Too Hot to Think

My little garage, brimming over with works in progress.

I’d like to say (and think) that the reason I haven’t written a blog post all summer is because I was keeping so busy.  Too much to do! No time to sit down and write!  And while for sure I have been quite industrious (as I’ll get to later), I’m afraid the real reason I haven’t written much is because of the heat.  I mean, it was in the 90’s and muggy as anything for unendurable weeks stacked end-for-end!  Too hot to think, or even to think about thinking.  But it has begun to cool down now, and my steaming brain is willing to be dusted off and put to use again.

A super-strong, versatile toggled strop from Abednego Marine. Thousands of uses in the boat and in the home!
A few of the lashings I did in the spring on the Dyneema nets between the hulls of Finn, a custom carbon trimaran.

Alert readers may remember that several blog posts ago I mentioned the start of our small rigging business, Abednego Marine, coupled with a droll story of where the name came from.  The original idea had been mostly to stand in my garage splicing up strops and soft shackles and all the other neat things that can be made with my proprietary and—ahem!—reasonably-priced aluminum toggles, and sell them by mail-order.  While I expected the occasional off-site job, I didn’t really envision spending too much time on other folk’s boats.  After all, I have a full-time gig already as a garbage barge captain.  But my ideas never seem work out as planned, and early in the spring, while it was still pretty chilly, I was asked (by someone who did NOT want the job) to tighten up some nets on a new trimaran.  It was a project that a week and three hundred tiny individual lashings later morphed into a series of visits to the boat for increasingly complicated tasks, and gave Abednego Marine a much-needed boost, since internet sales have admittedly been a little bit flat.

A new mainsheet for a Gunboat Catamaran. The strops around the boom I had to make in situ, to go through the fixed bails.
Hundreds of tiny dyneema “sail slugs” for the track around the nets’ perimeter. Sore fingers!

But it didn’t stop there.  The world of high-speed carbon fiber multihulls being relatively small, my name was passed on to another boat needing some work; this time a 66-foot Gunboat catamaran whose rigging had been rode hard and put away wet.  It was all in a shocking crusty state, so for the last several weeks I’ve spent a few evenings and several Saturdays lashing, splicing and knotting in the sun, slowly getting it back to shipshape.  Oh, and preparing close to three hundred tiny lashing loops for its set of nets. It’s the biggest project yet for our little business, and has required the next big step: insurance.  Not for my sake, or the boat’s, but for the Newport Shipyard, which enjoins all independent contractors to carry it on their premises.  Now, with so many insurance salesmen in the world you’d think buying a general liability policy would be a piece of cake.  Not so.  “Your business is what?” potential underwriters would incredulously ask Danielle.

“My husband goes to other people’s boats and ties knots in ropes.”

New bowsprit shrouds, seen from below.

Silence, perhaps thoughtful.  Then: “We can’t insure for that right now.”   Right now, several of them said, as if maybe in a week or a month they’d be able to.  Strange folk, those underwriters.  Perhaps it’s that being suspicious, distrustful and vague is what it takes to be in the business.  It took my going to an insurance office in person to explain I was, A: not operating these boats, and B: not juggling chainsaws blindfold while hanging by my teeth from a crane over a corral of babies and pregnant women.  Still, when I managed to secure a sort of half-hearted coverage, it had the usual markup associated with anything “marine.”

This is Abednego Marine’s logo. “Elegance in Rigging” is our motto. Wouldn’t they look great on a mug?

Well, never mind.  In a couple of weeks the policy will be paid off, and Abednego Marine can return to making the money we need to save against winter’s coming.  Better yet, being registered at the Newport Shipyard as an independent rigging contractor might just be good for a few more jobs as time goes by.  Who knows? Maybe I’ll spend half the winter tightening hundreds of tiny lashings in the freezing cold, dreaming of the time when it will again be too hot to think.

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