Lake Winnipesaukee // Gilford, Nh.
Sailing on a Sunday afternoon
The boat is moored at Gilford, at the southeast perimeter of the lake. There's a sign over the ship chandlery that says--no joke--Fay's Boat Yard.
Mark says the local sport is to hang out and watch divorces happen from the dock, as couples freak out at each other while bumping and scraping their way into the slips.
The boat is a 35-footer, a lot roomier than it sounds, both above and below deck. It's a good size, they say, for sailing inshore--not too heavy, nor too big--but it has enough storage space to accommodate long trips, while still keeping a draft that can accommodate the shallow waters around West Indian islands.
The lake is full of tiny islands, some of them with barely enough surface area to accommodate the vacation palaces built there. We speculate, as middle-class types will, on the inconveniences of having such a place--for example, what do you do if a light bulb goes out, or you run out of toilet paper?
Mark reasonably speculates that if you can afford a house like that, you can probably afford the gas needed to powerboat back to the mainland for an errand run. And it's not unknown to see things lifted in and out by helicopter.
I seem to recall rumors of vicious feuds between sailboat and powerboat factions; Mark and Vicky say that it's more of a friendly contempt.
As an example, he points out a powerboat that passes us--"You'd need about $800 to pay for the fuel that thing uses up in an afternoon," he says, and looks up to where the billowing mainsail speaks for itself.
"The wobble choke is open!" "It's a two-speed winch!"
The only thing better than the impressed expression on the face of a gulled daytripper, they say, is hearing a noob repeat this made-up terminology to someone else.
It's altogether evident that Mark grew up sailing. He has neither the novice's smiling tension, nor the new master's bombast. He moves across the deck like an unobtrusive breeze, conversing, laughing, pointing out the vacation homes, his easy manner breaking only into a stern clip when tacking in the passages between islands. Booms have to swing, after all, which means people need to be out of their way.
As soon as the moment of urgency passes, and he swings serenely from a line.
"This," he declares to no one in particular, "is heaven, to me."