Today was warm - around 50, but overcast with not a breath of wind. So I decided to change the oil and oil filter for the winter. It really only takes a couple of minutes because the engine has a hand pump on the engine oul sump. Good thing, too, because there's no other way to get the oil out without just dumping it in the bilge and getting out after that.
Anyway, it's kind of sad. Sure, I know I'll be out sailing again this season, but each step to storage is another marker in the road towards the dead of winter and when the boat is fully 'asleep'. No matter what else happens, though, our group will go out on Jan 1. I'll be sure to report on that.
So, while changing the oil, I saw some coolant on the deck below the alternator which is below a water hose. I looked around (and this is a good thing whenever you have the engine cover off) and found what looked like a leak behind the water pump. Turns out there was a loose hose clamp. Whew! I certainly don't want to replace the fresh water pump now!
Ok. I've been bouncing this around - The marina I was at in Connecticut has raised it's prices to nearly $100/ft. for the summer, plus $400. in electricity for the same period.
When I got into sailing, it was a period of time that you could own and sail a boat pretty inexpensively. But now it's getting harder and harder to do that - not because of the maintenance since I do that myself, not because of fuel since I don't use more that about 30 gallons a season, but because marinas are charging more and more for less and less service.
But I digress.
So, I thought maybe I'd go back to City Island, which I really like - it's great - but do I go to Barrons? It's on the east side of the island west of Hart Island, so it's really well protected. And it's pretty cheap. But the launch service is spotty. It's from 9 am to 6 pm. And on Saturday nights, the party boats run up and down the channel at speed all night long with music blaring and throwing huge wakes. Really uncomfortable for sleeping. It's inexpensive, though. And I like the owner. He'll haul the boat on demand, and we have been known to party together.
On the other hand, there are some mighty nice yacht clubs on the west side but they're $2500 to $3000 per year. That includes a bunch of money for the restaurant on site, and there's a clubhouse.
Still, this year I bought new sails and I want to put a couple of solar panels on board, so I decided today to go to Barrons, at least for this year and save some bucks. Next year maybe a club. But this year, save some dough.
But back to the other thing: marina's and their ever increasing appetite for money. It's endemic to all industry, but especially bad for boating. It's been a struggle for the marine industry to show that boating's not the elitist sport it was once considered. But when it charges become frivilously large it forces those of us that aren't spectacularly wealthy out - making it once again a sport of kings.
My own take on this is that it sucks.
I hope to see you on the water!