Sailing with the Dead

Just five days after a typically busy Labor Day weekend on Keuka Lake, today was its antithesis. Sans motorboats. Sans fireworks. Sans hubub. September on Keuka is probably my favorite time on the lake. Still a hint of summer. The water is still warm. But Fall is definitely in the air, and in a couple of weeks the leaves will start turning. Having endured a busy Labor Day weekend here, today was the complete opposite, quiet. Ahh.

A fabulous fall day today. As predicted by the hour by hour forecast of the Weather Channel (how did we go sailing before the Internet and hour by hour forecasting?), the winds picked up after lunch to a brisk steady north wind of about 8 to 10 mph. And the temp was in the mid-seventies. Perfect sailing weather.

I asked my wife and daughter to join me in a sail, but they declined, occupied with a new game they invented, "bounce back" where you try to bounce back acorns off our tree back to the deck. Riveting. Drives the chipmunks nuts. So for company I decided to bring along some music and disturb the serene, peaceful, quiet post-Labor Day Keuka lake bliss by bringing along my iPad and external speaker on the sailboat. Yes, I am willing to risk my iPad getting ruined by a rogue wave just so I can enjoy some music while sailing. Yes, it would be smarter to just bring along an iPod and some headphones and enjoy the music politely on this post summer serene lake. But today I decided to crank up the rock and roll and make some noise. And to be honest, the number of folks on the lake today most likely equaled the number of readers of this blog. I was really bothering no one, because no one was here.

And happily I can report it sounded wonderful. I have a portable speaker system that can readily connect to any mp3 player (iPad) and it is actually pretty loud, with it's own subwoofer. I could have brought along a smaller Jambox that works great too, but decided I needed a little more power. And since I was sailing, I did not have to listen to it over the sound of a motor (take that you gas guzzling motor boating resource burning heathens). Once I got underway I was literally my own floating rock concert. I swear I could hear the music echoing down Keuka Lake, bouncing off the cottages as I sailed by. With the speaker sitting back toward the boat's transom, SS #150 became one big boom box today.

What music did I play you ask.? Well I opted for Grateful Dead's live album, "Dead Set." Now I must admit that my music choice is still somewhat surprising to me. I have to admit that I am a relatively new listener to the Dead. Growing up I never really listened to them too much, and frankly could not relate to all the hippie wannabes that followed them religiously (no offense to true, authentic hippies that I have the upmost respect for - you know who you are). And some of their songs I just can't stand, particularly their commercial offerings (Touch of Grey, enough said). Overall, GD sounds great at the lake. I am not sure what it is. GD sounds great at a campfire. GD sounds great sailing. To me, I love the improv. It reminds me of jazz. I like that the songs last longer than three minutes. Play, Gerry, play. FYI you can like the Dead and not be druggie, it is true. I also like listening to The Band, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, and just about any band that played at Woodstock etc, and have never dropped acid.

So anyway, it was a great sail. With a steady wind from the north, I probably sailed a good two miles up the lake, tacking several times, till, at the onset of Sugaree I came about and coasted home.

So why am I telling you, gentle reader, all this? Well I am wondering if anyone else has ever taken along portable music while sailing their SS. If you have, and you'd like to share your experience, please leave a comment. We do know that music was in the air (or at least in the minds of those sailing) when Dreamer was recently launched (an excellent Bob Dylan song I must add!). Perhaps there is a particular genre that naturally accompanies sailing (though maybe I am the only one who listens to the Clash's London Calling on the beach when I take #150 out of the water).

Well I hope you have moderately enjoyed this post, and for that matter, your sailing season (frankly this blog deserved another post than to have the last one at the top -- FYI #8 has been released from captivity and is now back at the Long Island Maritime Museum, soon to be restored in the Moonbeam Shop! HOORAY!)

Summer has come and gone all too quickly. At least this winter whenever I play the Dead I can think back on the great fall sail I had today, and be Grateful ;-)