Sunday, December 18, 2016

Best Day Ever!

Grandsons (2) were pretty impressed with Grampa T riding the crane to the top of the mast. They were even more impressed when, once the job was done, Boss New let them pull on the levers that folded in the hydraulic support legs. If you want to see the biggest smiles in the universe, let a little boy run a real live crane. When he does, (and then gets his favorite dish for dinner) he will loudly proclaim that this has been the "BEST DAY EVER!" Who knows, maybe he is right. Maybe, in the sum total of everything that happened in the whole cosmos in the last 24 hours, this was the best day ever. 

By the end of the day I was sporting a pretty good smile myself. Kintala's new inner forestay and much better furling system for the staysail are in place. (Thank you again Mizzy and Brain!)The furling line is run, and a new halyard is rigged and spliced, waiting to hoist the sail. I've done a couple of dozen line splices but, for some reason, went into total brain fade when trying to do this one. After botching several tries (and wasting some brand new line) it was time to take a break and figure out what was wrong with my hand / brain connection. Ditching the written directions and watching a video helped, and the next try ended in success. By the time it was all done the wind had picked up into the low 20s. I was feeling a bit beat in spite of the smile, so decided to wait until this morning to bend on the last of Kintala's normal sailing suit. Everyone on the boat is, more or less, on the mend. Some more. Some less.

The plan is for next week to be my last week of working on the clock for this season. Then all attention will turn to final prep to get on our way. There are still a few minor items to clear; a new bit of exhaust hose and some rework on the throttle will finish up the Beast. The Dink is inflated but the Merc hasn't been run in months, and it isn't likely to run without some TLC of its own. 

Though it is tempting to feel that we are close to getting back to our cruising life, the more years I put in the less likely I am to talk about things that haven't happened yet as if they are inevitable. Arabic speaking religious people, Muslim, Christian, and Jew, share a saying “Inshallah”; “If god wills.” Though I have no god belief I find a good bit of wisdom in the sentiment. We are creatures of the moment. The past fades rapidly into uncertain memory, the future waivers between a guess and a plan.

There might be another bit of wisdom lurking in “Inshallah”. We often choose to do a little bit of evil in the moment with the idea that it will bring a lot of good in the future. And it sometimes works out that way. But I'm beginning to think it works out that way much less often than our fuzzy memory likes to suggest. It may be best to avoid doing the little evils, even with the best of intentions, if at all possible. And if this moment brings a chance to do any little thing that will bring on a smile big enough to light up a universe, well, that is a chance that should always be taken.

Just hours after writing the above I headed out to the deck to hoist Kintala's last sail. Grandsons (2) were excited about helping. We unfolded the sail, ran the sheets, hoisted it aloft, and tugged on the furling line to wrap up this last big project. Tugged on the furling line. Tugged. 

Something was jammed at the top of the sail. Yesterday's BEST DAY EVER ran away laughing as my mood spiraled down, down, and then down some more. We dropped the sail back to the deck and I retired to the v-berth, mostly to ignore the need to come up with a plan. I was just done.

A little later Deb, who was away at the store when all this happened, called from the foredeck. Dragging my cough racked body up the companionway was as big a chore as I have faced recently. It appears a serious downer will give a waning flu a new burst of life. Going forward I found Young Steven, a rigger here at the yard, and Deb deep in debate. He believed he could fix the problem pretty easily, and do it aloft. Just minutes later he was in his climbing rig and headed up the mast, tool bucket in tow. It turned out the fix wasn't as easy as he thought but that didn't matter. He kept at it, spending more than an hour aloft, then dropping the stay where he could get a better grip and angle on the problem. Then he went back up the mast to re-rig the stay. By early afternoon we were exactly were we had intended to be by the end of the day, stay secure and the last of Kintala's working sails in place.

Young Steven lives on his boat part time though, with schooling his primary goal, cruising is just a thought for later. But I think I'll nominate him for honorary cruiser status. His dogged efforts may not have turned today into another BEST DAY EVER, but he came pretty close. 

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