Thursday, September 19, 2013

“All hope abandon ye who enter here…”

This, according to Virgil, is the sign posted above the doorway to hell. Clearly he never spent any time around sailboats; else he would never have wasted such an eloquent phrase on a place as mundane as hell.

Last night was such a good night that today couldn’t help but start out well. Deb headed off to do some errands, the most important of which was getting our web access figured out so she could keep the money under control. I was committed to getting the work under the cockpit finished so the cockpit locker could once again swallow the enormous pile of stuff currently scattered hither and yon upon the deck. About half an hour passed down in that hole, a half hour where my subconscious brain kept trying to get my conscious brain to pay attention to the funny running water noises. But my conscious brain was struggling with other issues and paying no mind. Deciding another part was necessary meant crawling up out of the hole, where my conscious brain noticed the slightest sheen of oil marring the water in our part of the marina. Our bilge is clean and we have oil absorbent pads under the engine, but ours is the only boat new in the water in these parts and so the primary suspect. My unconscious brain had my conscious brain’s full attention.

It didn’t take long to find that water was flowing in, reaching the plug in the pan under the engine and emptying into the bilge, provoking the pump into semi-regular purges. Tracing uphill the flow lead under the drip less seal, past the engine through hull, under the rear cabin floor, fridge compressor and water heater, up the “V” of the aft hull and to the base of the rudder tube stand pipe. Kintala has a breach in her hull; less than a “flow” but more than a “trickle”. It wasn’t there in the two plus years she floated in Carlyle. It is clearly there now and sure looked to be getting worse.

Within minutes the crew here at Oak Harbor had the lift fired up. By shift’s end Kintala was resting on stands once again. That seemed a slightly better choice than having her resting on the bottom in the mud. Last night’s triumph of achieving our goal faded like a pleasant dream that is soon lost in the mist. For more than two years fixing things on this boat simply meant I was free to go on and fix other things. Sometimes they were big things, sometimes little things, sometimes more cosmetic than functional things, sometimes more functional than cosmetic things; all things that had to be done before we could move aboard and “cruise”, but cruising was always the plan.

But I have no such plan tonight. Tomorrow I will work on the boat because there is no other thing to be done. There is no going back, but beyond that there is no plan, no hope that the day coming up will be any better than the day just ended, or see us any closer to doing something other than working on the boat. It seems every problem I find is more critical than the last. Is there a problem lurking out there that simply can’t be addressed? I don’t know. In fact, “I don’t know” are the words I speak more than any other these days. I don’t know if the rudder needs to come off or how much of the rudder tube / hull joint is damaged. I don’t know why the battery charger labors constantly, when I’ll find time for the deck repair, if the Boat Show is doable, if flexible solar panels will meet our needs, where I am going to stow three anchors, how to run a dinghy, or where to store the Honda generator. I used to know things. Now there are mornings where I don’t even know where my work pants are being stored or if there is water to brush my teeth. Are we ever going to get closer to big water than we are right now? I can’t say as I know.

It could be this hull breech is just an easy two or three day, maybe two or three week, job. It could be that once it is done we will be back to where we thought we were days or weeks before. It could be we will head south in November or December, or spend the winter here. It could be none of the mentioned.

Hope is lost, but curiosity remains. Can we pull this off? Yesterday we thought we had. Today? I don't know.


Latitude 43 said...

Dude, You are depressing me.

Whenever I think this life sucks, I think of my old office cubicle and the ahole managers telling me how to do things they are completely unqualified to even talk about.

I'll drop Deb off at work and ride in rush hour, seeing the clowns try to kill each other trying to get to the office to check their emails.

I'll listen to Deb talk slowly, rubbing her temples blathering on about a deadline.

I'll see emails from old co-workers telling me they hate me for leaving this rat hole, letting them suffer alone.

I'll then remember how nice I have it when my only problems are boat problems, because there is nothing better than messing about in boats, eh?

I know I shouldn't be offering advice after getting a migraine over propane bottles, but somewhere, someone warned us about all this stuff. Old boats are a lot of work, and full of surprises; especially the bigger models. "if you want to sail economically, buy a smaller boat!" I heard this many times, but Deb can't sleep in a tube, so here we are. You have to know there are more surprises coming. I'm betting the next time we haul out I'm going to start pulling my hair out over my rudder leaking rust. I can just feel it.

If we were in our previous life I would be pulling my hair out over the van needing new bearings, or the roof leaking...

Cheer up! I'll buy the first round when you get here. At happy hour prices of course.


Unknown said...

Tim, It might me time for a witch doctor to shake his rattle at your boat. Just joking. Hang in there, you are sooo close now.

Unknown said...

Tim, Deb, Since Kintala has lived on a Great Lake, and a little lake, maybe Posiedeon doesn't quite recognize her yet. Next time you splash her, have another christening/renaming/welcome to the ocean party. Offer your best and then take in a good portion for yourself. I hear Marker's Mark is good for removing stains like the funk you're in.
I've been a long time lurker and am cheering for y'all. Go rent a motorcycle and drive through morning rush hour in your local metropolis and remind yourself what all the hard work is for.
Keep calm and sail a boat!

Matt Mc. said...

I have hope. But f you winter here, our couch's comfort is yours for the taking. But you won't need it. You'll be on the water. We believe!

But we'll miss coming home to dumplings.