Friday, October 19, 2018

Still not ready to set sail, but nearly there. Life HAS been busy!

Can it really be three months, a quarter of a year, since my last post? Good grief!

Well... things got dramatic in MI, so, after a week at the Brule River Camp in June (our first visit there, black locust trees in bloom everywhere, Cynthia's first fly fishing, loads of fun),

 I spent a couple weeks (I had planned to spend on the NC boat) helping Cynthia move.... although I felt rather underutilized.

Then off to Cape Cod. Our family had managed to buy a replacement boat from another cousin's family, so had a boat in the water for me, my two brothers, and all the assorted friends, family, etc. Not all went smoothly: at one point we anchored and everyone went ashore while I tried to replace the kinked hoses of the self-bailing cockpit.. Well, there was a “snap!” and I held the hose in my hand, along with the old bit of plywood that had reinforced the hull, watching a little cheerful fountain of water enter the boat. I stuck my finger in the hole (a temporary measure, obviously) and thought of solutions, none of which seemed especially viable. After a bit, my brother Paul returned and we discussed it and he suggested inserting some sponge. I immediately ripped a piece free with my teeth, rolled it as tight as possible, and shoved it in. This worked very well until I did proper repairs a few days later with brother Peter and Angela. Mostly things worked pretty well and Cynthia enjoyed her eventual visit...and so did Lucy, although L was not so happy about the whole flying thing.
And, of course, there were walks on the beach in darkness through phosphorescent water while the deep exhalations on curious seals broke the silence, sailing adventures into the open ocean where we saw my first ocean sunfish,
loads of sunrises

(especially good with company!),
and so much more.

I took another trip (a long weekend) to MI, stopping for a few hours to visit my friend Tom and his house full of dogs, including this little foster fellow, Sancho:
Cynthia and I packed as much into the time as possible, even getting in a great final sail on the hobie and harvesting wild pawpaws and improving the house.

Back on Cape Cod, we saw huge numbers of baby alewives stranded upon the beach in their efforts to avoid being eaten by mackerel.
I've never seen this before: we could even see the schools of mackerel glinting in the crashing waves, sometimes watching them flopping briefly on the shore.

Kent, “Our boat guy”, suggested we get a trailer hitch on the car so we can move the boat ourselves. THIS turned out to be a comedy of frustrations worthy of a Carol Burnett sketch: I ordered a hitch, then decided to have Uhaul do it, then they called to say they had to cancel as they did not have the hitch... but they agreed they could install mine. Then they found they could not drill the hard steel bumper frame and I had to have Ziggy's install it. Then the receiver(?) was wrong, so I ordered one... and that got back ordered. When it arrived it would not quite fit and I had to grind out some steel. Same for the trailer we bought with the boat: I went through a LOT to get it working, to diagnose the problem, remove the old bearings and races, and install new bearings.

Very satisfying to arrive at the far end with the jobs accomplished and more knowledge under my belt, however. And when we pulled the boat out of the water without a single issue? Wonderful!

The boat in NC came through Florence just fine, although a little more wind might have spelled disaster: some marinas were destroyed, but this one is well sheltered. The hurricane came through almost exactly a year after I lost Dorado to Irma: when I saw Florence home in on my current boat I wondered if it was a message to quit owning boats.

When I arrived there a few weeks ago I installed an air conditioner in the companionway, climbing over it awkwardly....but it sure made a difference: I tend to run hot and could not work past 8 or 9 until things started to cool off this last week after hurricane Michael. Every day I make good progress, every day my list seems to grow longer, every day I find myself kicking myself for buying this boat. *sigh*. I DO have all three sails installed and am nearly ready to sail. I've replaced the sole (floor) in a couple places and have rewired some lights with much better wire. On the other hand I find things like minor decay in the cockpit sole (floor), a battery died in Hurricane Florence, the hatch covers are decaying, and some blocks for the mizzen sheets need replacing.

Now I'm off to visit Cynthia! And, of course, she is sick... Who was it that described life as “one damn thing after another.” I concur.

Still, I try to get out for yoga with the guys five days a week, go sailing with my friend Lee whenever he wants a crewman, have a social drink with the fellows at the 4pm end-of-day chat... and always try to walk out with a cup of coffee and watch the sunrise at the marina entrance,

Enjoy the moments as they pass.

And I bet this boat will be a lot of fun to sail... I look forward to lots of sunrises and sunsets.


  1. Thanks for the post, we were missing these!!

  2. Enjoyed hearing from you and hope you get to sail successfully very soon!!

    1. Current plan is for a few more days here in MI, then ten in Sonoma, then a couple weeks in NC to complete work and have a shakedown cruise....then Cynthia and I will depart for the Bahamas! Scary and exciting!

  3. Nice to *see* you again Skip! I love the Cape...