May 27 2008

Pride and Slapdowns

Tag: boat work,musings,route,tripsmattholmes @ 6:13 am

At 6pm wednesday afternoon, as we were sailing out of the Berkeley Marina, there was substantial reason to be proud of ourselves.

We had replaced all of our standing rigging–the very important wires that hold up the mast–by ourselves. We had replaced the bearings in our supposedly unmaintainable furler (“Profurl bearings are sealed and can’t be replaced,” said the rigger at Svendsen’s) by ourselves. We had sanded and painted the bottom by ourselves. We had replaced the through-hulls and added backing plates ourselves. We had repaired our delaminated rudder by injecting epoxy, ourselves. We had glassed over damaged areas of the keel, ourselves.

None of us had ever done any of these things before, never even seen them done. Without tooting our own horn too much, some of these jobs are a hell of an achievement for inexperienced guys like us. Things like getting the rigging to fit perfectly the first time, and creating beautiful through-hull seacock installations, and replacing sealed bearings are almost always jobs left to the professionals. We did it though, and we are FAR from professionals.

But above all else we felt proud because at 6:30pm on Wednesday evening we were heeled over and hauling ass on a close-reach, pointed directly at the Golden Gate Bridge, just before sunset, in 20 glorious knots of wind with waves splashing over the bow and down the deck. We felt proud because we had done all of our yard work all ourselves, in just two weeks and were already in the water, headed for our slip ready for us in Emeryville.

Now for the slapdown part. Right when you’re feeling on top of the world, like you pulled off some sort of sailing coup d’etat and maybe this whole thing isn’t all that hard after all . . . that very moment is the perfect time for a dose of humility.

Continue reading “Pride and Slapdowns”

May 24 2008

Jonny and Matt have all the fun, and what I’ve been doing

Tag: musingsJonathon Haradon @ 10:28 pm
Three months ago, when we were contemplating having our boat trucked up from Mexico to San Francisco, we picked the last week of March, because it was my spring break, to go down and get the boat ready to truck up. Unfortunately, that week didn’t work for the haul-out company; tides were too low. So Matt and Jonny got to go down to the boat two weeks later, work their butt’s off, get to know our boat, and have fun. Me? I got to sit around and do a whole lot of nothing, and a little bit of school work. So, to make up for this, I decided to take a week off from work to be in San Fran when the boat arrived so I could work MY butt off, get to know our boat, and have fun. Alas, this effort was also thwarted, as our boat arrived three weeks late in S.F., exactly one day after I departed. It was left to Jonny and Matt again to have all the fun, do all the work, and get to know our boat better. I feel a smidge guilty about all of this, like somehow, my not contributing to all the effort is somehow my fault. And I definitely feel behind in learning about various ins and outs of our boat, nuances, and feel pretty clueless, while it seems like Jonny and Matt know everything or are at least learning everything. Continue reading “Jonny and Matt have all the fun, and what I’ve been doing”

May 19 2008

I’m broke, but happy

Tag: boat work,musingsjonny5waldman @ 4:00 am
You can tell it’s been a good week by looking at the contents of the big rubber trash can next to the boat: beer bottles and coffee cups and cans of beans, rubber gloves and dirty rags, rusty screws, burnt-out light bulbs, old bearings, bits of corroded wire, paper bowls lined with epoxy residue, stiffened paint brushes, three empty paint cans, three dremel bits worn down to the nub, two broken drill bits, and one broken dremel tool. The broken dremel was our first tool casualty — I burnt out the motor while sanding the old paint off of the propellor. It popped, then stopped spinning, and then a few wisps of smoke snaked out of it. It was bound to happen, and I’d been kind of expecting it since meeting a guy in Mexico who broke half a dozen grinders in the process of refurbishing his Norwegian steel-hulled boat. So Matt went out and bought a new dremel, which we immediately put to use by grinding down a couple of our new backing plates. So far so good. We’ve gotten very good at buying tools and parts; in fact, my mental map of this new place I call home consists mostly of places to get them. I used to know intuitively how to get to bike shops, bars, restaurants, friends, and parks. Now I know how to get to five local hardware stores, a screw manufacturer, a bearing distributor, a plastics place, a sailmaker, and three chandleries. It’s worth noting that at Svendsen’s, the best chandlery around (particularly since, as new boat owners, we get 40% off everything), I can name most of the staff. Continue reading “I’m broke, but happy”

May 16 2008

Tingling with giddiness

Tag: boat work,victoriesjonny5waldman @ 5:59 am
I sanded so much today that my fingers were still tingling 20 minutes after I put the sander down. My shoulders ache, my hands are sore, and if you were to ask me to pick something up off the ground, the manner in which I’d bend over to do so wouldn’t be very graceful. It reached 90 degrees here today — probably a record — and I spent most of the day in a full-body Tyvek suit, with rubber gloves and a face mask on, while holding a 10-lb sander above my head. My hair is matted with sweat, and my shirt (the same shirt I’ve worn all week) is a little bit stickier. My fingers are covered in blue dust. So are my feet. And my hat. And my cheeks. I’m about to go take a shower at Matt and Karen’s place, and am contemplating taking a bath in Gojo instead. How much work was it? I’ll put it this way. After two hours of sanding, and little to show for it, I asked Nick, a yardworker more or less my age, how long it takes him to sand a 40′ sailboat, to see if I was on track. -Nick: “Oh, I’m lucky. I hurt my shoulder, so I never have to sand any boats, because I can’t lift my arm above my shoulder. I can’t even do a pushup.” -Me: “How’d you hurt your shoulder?” -Nick: “Surfing. But I can still surf.” So the guys who work here, the guys who get paid to do work: they dislike sanding to the extent that a personal injury seems like a blessing. Continue reading “Tingling with giddiness”

May 12 2008

My first week on the boat

Tag: boat work,musings,victoriesjonny5waldman @ 7:07 am
I’ve worn the same pants for a week now; they tell the story of the last seven days — my first week living on the boat — better than I. Embedded in them are bits of caulk, epoxy, and grease; stains of sweat, salt, snot, and blood; smudges of pasta sauce, wine, and melted chocolate; metal filings, fiberglass strands, resin shards, and saw dust. It’s been a week. I haven’t shaved. I haven’t washed my hair. I’ve been washing dishes with my fingers, pissing in a bucket, drinking wine out of the bottle, and sleeping sound as a baby. If tools are like pets, and they enjoy being petted, or maybe just held, ours are very very happy. I’ve kept vice grips in my back pocket most of the time, and relied heavily on a screwdriver, crescent wrench, hammer, tape measure, and awl. I’ve alternated between the drill, dremel, grinder, and jig saw as if they were pens and pencils, occasionally using a drill press and a die grinder hooked up to our compressor. Continue reading “My first week on the boat”

May 11 2008

Two days of work

Tag: boat workmattholmes @ 3:31 am
Jonny and I have worked moderately hard for the past two days and I am astonished at how much we have accomplished in just 20 hours. This is what we did. We repaired the rudder delamination by injected epoxy and filling all the holes. We did all the keel glasswork also–sanded the crack, scrubbed epoxy into the lead, glassed over the crack with knytex (thick and sweet fiberglass), and filled all the holes I drilled to drain it. We repaired the “smile” at the leading edge of the keel the same way. We removed the 5 seacocks and through hulls that will require various glasswork and/or backing plates. We drilled a new hole in the mast to reroute the wiring in the bilge, and a new drain slot. We removed old wiring up the mast, pulled off the steaming light fixture, and rerouted a wire out the mast at the steaming light. We entirely dismantled the furler (jonny already had done most of this already). We located the wiring failure in the bilge that was plaguing the steaming light. Jonny pulled off the bow pulpit backing plates. As Jon previously explained, every single job, no matter how infinitesimally small, turns out to require a hundred unforeseen steps. Doesn’t matter how small. Drilling a hole. You think it’s easy? You’re wrong. Because the bit isn’t right for the metal, or there is a wire behind the object that might be punctured . . . or . . . . or . . . or. I don’t even want to go into it anymore. But it’s fun. It’s really fun. You see a problem, you figure out how to solve it, you solve it, it feels good. Repeat. Feel good again. That’s why it’s fun. The video shows jonny fiberglassing the “smile” at the leading edge of the keel, drilling a new hole to reroute the wiring exit from the mast, and removing the engine exhaust through hull which was for some undecipherable reason located below the waterline.

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