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Cruising Life through the Eyes of Tom Neale

A fresh approach to ‘springizing’

The author in repose, the reward for finishing spring chores early.Spring hasn’t sprung yet. It’s still winter, and I’m still down south. I winterize my boat by sailing to lower latitudes and I like it that way. But I can’t help thinking about all of those boring “getting ready for spring” articles I’ve been seeing in boating magazines since I began reading them back in the ’50s. I’m already not looking forward to them.

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Small boat vs. large: It's hard to go wrong

Tom's Gulfstar with four of his little boats aboard (kayaks, sailboard and inflatable bags).I’ve got kayaks. I’ve got a 12-foot aluminum dinghy. I’ve got a 12-foot inflatable. I’ve got a 53-foot motorsailer. I’ve got a 20-foot Mako. I’ve got two sailboards. I’ve got some inner tubes. I’ve even got an 8-foot sailing dinghy that doesn’t sail very well after a tree fell on it and I tried to fix it. But, hey, it floats.

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Rats! Just what you don’t need aboard

Nobody invited the rat. So it was good riddance. Maybe he thought he had a general invitation, like some of those people who crash important parties in Washington and L.A. But he didn’t. He probably knew he wasn’t invited and was just doing the rat thing.

But maybe he figured he was smarter than the average rat and smarter than the average person and that he’d just get a paw in the door, get a jump on the situation and be assured of his place at the table, closest to the best of the food. I don’t know what he figured, but he didn’t figure what happened.

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Head aches: It’s a dirty job but …

A king contemplates the product literature of a new throne.All you ever wanted to know about heads would probably fit into the eye of a needle. But when what’s passing through your head encounters difficulties similar to the difficulties of that camel trying to squeeze through the needle’s eye, you’ll wish you knew more.

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Take in the dock lines and plot a course south

Practice cruising before you cast off and head south. There are many beautiful anchorages along our coasts and close to home.The world doesn’t come to an end when you finally cast off the lines to head south. It might seem so because this time you’re taking them with you rather than leaving them at the dock that’s been your boat’s home for so many years.

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