Weather Pending

Life at the boat has been pretty grand the last few weeks, despite this ridiculous weather. Last weekend, on Father’s Day, Aaron and Claire sailed the boat up to the club while I spent some quality time with my dad, and then Clarity had her first slumber party at the docks before the three of us sailed her back to 31st Street Harbor in the morning.

It was a great mix of quality time on the boat, at the club, and a little bit of time out on the water, though we’re hoping the latter increases if this rain and cold would ever leave for more than a few hours.

We’ve also been continuing to settle in to life juggling time at the boat and time back at the condo, including both of us working both places. In addition to his Talaske work, Aaron’s also been taking on more Clarity Marine Systems clients, and just did his first charter as a hired licensed captain this past week, which is extremely exciting. It took him a lot of studying, hard work and dedication to see that dream realized.

And, of course, throw into the scheduling dance that there are two homes to maintain and keep provisioned while managing a 3-year-old with no “off” switch (at least I haven’t found it yet), which means to-do lists never go away, they just multiply. Also, being at the boat is so exciting for Claire that the only time she has ever napped here aside from the first day of the season was during that short cruise last Sunday from the harbor to the club. Her Father’s Day gift to Aaron :).

As the 4th of July holiday rolls around next week, we can only hope that a new month brings more sunshine and less rain, more warm breezes and fewer days with temps in the 50s. And when those sunny, 80-degree days do make their rare appearances, we take full advantage.

Finally, A Family Sail!

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This weekend saw a lot of firsts for the Clarity family. First off, we cast lines on our first family sail for the season on Sunday evening! Sure, the mainsail still isn’t rigged, but despite crazy weather and crazy schedules, we were able to get this boat off the dock. I consider that a big win!

See more pics from our weekend here!

The first sail each year is an exciting one, for obvious reasons, and also because Claire’s experience changes so much in a year. She notices more, processes more, delights in more. In previous years, she’s been a busybody, not willing to sit for long while we’re underway and requiring a lot of maintenance (though generally happy). This Sunday was a preview to an amazing summer on the water. Claire was content sitting on the bow, watching the water slice by. She explored the boat with vigor, climbing the topsides like a jungle gym, all within the safety of the lifeline netting. And partway through the sail, she asked to go down below and happily read to herself in her cabin with the boat rocking as we motored back to the harbor.

We know they won’t always be this easy, but what a heartwarming introduction to the season!

This sail was also a big first for me because, somewhat proudly, yet also with a little bit of shame, I’ll admit that this was the first time I took the boat out of the slip myself (meaning I was at the helm while Aaron handled the lines), and the first time I docked it myself after we came in. I wish I had done this before, but to be honest, having control of a 37-foot vessel in such a confined space terrified me. It was time to bite the bullet, and now, it will get less and less daunting. And hey – I didn’t break anything!

Aaron also raced with Turning Point Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the National Offshore One-Design Regatta (affectionately referred to as the NOODs; insert obvious chuckles here). Claire, myself and my mom spent Saturday afternoon frolicking around the new Maggie Daley Park with seemingly everyone else in the world before meeting up with Aaron at the Chicago Yacht Club, which hosted the race. With Claire down for the night, I did some boat laundry while he settled in on the setee to watch the Hawks game. The poor guy was so exhausted that he passed out before the final buzzer.

Sunday morning saw an 8 a.m. call time for Aaron, but Claire and I tucked in for a lazy Sunday morning amidst some pretty impressive storms. I love how being down below during these always feels like you’re in the middle of a waterfall – though it’s loud, it’s surprisingly soothing. Once the clouds headed east, we hit the beach before picking up our wearied and worn sailor at the end of the three-day regatta. And as soon as we got back to Clarity, what did he want to do? Cast lines, of course! I swear, he’s part fish.

Weather Windows

Watermelon!If there’s one thing you can depend on, it’s the manic nature of Chicago weather.

After a lovely Memorial Day weekend moving aboard, the cold set in yet again, with highs in the 50s (and real-feel by the lake in the low 40s at night). We have heat on the boat, so it can be quite cozy at night, but even I have my limits :). Aaron also had quite a bit of work travel for Talaske the last few weeks, so all three of us were eager to get back to Clarity, our neglected mistress, this past Wednesday.

Thursday was a dream – partly sunny and high 70s. Aaron had meetings in the Loop, so Claire and I explored the new floating pool at our harbor, a short 10-minute walk from our slip (at toddler pace). Just add water and Claire is in heaven (I think she gets it from her dad), so the pool was pretty much her Disney World. She spent two hours – literally – splashing from one set of steps to the other. The umbrellas and cushioned lounge chairs on the deck beg for piña coladas and summer reads. And what does every toddler want after an enjoyably exhausting morning at the pool? To go again! – which we did in the late afternoon with Aaron.

Beginner BoardingBeach Babes

 

The temps dropped 40 degrees overnight, though, and the winds kicked up drastically, so alas, the hatches were secured, the heat was turned up, and snuggling ensued. Aaron also had Clarity Marine Systems clients to see in the harbors further north on Friday, so Claire and I spent a lovely hour or two at the Lincoln Park Conservatory. So many years I spent going to the zoo and the Green City Market – how did I miss this place?

Lincoln Park Conservatory Stroll

Claire On The Bridge

Saturday is forecasted to be slightly warmer, but still not (in my opinion) comfortable sailing weather, but Sunday, finally, the temperature should hit 80 again! With heavy thunderstorms, of course. Come on!!

The lack of sailing, while unfortunate, does open up some time for much-needed projects. Given that we are in an ongoing state of refit and restoration on Clarity, Aaron has a multitude going at any given time, and we’re working on quite a few together (more on those in another post). I have finished a few projects, though, that I’ll include here. The first was a cover for the base of our table. To open up the space in our salon, we often have the table out – but this leaves a hollow metal post on the floor that Claire just loves to throw things in. Important things. Like toys, or screws, or rings – creating a half-hour fishing expedition that Aaron has told me is not an enjoyable way to pass the time. So, over Memorial Day weekend, I took the measurements and sewed a cover while I was back in Oak Park. And it fit – thank goodness!

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TableStandCover

 

 

 

 

 

Moving Claire into the aft cabin also created a few new projects. For one, there’s only one small drawer in the cabin, and while there is a closet, Claire-sized clothes aren’t really meant for hanging. Plus, if you’re familiar with boats, you know that the space in that closet is at strange angles and at weird slopes. So, using the measurements I took, I did some searching before I found a suitable solution at The Container Store. I still had to cut a few drawers off the bottom to fit the space, but I was able to repurpose one of them as additional toy storage to sit upright in the bottom of the closet, which was otherwise unusable space.

Claire's Closet

Claire's Closet With Bottom Storage

 

 

 

 

 

The aft cabin also has the added joy of being positioned just below the cockpit, which means that about half of the “bed” area has very low clearance – which I learned time and time again the hard way. Claire can navigate that space much more easily, though, and I needed to find a way to stow her toys while we were under way. Anything left on the shelf along the side goes flying across the cabin when the boat’s at a moderate heel. So, I found net storage system intended for cars that I thought would work well in the space. So far so good!

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Claire Toy Storage

Many more project updates to come. As for the rest of this weekend, Aaron’s racing in the Colors Regatta with Turning Point, and also just got hired Chicago Sailing out of Belmont Harbor as a charter captain and a U.S. Sailing instructor (woohoo!). So it seems, Clarity will need to wait just a few more days before we take to the sea. Maybe we should get that mainsail rigged…