It’s only appropriate that I write my first column of the season just hours after finishing my first day on the boat. Like many others who strive to get their boats in the water for Memorial Day, we spent the weekend getting her ready and loading her up with supplies for the upcoming holiday weekend.

The one thing that was not at all appropriate — and hasn’t been for several weeks — was the weather. Boaters can usually count on at least a couple of good spring weekends to accomplish their annual commissioning in reasonable comfort, but not this year.

I have always tried to take the glass half-full approach to dealing with the weather.

But this spring, I wouldn’t blame anyone for being discouraged. For most of April and May, Maine seemed plagued with a prolonged period of cold, damp, and just plain miserable weather.

We saw it coming back in March — that is about the time that skiing and boating seasons start to collide. While some might think that the two activities would be separate and distinct, they are actually inescapably intertwined for the many people who enjoy both. Conversations on lift rides and in the lodge often turn to boating, and discussions about boat-improvement projects and cruising plans dominate the conversation.

That didn’t seem to happen this year. Unlike 2010, when we had week after week of nearly perfect spring conditions, it was cold and hard on the slopes — and in the boatyards — right into April and May. So unless you had climate-controlled indoor storage, the weather-dependent boat projects had to wait.

But somehow, most boaters who wish to launch by Memorial Day weekend find a way to make it happen. We were fortunate that Rita P didn’t have any must-do projects, thanks to multi-season bottom paint and the fact that we’re in our 15th year of ownership and there is only so much that you can do to a 30-year-old boat. The most taxing prep work this year was to remove the snow from around the boat and get the ground to dry out and firm up enough to support the hauler. My husband, the skipper, spent many evening and weekend hours with the shovel, and it paid off on launch day earlier this month when Bucky the hauler got Rita P down the driveway and on her way to the launch ramp without a hitch.

We endured some light drizzle and a good dose of classic Maine fog on launch day, but with temperatures in the mid-60s, it almost felt balmy. The passage of a cold front on Saturday changed all that. Maine boaters’ ski apparel gets used year-round.

With the season off to such a cold, damp start, I thought I’d see what the Farmers Almanac says we can expect for the rest of the season. It’s not encouraging. There are repeated mentions of showers, thunderstorms, and gales; the few predictions for fair weather are generally for the middle of the week when most of us are working.

The forecast from the National Hurricane Center isn’t any better. It predicts above-normal tropical activity, with 12 to 18 named storms (winds of 39 mph and higher), six to 10 of which could become hurricanes.

With all due respect to the Almanac, its forecaster Caleb Weatherbee, and his “secret formula,” and the good folks at the National Hurricane Center, I hope they are all wrong.

Gail Rice is a freelance writer in Maine. She can be contacted at:

[email protected]