Sunday, June 17, 2012


Somehow it seems like I should be celebrating Kintala's return to operational status with more vigor or enthusiasm...or something. Don't get me wrong; getting the boat running in time for Deb's birthday is hugely satisfying, particularly since making the 4th looked unlikely just a few days ago. Puttering quietly between the rows of docked boats on the way to the lake (very quietly, actually very very quietly compared to chewing up a V-drive) seemed anticlimactic; just another boat heading out for an easy weekend tucked away in Coles Creek.

The more I think about it though, the more it seems fitting. Sure we changed a V-drive and transmission, fixed a bell housing, installed new engine mounts (six - thank you very much) and did some serious coolant system plumbing. But I have been fixing things for 40 years and lots of those things were broken far worse than Kintala. It just shouldn't have taken that long or generated that much drama. Looking back I'm a bit embarrassed that it did.

And yet...for a while there The Dream was at serious risk. It is no secret that a lot of people are sailing in turbulent waters these days. Deb and I have seen our share of the storm's buffeting and it would be hard to imagine a worse time for big, expensive bits of boat to come a cropper. In the world of $$ the bad ju-ju of buying high and selling low (think "House") is matched by having expenses explode out of control just as income plummets (think "Boat" and "Jobs"). I have an unparallelled knack for such timing, which is why I am a sailor / pilot / mechanic and stay as far away from the business world as possible! Though the Retirement Project is back on track, it is at least a year behind schedule. Knowing full well that the years passed far outnumber the years left to go, that is no small hit to take. So maybe a little bit of drama was fitting after all?

In any case months of seemingly endless work and countless frustrations are behind us. Certainly more lurk in the future, but hopefully none that will bring us that close to the brink again. For now I am just glad it is done, as well as being deeply touched by the constant words of encouragement that came from so many who are a part of my little corner of the sailing world.

Though it was a perfect weekend in most ways, I fear my sailing moe-joe has lagged far behind my mechanic moe-joe. Kintala's sail plan, and my mastery of same, is still a work in progress. Me, of-flogging-a-tired-Pearson-around-Long Island-in-the-wake-of-a-hurricane experience, was badly out of step in handling the big screecher when the winds picked up. Kintala may be pleased to have a wrench that can make her propeller turn properly again, but she was clearly unimpressed with my line handling skills. The Boat and I may be back on speaking terms (me just swearing at her doesn't count), but you can't say we are friends again, not yet. occurs to me that, in the months since we were towed to the pier and started the V-drive disaster repair, we also installed a new floor under a new head with new poop lines and pump; suffered through the hatch debacle; replaced most of the water lines; built and installed a new nav seat; changed a bunch of lighting; fabricated and installed a back splash / counter / spice rack in the galley, plumbed the water heater, and did countless other little jobs now forgotten in the haze. No wonder I feel like a man recovering form some kind of fever! 

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