A dog chasing his tail


A boat is a constant maintenance project with enough pleasure interspersed to keep you motivated to maintain it. We all have that list of stuff that needs to be done, and typically when you cross one thing off as completed you get to put something else on the list. If you are lucky you get a one-for-one exchange.

Commissioning Island Bound this spring was not lucky. For everything we completed we added 3 projects to the list. Fortunately none of it is major or safety related. For example…we ordered a dinghy outboard engine lift to install on the transom of the boat. Kato Marine has records of what our previous owner had installed which he took with him when the boat was sold, so we order that exact same thing thinking that this should be the easiest boat project ever. When I install the lift in the same exact bolt holes with the same exact mounting bracket, it is not perpendicular to the cap rail. I call Kato and they are like “I don’t know how he could have installed it that way and actually used it, but you have exactly the same thing as he had installed” So repair the old screw holes and install correctly. A typical boat project, taking 3 times the effort and time that you expected.

Example number 2…we wanted to inspect the anchor chain before we launched the boat. As we start pulling the chain out of the deck pipe Tricia sees evidence of the chain chafing against the windlass motor as it moves in or out of the pipe (for our non-boating friends, a windlass is a mechanical device that grabs the anchor chain and as it rotates it pulls chain out of the pipe or puts it back, thus lowering or raising the anchor – saves a lot of manual labor). This is really not good! Using my inspection scope I can see that the paint is worn off a bit but no major damage is done. So we start racking our brains as to how we can alter the path of the chain to avoid the windlass motor and finally come up with a possible fix. Problem is, to get into the small space of the anchor locker you have to be able to detach your arms from your body, climb in, and reattach them so you can do the work while you are crammed into something the size of a trunk of a Ford Escape. Sounds like a job for Super Tricia!

Today is another prime example. Last week we tried to put the dodger and bimini canvas on and several parts of the stitching around the zippers ripped out. A couple of months ago we took the new dinghy outboard motor in for a recall and when we picked it up there was damage on the engine cover gasket from where they put another outboard next to ours and screwed up the gasket. They ordered a new part and we could pick up the outboard in the mean time. So Tricia was sewing the bimini and dodger while I went to pick up the outboard, and the truck won’t start. So I use the charger that I have (thank goodness) and get the truck started enough to go and get a new battery. Then I pick up the outboard, and magically the gasket is back to it’s original state. So good news!

Meanwhile, all day the wind is blowing 15 knots and the sun is shining and we don’t get to push off the dock until 4 PM. Such is the life of a boat-a-holic. It is very characteristic of a dog chasing its tail…you figure that one of these days you are going to catch up, but you never really get anywhere. I guess that is why happy hour was invented!

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