Sometimes amidst the big challenges (removing/painting the mast and spars, cleaning fuel tanks, replacing plumbing components), the little victories are sweetest. . I tried to get this wrench out of the bow crash bulkhead for about forty-five minutes with no success. Then we tied a magnet to a string and experienced the most precious and rare elixir in a boat refit: a plan that actually worked. . Super stoked that wrench isn’t gonna bounce around in there forever now. That would have been very annoying.
Sometimes in the midst of a major refit you become overwhelmed by the mountain of work that lies before you. But today Dad and I met a fellow who is adding five feet to his catamaran using closed cell foam, Kevlar, putty, fiberglass, and massive cajones. . We walked away with a greater sense of perspective....and a newly kindled desire to add ten feet to Exit Only. . Sailors are the best....individualist to the extreme and frequently capable beyond reasonable expectation. The right kind of crazy. This, my friends, is passion in motion.
Things got rather gnarly in the yard today. One of my favorite aspects of boatlife is how it immerses us in nature. The weather has immediate impact on a day’s activities when there is nowhere to run. . Sailors are a varied lot, but you won’t meet many ocean-kissed voyagers afflicted with pride. The sea does not suffer fools lightly. It never wearies, never second guesses, and is immeasurably powerful. Sailboats, no matter their size, must move in concert with nature or pay heavy tuition to an Unstoppable Force. . Anyways....the point is that clouds are pretty cool.
Today we attack a Big Nasty Job: replacing 20 year old hoses from the boat’s waste management system (i.e. poop tubes). . It’s gross but fascinating (in the way dinosaur excrement, given the luxury of time, transforms from a repulsive, smelly heap into the featured display in the lobby of a natural history museum). The hardened remnants in these hoses have stories to tell. . But this job doesn’t bother me. None of them do. As I’ve gotten older, I find that the Grind phase of a worthy undertaking is easy to bear when I’m excited about the end goal. . We never expected this refit to take longer than three months...but here we are in month five, power washing decades of defection from long-suffering PVC fittings. And it’s totally fine. . The time I spend with Dad on this refit is time we both will remember with fondness. He’s teaching me so much about the nitty gritty, secret inner workings of boats....and I’m teaching him it’s ok to look like an absolute fool on the chance it could make the world smile. . Time in the bilge is time in the trenches. Making the boat safe to cross oceans is time well spent. There is no one I would rather clean poop tubes with (well maybe Sarah, I guess....I don’t know. It’s kind of a dubious distinction when you really think about it). We are getting there. This boat is going in the water.
I have seen X Files and E.T. enough times to recognize a governmental containment situation when I see one. I don’t know what happened in the boatyard last night but there are men in white suits cycling in and out of the Autopsy Bubble. I’ve got to somehow infiltrate their ranks and blow this thing wide open. The password at the airlock appears to be sophisticated combination of grunting and swear words unique to each entrant. It’s gonna take some time to crack their security.
I’m not totally sure how this video happened. Dad and I were working, one of us made a joke, we stared at each other, and twenty minutes later I’m standing on the transom while he blasts me with a garden hose. . There are many reason this refit has taken longer than expected. It’s possible our love of foolishness is one of the bigger ones.
Sometimes you have to bust out a ladder, make veeeerrry careful movements, and avoid thinking about gravity. . After replacing the bearings, repainting, rewriting, and remounting, (and twenty minutes of frustrated fumbling with set screws), I’m pleaded to say that our decade-dormant windmills live again! . Exit Only looks more and more like herself every day. Windmills are nearly always a telltale sign of a cruising boat....its nice to have clean profile lines, but windmills are a compromise of practicality. In an era of electronic navigation and laptops, it’s wonderful when you can efficiently create enough electricity for a whole family. .
Doing what I can to get this boat in the water as soon as possible. . Fortunately, as we all learned from films in the 1980s, repetitive manual labor results in unexpected life skills. . 10,000 thanks to Sarah for being willing to dive into this foolishness with me.
I was putting the finishing touches on the crew shirt art this morning and the girls wanted to make their own. My favorite design feature is how Joss forgot the difference between the letter “w” and letter “m”, so she wrote “mmm.maxingout.com” . I can’t tell for sure if they are artistic geniuses or not but in my unbiased opinion I’m fairly certain they are. Prob won’t win any spelling bees in the near future, but the Abbotts are gonna dominate drawing oblong circles.
Today has been a loooong time coming. Nearly 12 years ago a 120 ft megayacht made a mistake and got blown down on us while we were anchored. They drifted sideways and slammed into our port bow, instantly crushing the stainless steel pulpit into a pretzel. . Over time we grew used to having a mangled pulpit, so it feels quite strange to witness its rebirth. Symmetry is once again threatening to grace us with its presence on the foredeck. SO stoked to take big steps forward on this job.
Every refit involves constant choices between replacing and repairing systems. After a little experimentation, Dad realized he could take apart the 25 year old sinks and repair their cartridges himself, so that’s $500 saved. A touch of paint stripper takes them back to bare metal so they can be painted to look new again. All in all, a very productive day!