Jan 26 2009

Summertime Flashback: “Jon, you’re scaring the guests”

Tag: boat work,failures,humorousJonathon Haradon @ 2:19 am
“Shut it off!!! Shut it off!!” I screeched, sounding much like an excited 16 year old girl. I was half excited and half  terror-stricken, because something dramatic had just gone wrong with the engine. This was 6 months ago, when I was hellbent on becoming Syzygy’s primo engine mechanic. The engine is a mystery to me.  I love working on it,  learning about it, figuring things out, but in the end, most things that would be good to know about an engine, like how tightly to crank down on a bleed screw, are a mystery to me. Continue reading “Summertime Flashback: “Jon, you’re scaring the guests””

Jan 19 2009

Zero wind, plenty of fun

Tag: tripsmattholmes @ 4:13 am

Jonny and I managed to get the stanchions reinstalled, and the water pump replaced, in time to sail for the weekend.  It was a beautiful day and we had a large turnout, but no wind.  After having to bleed the engine again (three times in three days–there’s an air leak somewhere, you think!) we motored out beyond the last channel markers, tried to sail, gave up in zero wind, and floated around in a lake of nearly still water.  It was a balmy San Francisco winter day, and I didn’t hear a single person complaining about the lack of wind.  After an extended period of non-sailing due to constant boat work, it felt really good to have Syzygy in sailing shape again.  And maybe next time we’ll actually have to use our sails (they’re just up for show in the picture–or to be honest just because we were too lazy to put it away).


Jan 13 2009

I gotta do something to keep me busy

Tag: humorous,musingsJonathon Haradon @ 7:35 am
Matt gets to take apart and fix the engine. Jonny gets to work with the outboard. Matt enjoys the satisfaction of fixing our heater. Jonny enjoys meandering around the marina in Cabron, our dinghy, and saving other sailboats that have run aground. Jonny and Matt are currently enjoying what they described as ‘near tropical weather’ and are planning on going sailing Saturday. I sit at home while it’s 20 degrees and miserable out. It’s approximately 148 days, 10 hours and 30 minutes until I leave Denver behind for good and join them in San Francisco. In the meantime, I’ve been trying to keep my not-so-astounding handiness skills (and here. and uh.. here) from getting too rusty. So I’ve been looking for various things with which to tinker. Along comes my dishwasher. Continue reading “I gotta do something to keep me busy”

Jan 04 2009

The deep-down urge to tinker

Tag: musingsjonny5waldman @ 6:21 pm

A few days into my 10-day Thanksgiving vacation a strange feeling arose. It was an urge to tinker. A force within wanted me to repair, fix, build. Of course, I’ve always been the restless type, never a fan of lazy vacations or Sunday movie marathons. But this urge was so physical — like I needed to hold tools in my hands lest they curl up and wither — that I had to wonder if the sailboat thing hadn’t changed me.

So I went with the urge. I climbed up onto the roof of my folks’ house and did some caulking. I fixed a part of the roof with my dad. I cleaned the gutters. But this was just regular maintenance. I still yearned to build something, and the opportunity that presented itself came in the shape of… a bird feeder.

Continue reading “The deep-down urge to tinker”


Jan 04 2009

Day 6 of 30

Tag: boat workmattholmes @ 7:15 am

I’m on roll, I don’t have any work until feb 16 and I’m working on the boat, and I’m on a roll, because there’s stuff, so much stuff, to do. I dropped karen off at the train station for work every day before sunrise this week, and arrived at the boat before dawn, very cold, and worked all day, short or even no lunch, many espressos. Sleeping well. There is a lot to do.

We need to save money for our trip, so being out of work feels discouraging, so I feel the need to be extremely productive on the boat, because there’s stuff that needs to get done on the boat no matter what, and if I’m using my time to fix up the boat then it’s okay that I don’t have any work. Right?

It has been cold and rainy all week, and leaking depressingly into the boat. I worked like a dog and slept like a baby every night. I don’t know that I have that much work to show for my efforts. I have no standard by which to judge, and no one to look over my shoulder and pat me on the back. Most jobs spawned unforeseen baby jobs. I hate those baby jobs.

I know that I am making progress, I know that I have been enjoying the work.

Though I have been enjoying myself, tomorrow I may rest.


Jan 01 2009

The comforts of home (a welder)

Tag: boat workmattholmes @ 3:27 am

A few heavy metal pieces of the Monitor windvane needed some welding (for strengthening and repair), so the holidays came just in time–I packed them up in my checked luggage and flew home with them. 

My dad isn’t a professional welder, but as a farmer he welds frequently.  Stainless steel is finicky so it usually requires a TIG welder; my dad has a MIG setup on the farm and the stainless wire he picked up was too thick besides, so it was a challenge.  The welds didn’t turn out very pretty, but it works, it’s strong, and the price was right.  Thanks to dad for helping us out, and props to him for making it work even with difficult conditions.

Below is a few seconds of footage of me grinding back the welds in the shop.  I wish I had some footage of the welding, but I forgot to grab the video camera.