Activity is a Virtue

I had reproached myself on more than one occasion last winter for leaving Ganymede in the water rather than hauling her out like she deserves, especially when friends helpfully sent videos of her bucking and plunging in the horrible SW gales that racked New England five or six times.  But we were just moving ashore, and money was needed elsewhere.  In the end she came though unscathed, though with her docklines in rough shape.

Ganymede at the yard
Ganymede’s bottom, sanded and ready for new paint

This winter, though, we’d put by enough to have her hauled out—for the first time since we were preparing to sail to Newfoundland—and give her a rest and a dry-out and a much-needed bottom job.  After some shopping around, we decided on the Borden Light Marina in Fall River: the same marina where we’d left Capella, so long ago, to return to California and build Ganymede.  It’s a casual, friendly  mom & pop place, where they don’t mind you working on your boat, and will give you a lift to the gas station if necessary.

We have been enjoying a mild late-fall so far, and though it was the last thing I felt like doing, I took a sander and a heap of 40-grit out to the yard last weekend and sanded her entire bottom to a nice, paintable surface.  It took less than four hours, which was surprising, and though I could probably sand some more, if I don’t get to it won’t matter.  I did get unbelievably dirty, and emptied an amazing amount of dust out of the catchment bag with every change of paper.

The gaff jaws I’ve talked about in previous posts are done, and with some provisional leathering are ready for testing next spring.  I also decided to strip the aluminum gaff, which was starting to show spots of yellow primer through the paint, and leave it bare.  Now that I have bare aluminum on mooring bitts and tabernacle, it might as well match.  The mast, whose paint is looking chalky, worn, and missing entirely in high-chafe spots, will have to wait till next winter.

One final thing I did for winter storage was to install a solar-powered exhaust fan.  Being unwilling to cut any holes in the deck or house, I simply removed the pie-plate skylight from the forehatch, built a quick fiberglass cap to fit over it using the pie plate-and-melamine method used for making the trim ring, and installed the vent in that.  Now there will be a small fan moving air around all winter, hopefully keeping things from growing stagnant inside.  In summer I’ll simply clap the skylight back on when sailing, and the vent if leaving her on the mooring for a while.

In landward news (we are officially landlubbers now, after all), much of our energy for the last few months has been directed at trying to buy a house.  In the long-term plan, barely visible in the fog of the far future, house ownership plays a pivotal role.  But houses are expensive beyond belief in New England, and the best we could do was a tumbledown cottage in some festering swampland in West Greenwich.

Little Cottage in the Big Swamp
The cottage we almost bought.

In the end we couldn’t even manage that, since the mortgage company, minion of some vile gangster named “Freddie Mac” (I’m not making this up), panicked at the last minute and pulled the plug.  In their well-meaning way, people keep telling us that Swamp Cottage would have been a disaster anyway—no one who looked at it had said anything other than that it oughtta be torn down.  Of course, they’d all said the same thing about Capella, which we sailed to South America and Maine; point being: hopeless projects are our specialty, and the more naysayers we can prove wrong the better.  Still, what can’t be helped must be endured.  So we wait, pouring gobs of money we’ll never see again into rent, and unable to build a boat-shed in the yard, re-configure the inside of our house, or really do anything meaningful for the long-term.  And if you can’t even get started on the big plan, when will you ever see it through?  Sure, patience is a virtue—but activity is a better one.

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