Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A sense of the now ...

A new propeller is a thing of beauty, all shiny and bronze and gleaming in the sun. Sadly most of its days will be spent languishing in unfriendly waters where creatures of various tenacities will seek a permanent home on its carefully constructed curves. So I admired it for a minute, hanging fresh and ready to go to work under Kintala’s keel, then squirted four coats of dull, grey, zinc primer over it. Still, it looks better than the old one did. I also added a couple of zincs to the prop shaft. The prop we bought is reported to be “micro balanced”. Nice, but it seems to me to be mostly propaganda. Oh I’m sure it is finely tuned to run true at the factory, but with two heavy zincs attached to the same shaft melting away at an uneven pace, it seems “micro balanced” is not going to last very long, or mean very much to an actual boat working its way through the ocean.

I wonder if all cruisers develop this sensitivity to our society’s constant barrage of half-truths and spin? Being away from the relentless advertising of TV and radio, content to sit on the porch sipping an Irish coffee and watching the sun set as the evening’s entertainment, true things, (or at least accurate things) form the basics of our decisions making now. What is the weather really going to do? Not TWC’s breathless, bubble-headed take on every routine change in the atmosphere. Which way is the current running this morning, how much do peaches cost at the next reachable store?

One of the things I liked about being a pilot was how much of my life was concentrated on “the now”. Pilots, when they are doing pilot things, are focused on the immediate. So are motorcycle riders (the faster one goes the more one is focused), SCUBA divers, and rock climbers. All things I have enjoyed.  Land lubbers tend to dwell in their imaginations; whatever is going on around them is secondary to what is going on in their head. They text while driving, think about work while walking down the street, spend their evenings living in the make believe world of “reality TV”.

This new cruiser’s life is living close to the now. The task at hand, the weather, the water, the balance of the boat and the world forward of the bow; these are my normal points of focus. What is happening all around sets the tone and determines the next decision.

Our original plan was to splash as soon as the prop was installed. But part of living in the now is that plans become very tenuous things. They are wisps of possibilities more than actual intentions, shredded by the slightest breeze of what is actually happening. In this case the “breeze” was watching the boats in relation to the docks, moving three feet up and down several times over the course of the day. (I am still getting used to the fact that, in this part of the world, docks do not float.) Glassing the transfer tube while working from a dinghy would be messy and uncomfortable at best, and maybe near impossible. Tides are a real thing that must be taken into account, so we decided to finish the steering vane install on the stands instead. Splashing will wait another day, or two.

It depends on the now.

1 comment:

Bill K said...

Just keep in mind that your shaft doesn't spin as fast as a turbine shaft.

So balance is not as important.

Bill Kelleher