.  I started the engine to warm it up, unplugged the shore power cable and took down all the canvas hatch covers.  We have a couple of leaks in two of the hatches so I cover them with canvas when we don’t have them open.  I put a couple of new batteries in the hand held GPS and checked to insure it was working correctly.  I also switched on the instrument lights, hooked up the auto pilot, and moved the binoculars up to the helm station.  All that was left to do was untie the mooring lines and motor out of the marina.  I settled down in the cockpit listening to the diesel engine softly rumble below decks and kept an eye out for my baby girl.  It wasn’t but ten or so minuets that I spotted her striding down the dock, smile on her lips and a wave for me which I returned.  Climbing aboard, she greeted me with a tight hug and commented that all seemed ready to go.  After she had stowed her stuff, we discussed how we would handle the mooring lines as there was a 10 knot breeze blowing us away from the dock.  Letting go the bow line first, and the forward spring line next, I cranked the helm hard to port to keep the stern in as Marina quickly cast off the stern line and then the last spring line that was holding us in place with the helm over and the engine idling forward.  Marian quickly stepped aboard and began gathering up the lines and stowing them in the cockpit.  We were out of the harbor in just a moment and headed across the river to pick up the channel which runs along the north side of New Bern.  As we came a beam of the red channel buoy I turned the boat to port and checked the depth sounder to confirm we were on the right course.  Following the buoys past the New Bern Marina, the fuel dock and the park I turned again to head under the highway bridges slowing the engine to give right of way to another sailboat to our starboard.  Following what I guessed was a 32 foot Pearson sloop under the bridges I instructed Marina to take the mizzen sail cover off and attach the mizzen halyard to the top of the sail.  With that done I told her to crank the sail up which she did handily.  Next I gave orders to let go the head sail while cranking on the port head sail sheet with the winch.  It became clear in an instant that we had a problem; the head sail was dragging in the water off the port bow.  The head sail halyard had come loose.  Putting the helm on auto pilot and the engine in neutral I headed forward to the main mast to figure out what needed to be done.  It took a moment to find the right halyard (there are four of them on the main mast) but once that was straightened out I took some turns around the winch on the port side of the main mast and cranked the sail up to where it belonged.  Marina quickly winched in the head sail sheet and we were sailing properly so I turned off the engine.  As the sails filled and the quite sounds of the water rushing along our hull replaced the rumble of the engine Marina and I grinned at each other with pure joy.  “We are sailing,” I exclaimed!  Marina was feeling the moment as well and celebrated by giving me another big hug.  We adjusted the sails a bit and checking the GPS charts to insure we stayed away from shoals we looked around and spotted the Person off to our port side about a hundred and fifty yards away well heeled over with white water rushing past her bow.  It was a pretty picture and the fellow who was at the helm seemed to be enjoying himself immensely.  A stiff gust of wind had us heeling as well so we eased the sheets a bit to keep the boat upright.  It is fun to race along with your rail in the water but at my age I don’t feel any need to do that anymore.  Likewise, Marina is a bit uncomfortable with radical tilt to the deck so we decided to take the gentleman’s course and sail Jib and Jigger with minimal heel to the hull.  Besides, there is less crashing of things below decks when keeping on a level keel.  Even with our more modest boat handling we were keeping up nicely with the sloop and once when we were about twenty five yards apart we spoke across the water concurring that it was a wonderful day for sailing, what with no other boat traffic to contend with.  Marina produced some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a few oranges which we washed down with bottled water.  Marina took the helm while I ate and relaxed beside her.  About 2:30 we came about to head back to the harbor.  We were on a close reach moving well and the boat was on auto helm as Marina curled up on the starboard cockpit seat with a cushion under her head.  The warm breeze and the gentle movement of the boat lulled her to sleep quickly.  I kept a weather eye out for wind markers on the water so I could ease the sails to keep things stable as my baby girl slept.  An hour passed before I woke her up to start getting things ready to dock.  First the sails had to be brought in, then radio the marina to ask for help to tie up, what with the breeze as fresh as it was, then the mooring lines and fenders had to be rigged to the port side.  With everything ready we eased up to our dock with Marina passing lines to Tom, the Dock Master.  With the lines set well, I turned off the engine and got busy hooking up shore power, securing the sail covers, and turning off the instruments.  Marina had to leave to pick up Jude from day care, so with most everything already stowed we hugged and said what a great day we had together.  With my daughter gone I took my time getting my gear together to depart as well.  A quick final check of the boat and I locked the companion way hatch, eye balled the deck one last time and headed up to the car to drive home.  It had been a productive and satisfying weekend for me and I was well with my world.

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