And so it goes and so it goes… a busy month has kept me from my boat and my thoughts about my boat. When last visited, I was re guiling you of the adventures of the summer sailing. The summer spent with friends that ended with me pulling the ice box out of my little boat. Well, if “I’d have only stopped there…” I believe was the quote. As you can well imagine, I didn’t. What followed was a two and a half year complete refit. Stem to stern. Here’s the reader’s digest version…
See, I have this mast that the previous owner rewired. He did a good job putting in a tri-color mast light, anchor light, steaming light and vhf antenna. But… he never ran a conduit in the mast to keep all those wires from dangling and swinging whenever you moved on the boat. 38 feet of wire, 4 of them to be exact, made a noise that was driving me mad. The mast is keel stepped which for the non-sail boaters, means the mast doesn’t just stop on deck, it goes clear through a large opening in the deck down to the keel. A very beefy and sea-worthy design. But, that puts the mast right in the v-birth, where we sleep. When the wind blows, the boat rocks, therefore making that 38 feet of unsecured wire smack the mast making it impossible for me to sleep. Picture someone standing on deck tapping the metal mast with a small screw driver… that’s kinda what it sounded like. Melody, “Honey, just pretend it’s African music.” Me, I’m just going to pull the mast and run some conduit up there for those wires. Done. Easy-peasy… I say that a lot. But… (I say that a lot too) That’s not how it happened.
It ended up like this; Well, since I’ve got the mast out, I might as well fix these spreaders… Oh and I should just drill a hole or two and check those chain plate knees… Hmmm… not good. I’ll just do the chain plates and then she’ll be good as new. Well, I can’t really fix those chain plates and then put it all back together with those two soft spots in the deck. So, we’ll do the conduit, spreaders, chain plates and the two soft spots… That’s it. Done. Easy-peasy. I dropped the mast in March of ’09. Got the chain plates cut out and the interior ground down by the end of July. We’re were on schedule.
Now let me expand here for a moment and quite possibly go off track for a spell. Trying to describe the experience of grinding fiberglass in June and July in Nashville is beyond words. Picture this if you will; It’s 95 degrees outside, 110 degrees in the hull. I have on a white suite, gloves, goggles and a respirator. The grinder is whizzing. The motor sounds like a cross between a dentist drill and chain saw. It’s throwing hot, sharp fiberglass dust into my face at a hundred miles an hour. No matter how I tilt my head or contort my body, the molten, stinging dust finds my face. The sweat carries those tiny fibers under the bands holding my respirator and they grind slowly into my face and forehead. Oh my God, it’s freaking awesome. My neck is coated with white, infiltrating dust. Somehow it’s found it’s way under the gloves and cuffs of my white “sort of paper” suit and start to saw at my wrists. And don’t even get me started on the fine few handfuls of that shit that found its way into the waist band of my boxers… pure joy.
Summer comes to a close and I’m no longer on schedule. Not even close. Fall arrived and with it an opportunity to get on a trailer. We pulled Moose and I planned on taking the months of September and October off just to finish the chain plates, mast and deck. September and October are historically the driest months in Tennessee. Not this year. It rained all but 9 days. In that 9 days, I cut the decks off and got them re cored and almost glassed in. One day while I was away from the boat a major storm hit, blowing the tarps off the boat… Needless to say, water found it’s way into the seams around the deck skin that I had yet to glass in fully. I had to re-cut the decks. My heart sank. And for the first time in a very long time… I tasted that nasty, bitter, back of the tongue sensation of defeat. We were now pushing November. If I wasn’t done before Thanksgiving… I wasn’t going to be done. Weather in Nashville is ridiculous… One minute it’s 75 and sunny and the next, it’s 27 and snowing… This year was exceptionally worse. I felt the pressure from the club who wanted my nasty, tarped boat out of the yard and the trailer owner who, even though I was paying him, acted like some what of an asshole. So feeling burden of time, I abandoned the decks. I got to the thru hulls thinking I could change out the thru hulls and get her back in the water, cover her and then come spring, sand, fair and paint the decks. Melody was less than thrilled with spending every waking moment out in the cold, damp weather watching… helping me grind and drill holes in the boat. The winter days grew dark early. My soul was close behind.