Sunday, April 21, 2013

Step by step ...

inch by inch ... slowly I turned ...

This old comedy routine is a good description of our progress toward living on a sailboat. Step by step we have figured out if this was really something we wanted to do. We took a bunch of classes, learned about big water and explored the world of catamarans. Nomad taught us the basics of living on, sailing, and maintaining a cabin class sailboat. That lead to picking a Tartan 42 as the foundation of a home we can take to the water.

Inch by inch we have muscled Kintala toward fulfilling that vision. Drive train, systems, interior work, dodger, progress for many of these efforts was literally measured inch by inch, sometimes far less. Move the prop shaft about one half and inch and water would poor into the boat. The engine mounts were tweaked to align the shaft to as close to "zero" as possible. The table design and build often included measurements of an eighth of an inch. Much of Deb's cushion work was done to lengths smaller than an inch, and her dodger was often tweaked to an eight inch or less; with the visible variation of a straight stitch line being even less than that.

Slowly we turned away from being land loving, stuff hording, mortgaged-to-the-hilt-members in good standing of an insane consumer society. We have (mostly) turned from shredding the tires of screaming, high-powered motorcycles to dancing a night watch with the ocean at the helm of a small sailboat. All of my life I have looked in the mirror and seen a pilot / mechanic / biker. But somewhere in these last few years I turned around and the reflection is now that of a sailor / mechanic who flies airplanes to buy boat parts. Just as slowly the house we so loved in the Central West End, the house we spent years turning into our favorite place to be, turned into a pile of bricks chaining us to the land. Selling it is now a "thing what matters" and our real "current address" is a favorite cove on our little lake.

I also turned to discover that I am not quite the odd-ball, mis-fit some of my life's adventures might suggest. It turns out there are a lot of people like me, but they mess around with boats so I just hadn't run across them before. Hard headed, fiercely opinionated, independent to a fault, they are also people who will crawl into a dirty under-deck hole to help fix a thing that needs fixing for a person they barely know. All they ask in return is a cold beer and the expectation that, some day down the line, you will crawl into a dirty hole to help someone else. Fiercely independent they may be, but few who have spent much time on open water take themselves too seriously or see themselves as masters of the earth. If most of the people on our little planet were more like a lot of the sailors I have met, human kind would never have invented borders and suffered all the related ills and hatreds that go along with drawing arbitrary lines on a map.

To be honest a lot of bikers fit this same profile which is why I am still a comfortable member of that tribe. Oddly, though much of my life focused on flying, I never did fit into the "pilot" tribe very well. There is a group who, in spite of spending hours in the even bigger ocean of the sky, tend to take themselves way too seriously and are convinced of their own superior abilities. Maybe its because much of the pilot world flows from the attitudes of the military. Maybe its because pilots spent scant minutes in the air compared to sailors who live on the water for weeks, months, and years at at time. What ever the case the pilot tribe is not going to miss me, nor I it. Of course a lot of sailors are pilots as well and sometimes we sit around boats and talk about airplanes. Nothing human beings get involved in is all one thing or another. But most of the sailing pilots I know would rather be on their boats.

This post started out as a take off a comedy routine ... but veered off into places I didn't expect. (If you are not a writer don't try to figure it out. If you are a writer you know exactly what I mean.) The original destination was "Step by step, inch by inch, slowly I turned ... to see the water in the lake going up foot by foot!"

Two weeks ago Kintala was sitting in the mud. Today there is more than 5 feet of water under her keel! YIPPEE! We started the day with some hope of actually going sailing. But truth to tell we are still in winter project mode, not sailing mode. The engine needs run and checked for leaks after some late season maintenance last year. Deb spent part of today getting the interior squared away so tools and parts don't turn into missiles at the first hint of a heel. Head and main sail went on Saturday morning, so she had the chance to finish fitting the new sail cover today as well.

While she did, I went for a short sail with Friend James. It was my first sail in many a moon and its hard to describe just how good it felt to be back out on the water. (I did do a little work this weekend, honest.)

Most happily the water in the lake means the lift is accessible. We could, theoretically anyway, sail across the lake tomorrow, pull Kintala from the water, load her on a truck, and be on our way. Knowing that makes me smile ... the purpose of a comedy routine.

1 comment:

Allan S said...

Your comment on pilot superiority made me laugh, in a nice way...way back, my father was a navigator in the air force and my mom always said you could tell when a fighter jock walked into a room....he owned it...lol