Monday, May 23, 2005

Finally, a post about boat stuff
It’s that time of year again. The time when the yard workers at boat yards all along the New England coast work like mad to get the boats in the water for Memorial Day weekend. Over the winter, the parking lots at the marinas near us are packed in tightly with shrink wrap covered boats. In the spring, however, the parking lots get filled with cars as the boats empty out. As the boats get put in, the owners’ cars arrive to bring various things that will make the boats usable again for the summer.

Every year we bust our butts, right along with everyone else, to get the boat ready for Memorial Day weekend. And every year it’s a cold, rainy, and sometimes foggy holiday weekend, and we wonder what the fuss was all about with getting it in for the long weekend.

This year we will not be sailing on Memorial Day weekend. Our boat is still in the paint shed at the marina, getting her new decks put on and painted, and probably won’t be done with that until later on this week. Once the boat is put into the water, the masts have to be put back on and rigged. At some point we also need to finish replacing the hatches, too, before the lack of hatches makes it possible for it to rain inside the boat. It feels nice not to look at the calendar and say "OK, it’s Monday, we want to leave on Friday night. We need to do this, this, this, this, this, this…." Because we are still in restoration mode, the list of "this, this, this, this, this, this…" can be quite long.

Usually over the winter we undertake a major project or two, for example, getting the decks re-done was this winter’s big project, as well as replacing the hatches. Then in May we try to get that major project finished, as well as cleaning up the eventual dust all through the interior, putting the interior cushions back in, and bringing aboard all the stuff we need to entertain on the holiday weekend. One year we had just finished connecting all the water lines, faucets and shower just minutes before untying the dock lines and heading out. Such is life when you are restoring and still want to sail.

The week before Memorial Day finds us making lists, forgetting to bring lists when we leave the house, driving all over town to get things we need, feeling frenzied and crabby, "I forgot the list? I thought you had it!" This is supposed to be fun, right? Last year we had come to that conclusion, as the spring found us waiting for engine work to be completed, and doing the ready-for-Memorial-Day scramble. We were getting pretty grouchy with all the work we needed to finish for our Friday departure. Finally on one trip to the local boating supply store to pick up some other forgotten item, I turned to Todd and said, "This is supposed to be fun. But we’re getting all pissy about it. Why is that? What do you say we enjoy the process of getting ready again? In the grand scheme of things, we have a pretty sweet boat, we should be enjoying this more." And then the conversation changed to "I can’t wait until we go here, or go there…" "Where do you want to sail to for vacation this year?" The scrunched up brow, turned into a relaxed smile, and we started laughing more.

Over the weekend we did some necessary mast work, as the masts are off it’s much easier to do this work now. We built a bracket and platform for our radar dome to sit on. We replaced the wiring for the VHF antenna, and we also removed an old speaker that was on the mizzenmast and ran a new wire to that. All we need to do is install a foghorn, and the mast work will be completed. We had such a great time working together on this. We were relaxed, and not rushing to check the mast work off of the list along with 12 other things we’d hoped to do on the weekend. We were running the wires, and laughing together. We took a break and brought the dogs to the park, we got some ice cream on another break.

This is how boat work was meant to be. Spring preparation has once again become fun.

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