It’s a half hour past sunset and I’m messing with my rigging. Ripping out cotter pins, tightening and loosening turnbuckles. I don’t know what’s come over me. I’m inherently the laziest person on earth. The fact that I even get out of bed in the morning is a wonder to me. But somewhere along this journey I’ve taken a genuine interest in actually doing something. Fixing stuff with my own two hands. Using saws, hammers, power drills, and lots of hand scrapers.
On any given day I have no idea what will happen. I think in the morning that I have a general one, and then something completely different ensues. Today I went into town for some provisions, odds and ends for the boat. After that I planned to lay my first coat of varnish (weather permitting), and finally get those bloody battens taken care of. The day had other plans.
I borrowed a shop vac from the boatyard to suck up the years of accumulated muck I’d sanded off my wood. I managed to get the oversized thing up the ladder, but when I saw my French boatyard friend Alex I asked if I could hand it down to him.
He’d been wanting to have a look at the boat for a while so he came onboard for the five second tour. She’s only 24 feet after all. Looking at my newly painted companionway I noticed a leak.
“What IS that?” I said flabbergasted.
“That’s water,” he said.
We started talking about the nature of leaks and how yes, they are a nuisance, but can be detrimental to the integrity of the boat’s structure. They can be especially bad for boats in northern latitudes as the water trapped inside the deck freezes.
“But if you head south this year, you won’t have to worry about winter,” he said.
I had two choices. I could try and fix the damn thing, wait until Fall to try and fix the damn thing, or just let my boat slowly rot right before my eyes. I chose to try and fix the damn thing.
I didn’t know what I was doing. I had a few minutes of guidance until Alex went to work on his broken inboard diesel engine, and I was left to my own devices with a screwdriver and a chisel. I got the tracks for the sliding hatch off, and then the hatch itself. I was feeling pretty amazed and surprised that I’d actually figured it out. In my glory, however, I didn’t realize the entire contents of the project were covered in silicone. That menace to society. The ultimate contaminant. The worst sealant for a boat.
Two and a half hours later I was still scraping silicone.
I finished, finally. Just in time for a shower and a meal before sunset. I can’t seem to get my hands clean. I crawl into the boat and have a dance with two mosquitos. I relax into the settee and wonder what tomorrow will bring.