In the mood for summer…only if

Posted 6/1/23

Saturday was the big “get ready for summer” reveal.

It could have easily been the Gaspee Days Arts and Crafts Festival that packed Narragansett Parkway from curb to curb and had …

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In the mood for summer…only if


Saturday was the big “get ready for summer” reveal.

It could have easily been the Gaspee Days Arts and Crafts Festival that packed Narragansett Parkway from curb to curb and had Pawtuxet Village Park jamming with music and games for the kids before noon with forecasts for two equally stunning days to follow. Tina Bingham, chair of the event, looked comfortable in the shade behind the Gaspee Days table. In all the years she’s been running the event she’s never seen it so busy so early on the first day. Her take was that after cancelling the festival because of the pandemic in 2020, and then limited versions to follow, people were ready to get out and bring back the good times.

Inflation is in the headlines daily and the cost of everything seems to be going up and up. But that didn’t stop festival visitors. Tina’s concern was that vendors hadn’t brought enough of whatever they were selling to keep the crowd happy.  Indeed, that was a good kind of problem to have.

Personally, the big reveal to summer is putting the finishing touches on the bottom paint of the boat and towing her over to Pleasure Marina, so Joe DiCenzo can lift her off the trailer and splash her. The second prelude to summer is removing the cover to the pool and that can be like taking the lid off a box that has been closed for a long time. You don’t know what you’ll find.

Both ended up being the kind of reveals you wish hadn’t happened.

The boat, a Rhodes 19 that I named after this column – This Side Up, which seemed appropriate because you don’t want bottoms up while sailing - looked pristine when I pulled off the cover. The bottom sanding and cleaning I’d given her in the fall had paid off. I was pleased with myself and thought my longtime sailing friend Claude Bergeron, who offered to do the work, would have an easy job of it. Then we spotted the crack running between the hull and the metal keel. At first it didn’t look like anything to be alarmed about. That could be caulked, and with a coat of paint she’d be ready to go. But what should we use?

Harbormaster Jeff Baris, who repaired Claude’s Rhodes, would have the answer. Jeff stopped over to take a look and didn’t like what he found. The oak ribs that serve as the support for keel bolts were rotting out and as the keel was not supported on the trailer, the keel is separating from the hull. Jeff said the flooring and the ribs would have to be torn out, but he wouldn’t be able to get to the job until the fall.

Could she be sailed?

The answer was yes. However, there was the chance it would drop off.

Reluctantly, AClaude and I pulled the cover back on. She wouldn’t be going in the water this season.

Then there was the pool. From the holes in the cover, I knew this was going to be a challenge.

I’m accustomed to finding algae lining the walls and the bottom that I remove by rotating the valve from filter to waste and directly pumping the scum out and lowering the water level to the skimmer. This year the pool was black, the bottom was obscured by muck.  I tried my waste clean. Nothing improved. Could I blame it on global warming?  Was my pool transitioning into a swamp? And what creatures might take up residence? 

This called for drastic measures. I quadruple shocked the pool. The water went from black to green and then milky white.  There was no sign of the bottom. The pool smelled like a chemical factory. Maybe it’s a matter of letting the filter do its job.

Meanwhile, summer temperatures have arrived. Even a milky pool is appealing.  I didn’t try it, but even then Carol said I smelled like chlorine. I did the one thing sure to greet the summer…reached into the fridge and found a cold beer.

mood, summer, side


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