The Labor Of Love, And A Launch For 2017

I have to laugh when I think of the popular view of sailing as a leisure activity for folks who wear ascots or sport Hermes handbags. It may be that way for some, but for those of us “Good Old Boat” lovers, it’s literally a labor of love. (By this, I really mean lots of hard, physically and sometimes mentally demanding work.) This year, I will be the first to admit that I was overly ambitious with winter/spring/early summer commissioning, putting in well over 100 hours of time attacking the following projects:

  • Sand entire bottom to remove flaky old hard Pettit Trinidad paint
  • Repaint hull with Total Boat Krypton ablative antifouling
  • Remove all original instruments (wind, speed, and depth) and wiring
  • Replace with all new Raytheon wireless wind, speed, and depth, and rewire nav sender
  • Discover – to my horror – significant cracks in the stringers athwartships in the bilge area
  • Grind out said cracks to see how extensive they were
  • Abandon all hope of self-repair and take the boat to Ted Thurston at TNT Auto & Marine for some serious fiberglass work, including on the transom from last year’s piling knock
  • Check and repair/replace lighting (swapping out old lighting to new LEDs), which involved soldering (which I am not the most skilled at doing!)
  • Replace and rewire fuel tank sender unit, as the old one was on the fritz and we were judging fuel levels by estimating engine hours-to-gallons (not very accurate, esp. motor-sailing)
  • Install a new mainsail, new lazy jacks, new lazy bag system
  • Reconfigure the 1997 Hood Sea Furl furling headstay, replace broken centering assembly, adjust length while the rig is standing (a major, major PITA requiring two stout men to do it)
  • Replace punctured (due to age/dry climate) Whale Gusher Urchin diaphragm
  • Replace all the locker elbow latches inside the boat
  • Replace the Shurflo twist-on pipe strainer on the water pump under the sink
  • Repair flag holder assembly that had worked loose on the stern of the boat
  • Replaced worn-out oar locks on our Walker Bay dinghy
  • Re-veneer woodwork in the salon that was damaged from some water infiltration (thanks to dried-out porthole seals) due to our 2x-normal wet winter (and yes, I need to replace those seals!)
  • Clean up edges of bottom paint along the boot stripe by hand, with acetone and a rag
  • Wash hull twice, wax with cleaner wax, and polish to a gleaming shine

Long story short, I am exhausted; my entire body is sore from the effort, but I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished. A million thanks to my brother-in-law Tracy, the engineer, whose brilliant mind and ability to trouble-shoot almost anything mechanical never ceases to amaze me; to my friend Michael Salley for letting me use his industrial yard to work on the boat this spring; and extra-special thanks to Debbie, to whom I gave two bouquets of flowers on the eve of launch day this year – the first bouquet for putting up with me for being a cranky bastard for the past four months, and the second bouquet as a hedge against my being a cranky bastard in the future.

The good news, though, the boat is finally in the water at Tahoe, and sailable as of last night, June 24, at 6 p.m. It’s the latest start we’ve ever had. There is still some fine-tuning to do on the lazy jacks and lazy bag, but she looks good; I feel confident that all systems are working great; and I can’t wait to actually sail her and enjoy the feeling of gliding across the water to our favorite gunkholes around the lake. To summer and sailing Lake Tahoe!

Fair winds and smooth sailing. DB



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