Friday, May 23, 2008

Detouring to this Blog’s Intended Use

Back in 2004 Todd opened this blog so that we could talk about boat restoration. The site was originally intended to be all about our sailboat, Sabine. Then I got bit with the blogging bug, and I went and girled up the joint. I still talk about sailing adventures, because it’s such a big part of our lives, but I haven’t really gotten into talking about the finer points of the boat projects that we’ve done over the last 4 years that I’ve been doodling on this blog.

It’s Memorial Day weekend here in the US, which is the unofficial start of summer and the start of boating season. In the past we have scrambled in the weeks leading up to Memorial Day weekend trying to get Sabine ready for a weekend long trip to Newport, Jamestown or even Block Island.

This year we didn’t bother trying to get the boat into the water for Memorial Day weekend, and debated as to whether we’d even put her in at all this season. As you know, we’ve moved house and there are numerous projects around the house we’d like to complete that will get it closer from being an awesome house to our dream house. Over the years we’ve also had a mysterious leak on Sabine, which has only gotten steadily worse over the years until last year when the bilge would constantly fill with water to the point where we were sure it would sink unless we pumped the bilge almost every single day.

We have hunted high and low for the source of this leak, and haven’t found a reasonable explanation other than gnomes boarding the boat and peeing excessively into the bilge. (But the quantity of beer in the fridge hasn’t inexplicably decreased, so we promptly ruled this explanation out. Still, it’s an interesting theory.) We hauled the boat out of the water over the winter, with the intent of investigating the matter further.

Over the entire winter we were saddled with a dilemma. The worst case scenario for the source of the mystery leak is a cracked stern tube—this is the tube that penetrates the boat so that the propeller shaft can extend from the inboard engine, through the hull to the propeller. Replacing a cracked stern tube is way out of our collective boat restoration skill set, and to hire the boat yard to do it would cost roughly the equivalent of a brand new exotic sports car from Italy. (Maybe. Depending on the kind of car we’re talking. Are we talking about a Fiat or a Ferrari? I am thinking more Fiat than Ferrari.) The best case scenario is that the leak is coming in through a fitting that needs to be sealed better, or that it is coming in through the actual fiberglass of the hull, which will mean sealing the hull with epoxy.

So the dilemma is do we get the stern tube replaced and forego the house projects, or do we not launch the boat and do the house projects? To further complicate the dilemma, I was unemployed all winter, and our household has less discretionary income to spend on such an expensive boat repair, or home renovation for that matter.

Not only is the expense adding to the dilemma, it’s the actual time it would take to do these repairs. Will we be spreading ourselves too thin over all the things we enjoy doing in the summer because chasing down this leak will consume us if we do not find it? But then, I cannot imagine a summer without sailing. It’s what we do, and it’s what we love.

At some point over the long holiday weekend we will thoroughly inspect Sabine’s hull, and go over all the entry points that penetrate the hull to see if we can find a source of a leak. If we can find something that we suspect caused this leak, we will determine what it will take to patch it and launch the boat. If we cannot find it, we won’t launch.

By Tuesday we’re hoping that the winter long dilemma will end.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope you got good news from Sabine's weekend inspection...your comment on my blog made me wince.

May 27, 2008 at 12:15 PM  

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