The grass is always greener

We’re not in Boston anymore… Photo by Allison Wisch Fabre

Winter 2023

By Ali Wisch Fabre

It is hard to believe, but it’s true – I have been a landlubber for six months. When I first moved off the boat, I was too caught up in the move to process the experience. I masked my separation anxiety (maybe not so well) by packing “practical” items like life jackets, a boat-sized compass, two sets of binoculars and other things that were useful and aesthetically pleasing on my sailboat. However, not so much in my apartment.

So far, the only thing I brought that I could have actually used was my oyster shucker around New Year’s. But we went away, and I forgot to pack it. Next time, I’ll do steamers like our “In the Galley” chef, Jean Kerr, recommends in her column on page 56, and I’ll be just fine, shucker or not.

Previous winters that I’ve been away consisted of regular check-ins with liveaboard neighbors regarding the status of my boat, monitoring of the marina’s Facebook page and Accuweather alerts regarding any intense or unusual weather in the Boston area. I still get the weather alerts and check the Facebook page. Sadly, I don’t need to check in with anyone about my boat, and rather than worrying when I get a notification that some bad weather is on the way, I actually feel sentimental. In fact, I think I kind of miss it.

Sure, it wasn’t always easy, and the memories are endless. I can’t count the number of times that I was washing dishes on the dock or in the bathroom (sorry – we’ve all done it, though) because there was an issue with my water tanks; winter nights when I could see my breath while I was inside my boat wearing ten layers and curled up in front of two space heaters, praying I wouldn’t pop a breaker; crawling under the shrinkwrap like I was an army ranger to get to the fill for my water… you get the drift. When I was in it, I didn’t have time to think about missing it. Now that I’m on land, I have all the time in the world.

Dave Roper paints a perfect picture of winter boat life in his column on page 12, “Reviving the sea story.” Climbing into your boat in the northeast in the winter could be an article in itself. Everything from stepping onboard and navigating the treacherous shrinkwrap or tarp to getting the key in the lock can be a struggle. Which, in landlubber terms, is literally just getting to your front door and opening it. He illustrates that beautifully but goes on to describe what I’ll call a book club of sorts for boaters. Or, in his words, a “middle-aged men tell sea stories in the cabin of a frozen sailboat in the middle of winter luncheon.”

From the outside looking in, I can tell you, the struggle is real – but I can’t imagine anything better.