Saturday, July 5, 2014

Summer work

The summer project list on the boat started with a modest little task. The "cup holder" at the helm is really a beer-can-in-a-cozy holder. Fine if one drinks beer from a can in a cozy. We don't drink anything from a can but Coke and Ginger Ale, and even those normally make it into a glass with ice and rum before needing a holder. Under way the helm is usually stocked with cold or hot drinks, as appropriate, in stainless steel thermoses that are tall and skinny. When Kintala heels over they fall sideways, threatening to tumble over and make it all the way to the deck with a crash.

In addition, our little Garmin Chart Plotter is mounted on a ratty looking articulating arm clamped to the binnacle tubing and blocking the handhold at the top. It has always been awkward and, during a helm change while banging around in 6 foot seas the other day waiting out the thunderstorms, Deb got caught in a lurch and very nearly suffered a nasty fall grasping for the non-existent handhold. (I always wondered where the phrase "caught in a lurch" came from. Now I know.) Why not get into "project" mode with an easy, one day modification we have been talking about for months?

A project which actually started yesterday, consumed all of today, and may get finished by noon tomorrow. When completed the drink holder will have been disassembled and deepened enough to hold a thermos secure even when heeled. It will also sport a shelf to mount the GPS lower and to starboard. There it will be easier to see, easier to tilt and twist when the person at the helm sits outboard, and with the control buttons an easy reach for us right-handed drivers. And though the relentless heat and humidity make varnish work a hit-and-mostly-miss affair, it will still look way more "shippy" than a wonked-up articulating arm backed up with zip ties. Best of all the the top of the binnacle will once again be a secure place to grab a hold when moving about the aft part of the cockpit.

And though I have to admit Cooley's Landing has (so far anyway) fallen far short of the customer service bar set by the staff of the Dinner Key mooring field, this place has a lot of serious work going on. A couple of slips down the diamond plate is coming off the bow of one boat to repair a soft deck. Palm sanders sing during the day from other slips, and various bangings and clankings echo out across the New River pretty much all day long. Kind of a surprise given the ritzy digs surrounding the place. It seems a bit like a hobo village nestled in the middle of Wall Street.

Three different people have introduced themselves as marine techs, including one who has agreed to help get The Floating Bear back in something nearer to ship-shape. He seems like a good guy, introducing himself by saying, "My friends call me Camper".

I had to tell him that, while we might be friends some day, right now he is a "marine professional" working on a family boat. I will make pretty near an instant and good friend with anyone who has shared the suffering of dealing with the marine industry's technical side. And indeed, the folks at Oak Harbor are friends I am looking forward to working with again next year. But so far they have been the exception that makes the rule. I will be really happy if we manage to survive both hurricanes and "marine professionals" during our summer in Florida.

This place is a popular "hurricane hole" so I think our chances are pretty good of getting through unscathed. Not guaranteed, but pretty good. Getting through unscathed by a "marine professional" is a whole other matter. But we are going to give it a shot.


Latitude 43 said...

Don't drink from a can?! You are missing out on the fine taste of an ice cold PBR! ;)

Deb said...

@Paul - haven't you figured out yet that Tim's a bit of a beer snob???

TJ said...

Beer snob? Me?

John Clark said...

Ah the dilemma for the ages. Is life too short to drink cheap beer? or Is life too short to pay too much for beer?

Matt Mc. said...

Beer snob here, but even I think there's a time and a place for a PBR, a Natty Boh, or an Iron City.

Also - can't wait to see you guys up our way next year!