Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Back to Our Roots

As you know, Todd and I have restored three sailboats in the last 12 years.  We are wrapping up Sabine's restoration this season, and then we'll wonder what the hell to do with ourselves every spring. 

When we restored our first boat, a 26' Pearson Commander we named Sugar Magnolia, we went to Orwell, Vermont just about every weekend and worked dawn to dusk.  We were in our early 20's then, and were ridiculously organized because there are no boating supply stores in that neck of the woods.  The nearest hardware store also rented videos and had a nacho cheese machine that would shoot gooey cheese on chips arranged in a plastic tray.  It forced us to buy our supplies during the week and painstakingly pack them in my Jeep Cherokee on Thursday nights (and pray that they didn't get stolen from the car because we lived in Boston and parked on the street).  On Fridays I woke impossibly early and took the T from our apartment in Brighton into North Station, then took the commuter rail from North Station to Andover.  And then I walked the mile and a half from the station to my workplace.  (I think it took about 3 hours, if I remember correctly.)  Andover was on the way to Vermont, so it made sense for him to not have to wait the 40 minutes for me to drive home, just to turn around and go back by there again. 

Then we bought the first Sabine and had her shipped north from South Carolina.  We lived in Norwood, MA at the time, strategically between Boston and Providence.  We had the boat shipped to Warwick, RI which is just south of Providence.  It was only 45 minutes or so from home, so this opened the possibility of restoration work on weeknights.  I took the red line from the office to South Station to catch the  5:40 train to Norwood.  At 6:15 or so I'd get into my car and make it to Warwick for 7.  Then we'd work until well after dark and up to 11 or so.  Then we'd get home for about midnight and do it all over again the next day.   We were still somewhat organized, but Saturday and Sunday mornings were spent chasing down supplies because Warwick offers a wide range of hardware and marine supply stores.  No need to plan in advance when you can just jump in the car and ride 5 minutes to get something.

By the time we bought the current Sabine, we had moved to Warwick.  Our house was 5 minutes away from the boat.  Not only did we have the variety of stores within a 10 minute drive, but our house was also 5 minutes away.  Sleeping later became an option.  Going home for lunch became another option.  Efficiency flew out the window. 

Now that we live in Podunk, we are still not quite as organized as the early years.  We talk about buying our supplies during the week nights, but it rarely happens.  I work 5-10 minutes away from where the boat is now, but with Todd's busy schedule at work he often doesn't get there until 7 on a weeknight.  Last night I arrived at the boat at 5:30 after picking up dinner and the dry cleaning.  I went inside the boat to do the cleaning until Todd arrived at nearly 6:30. 

We are finishing up the last of the projects that need to happen before the boat hits the water on Friday.  The wiring in the main mast is a mess, however we sorted out all the wiring in the mizzen mast over the long weekend.  The radar is wired up the mizzen, as is a brand new very loud horn.  Last night as we tested the spreader lights on the main mast, using a battery and jumper cables, a thunderstorm blew through.  We quickly became drenched.  The lightening in the distance didn't stop us from attaching jumper cables to the battery and to the wiring inside an aluminum mast between two giant metal buildings.

As we watched the lights glow from the spreaders, and wiped the rain out of our eyes, I remembered all those late nights and weekends spent plotting, painting, sanding, re-wiring, scrubbing, cutting, attaching, and clamping down of various boat parts over 12 years.  I looked at Todd and smiled while the rain soaked through my T-shirt and knew that despite the rain there was nowhere I'd rather be.

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