Charles and I sailed in our city’s Boat Parade of Lights as rookies and we quickly learned that some salty sailors are after $7,000 in cash prizes in a take no prisoners 100,000 watts kind of way.
Mandatory Captain’s Meeting two days prior: Imagine a large group of boaters and sailors in santa hats drinking free booze, eating catered appetizers and getting the low down on how to get themselves organized into a parade, win a boat load of cash prizes (See what I did there? Boat load! We’re on boats! Hahaha!), all while possibly having or not having a drinks to stave off the chill. We learned that out of sixty boats, we were only one of eleven sailboats.
The swag bag included some pretty cool boat stuff and we won a gift card to a sail-up restaurant about a 4 hour sail from home, close to one of our favorite anchorages where we ran out of gas in the dinghy and we discovered that Charles is an exceptionally good swimmer.
Parade Day: We don’t have enough lights! I braved the crowds at Home Depot and did a bit of humble bragging to the guy standing next to me at the giant lawn reindeer display. “Hello, are you decorating your yard? That’s nice, but we’re decorating our boat.”
Before sunset we motor sailed to the meeting spot and mingled at engine idle with dozens of boats who had done this before, to the tune of lighting up part of the river. Our boat was terribly underdressed in the lighting department. Clearly, this was our first rodeo and clearly, $7,000 in prizes is a serious business.
The parade is a huge tourist draw but we weren’t prepared for thousands of spectators along the entire city waterfront and we felt a little famous as the flashes went off and the crowds waved. We waved back because everyone in a parade waves at their fans.
Cheers to the dinghy with one string of lights and a bundled up captain making the trip in the cold December night. Cheers to the powerboats with generators and so many lights we’re not sure how the captain could see to steer the boat. And cheers to the three other sailboats we sailed with as each powerboats passed us, some with more wake than others. After leading the three sailboats on the two hour sail, we were happy to see the lights at our destination marina.
The After-Party: Our docking adventure at the destination marina started with the wrong marina entirely and ended with more line handlers than we’ve ever had. Crowds of sailors and boaters at the after party. Live band. Costumes. Snow machines and drink tickets. We took it all in and ended up back onboard Chiron. Shortly thereafter we collected our generous participation prize. In cash! Let’s just say our new generator became a little cheaper.
Sailing Home the Next Day: After brunch onboard and no check out time we explored the destination marina and discovered a liveaboard paradise. Amenities galore, houseboats, floating cottages and some the best names we’ve seen in a while. Someday Came. How perfect.
With Chiron and Charles in my life, someday has come for me. Here’s a bit about gratitude- I recently listened to an NPR special on gratitude and if you have it in your daily life it makes you a happier person. Almost every single day I feel lucky to have Charles and Chiron in my life. Without Chiron this blog would not be possible but without Charles, my life would not be possible.