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Spring slowly arrives to the PNW—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond

by David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor on 27 Mar 2013
Caribbean Melges 32 sailors enjoying a taste of what Seattle sailors crave after a winter of wind and rain JOY - International Melges 32 Class Association © http://melges32.com/
Last week I lamented that spring seems to be doing its best to skip the Pacific Northwest this week. Fortunately, I’m happy to report that the new season seems to have found its bearings and has navigated back up to our wet, chilly spot on the map. Miracles abound: My morning run yesterday was relatively warm, windless (a first in Seattle!) and there was a weird yellow/orange ball suspended in the eastern sky, requiring a strange invention called 'sunglasses' (we’re still getting up to speed on this new technology up here, as we don’t exactly get much practice time). Some change is easier accept than others, but given how long the days are becoming, coupled with the promise of warm-weather sailing, this particular evolution shouldn’t be too difficult.


The great part is that this migration to spring isn’t just limited to my neighborhood (a distinct possibility, given Seattle’s funky geography). For example, I was over at Seattle’s South Lake Union, enjoying the fine view of the lovingly restored fleet at the Center for Wooden Boats the other day, also under a brilliant azure sky. While these classic old ladies always look good, there’s no question that a heaping serving of sunshine only makes classic lines look even sweeter.


The real test of spring’s tenacity will be Thursday’s delivery of my friend’s boat from Seattle up to Vancouver for the start of the annual Southern Straits race. While my shoulder surgeon still isn’t allowing me to pull strings in anger, there was no specific mention of the word 'delivery' during a recent office visit, so I’m operating under the theory that what doesn’t hurt the shoulder will only bolster the soul (an easy argument when boats and miles are involved). Provided that Mother Nature does her bit and delivers the forecasted (now there’s a word that should rhyme with 'assumption') 'partly sunny' (a loaded phrase!) conditions and moderate temps, I might actually start to believe that spring is here to stay.





But for anyone who knows the PNW, rest assured that 'June-uary' is still its usual miserable self, a serious step backwards to winter just as spring should be fading into summer. Not here. Instead, we get to enjoy the promise of April and May, followed by a return to the wet. Ultimately, however, our great weather starts in early July, but heaven forbid that a sailor should expect wind with their warm, sunny days.


Fortunately, sailmakers also stitch cruising sails, which come in pretty handy, given the stunning cruising grounds to the north of Seattle, and the light-airs summer buoy racing is still a lot more fun than watching the rain drizzle.


May the four winds blow you safely home,

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