SeaKnots

Before heading off to work on Friday I packed my stuff for a weekend on the boat and stowed it in the car; gym bag, toiletries and laptop.  At 5:30 I check out of the office and headed east towards New Bern, stopping briefly to fuel up at Sam’s Club.  Arriving at the dock it was still light out as I loaded my gear in a dock cart and proceeded to the boat.  Climbing aboard I settled in after a quick check of the bilges and other routine tasks such as opening the thru hull valves for the engine and head.  I ate a cheese sandwich for supper and walked up to the Captain’s lounge to see if anyone was about.  It was empty so I looked over the book lending library and spotted a Jack Reacher novel that I thought I’d like to read.  Back aboard I listened to NPR for a bit and then hit the sack.  I read for awhile and then shutting off the reading lamp in the aft cabin I snuggled beneath my sheets and fell asleep.  The creak of the mooring lines and the gentle motion of the boat woke me about 0300 so I got up, made a quick head call, poked my head out of the hatch and looked around.  The wind had picked up quite a bit but everything seemed secure so I went back to bed.  Come morning I remained in bed relaxing and read for a while, played a few rounds of Mahjong on my Kindle Fire, checked the weather, read some more of the Jack Reacher novel and finely got up.  I had a large list of boat chore to attend to but the wind and rain was going to keep some of the thing restricted to inside the boat.  I put on some water to heat and got out the oatmeal, powdered milk, and a tea bag.  While the water was heating I turned on the laptop and searched out the IRS site to see what I needed to do to pay them off.  Seems I have to fill out some forms and I’ll need some numbers to do that which are all back at the house.  With one final payment left to send to Kenny, who loaned me most of the money for the purchase of the boat, I’ll own it free and clear by the end of this month.  With that out of the way I’ll be able to pay off the IRS quickly and still have some money left over to start making what I think are upgrades and fixes needed before heading south in the Fall.  If we dodge the hurricanes this year I’ll have the boat out of the water at Duck Creek to clean and paint the hull with antifouling paint.  The good stuff costs about $230 a gallon and I figure it will take at least two gallons to do a good job.  I want it to last a couple of years before I have to haul it out again.  I had talked with a local sail and canvas man about taking a look at my main sail this weekend so I gave him a call to pinpoint a time.  No luck, just an answering machine.  It was 9:30 by the time I finished breakfast and the light rain that accompanied the wind had stopped so I drove over to Hurricane Jack’s to see if I could catch the sail dude.  Sign on the door said open at 10:00 so I sat listening to the radio in the car.  Lots of folks stopping in to check if Jack’s was open yet.  At last they opened up but the sail guy was not coming in for a while so I, feeling a bit frustrated, drove up to road and bought a turnover and a cup of coffee to go.  Back at Jack’s I ate my apple turnover and sipped the coffee.  At eleven he still had not shown up and was not answering the phone so I drove back to the marina.  Tim yelled at me from the office but I couldn’t make out what he was saying so he just waved and went inside.  Me, I walked down to the boat and started trying to unfasten the straps holding the folding dinghy to the port lifelines.  I had just finished that and had moved the dink over thinking that I could slide it over the railing to the dock and get it set up there.  I went below and started moving the dinghy seats, transom, and fasteners to the cockpit when Tim came over.  “What’s new and exciting”, he asked.  I told him about the dinghy project and he confessed that he had seen them around the Bahamas but had never taken a good look at one before.  Then he asked if I had any plans for lunch and would I like to go get some.  I gave his invite a brief consideration and said I’d be glad to join him.  On the way up to the parking lot we came upon Dave, the dock master, and I asked him if it would be alright if I moved my boat to slip B77 a little farther in and closer to some more of the live-aboards.  He said sure no problem.  I asked Tim is he would be willing to give me a hand tying up and he agreed.  After lunch we returned to the dock and after I got the engine started and some mooring lines rigged up on the starboard side and a couple of fenders hung there as well, Tim helped me cast off as I backed the boat out of the slip and maneuvered it around to head north up the channel between A and B docks.  My first try was a bit off so I spun the boat around in the channel and made another run at it.  This time I was spot on and brought the boat to a complete stop right where I wanted it.  With Tim’s help we got the mooring lines set and the shore power cable hooked up. I was ready for a nap then so I went below and crashed in the solon.  I woke up some time later and could hear folks up at the Captain’s lounge deck talking and it looked like a cookout was going on.  In as much as I hadn’t taken the time to shower that morning I didn’t feel much like being social so I ate the leftover half of my lunch sandwich and was going to internet for a bit.  I switched on the AC electrical panel and an alarm went off somewhere, so I shut it off and the alarm stopped.  Thinking that the power cable had not been connected properly I set about checking all the connections.  Trying the power again I got the alarm going off once more.  I doubled check the connections to no avail; I still got the alarm.  Now the thing had worked at the other dock so I didn’t think the problem was on my boat so I went looking for Dave to see if there was a problem with the dock power tower.  I ran into a fellow who had helped me with some electrical concerns earlier in the year and told him what was going on and asked him if he would take a look.  He came aboard and had me switch a few things on and he determined that the alarm was on the dock, not in my engine room as I had suspected.  He borrowed my circuit tester and poked about in the back of the electrical panel and said there was a ground fault somewhere but he didn’t know where and it was beyond him and suggested that I talk with Patty and Pet about it as they knew a better electrician then he was.  Now, I don’t need AC power because I can do most everything on 12 volts and I have a inverter if I really need 120 volts for the laptop or the phone charger, but my house batteries are old and need replacing so I don’t want to use them up before I get enough money to replace them.  Oh well, bed time and I don’t need to be messing about on the computer tonight anyhow.  One of the joys of owning a sailboat is that there is always something that needs fixing or some sort of maintenance to be done; kind of like being in a relationship, if you know what I mean.  I went to bed and started reading the Jack Reacher novel again and before too long it was midnight and I forced myself to put it down and turn off the light.  Light coming in the hatch above my bunk convinced me that it was morning and I needed to get up if I wanted to get busy.  First things first, I went up and took a shower.  Back at the boat I did the oatmeal and tea thing again for breakfast.  I then got busy rechecking the power cable connections again and noticed a bit of corrosion on some of them.  I got out some small wire brushes, a tiny file, and some emery paper and busied myself cleaning them up.  Tim came by to see what I was up to and he took a look at what I had going on.  We messed around with the system for a while with no luck, but he didn’t like the look of the 50 to 30 amp reducer that I had on the end of the shore power cable.  He said the connectors inside were too small and might not be connecting right.  He had checked the continuity of everything and it seemed good.  Pete, from across the dock brought over another reducer and we hooked it up.  Turning the power on the alarm didn’t go off so we thought we had it fixed.  With that out of the way I got busy moving the dinghy out to the dock and then got the seats and other stuff moved out there as well.  The dinghy is a “fold boat” and it has four long panels that fold out, with the seats and transom holding everything in shape when it is all put together.  Following the directions I pushed the starboard side out while standing on the two port panels, it was much harder than I expected.  Bending over I tried to lift the starboard outer panel up but it too was very hard to do so I got a hold of the wooden bar that is supposed to facilitate the unfolding process and place one notched end on the starboard gunwale and wedging my right calf against the thing to keep it open I bent over to pry the port side panel up thinking to wedge the wooden bar in it to hold the two sides apart while I installed the seats.  I was unsteady standing inside the boat with one side pressing against my leg and just as I got a hand on the port side the boat tilted and the panel I was holding with my right leg catapulted me clear out of the boat onto the dock.  I landed on my knees and almost went off into the water.  With a grunt I got to my feet only to see blood flowing down my right leg.  Wincing in pain and some chagrin at the comedy of the whole fiasco, I went below to patch myself up.  Back on the dock I studied the situation and decided that if I sat down on the left sides and used my legs to push the right side open at least if it popped me out again I’d not land on my already damaged knees.  Pressing with my legs I got one side open and then sliding my butt forward I reached behind me to pick up the other gunwale and wedged it up to the middle of my back.  Pulling the wooden bar out from under my legs I set the two gunwale rails in the notches of the wooden bar and carefully stood up to survey my progress.  Out of breath I returned to the boat and got myself a cold bottle of water from out of the ice box.  Parking my butt in the shade of the bimini I pressed the water bottle against my forehead and then took a long drink as I leaned back against the cabin to catch my breath.  Finishing off the water I got busy installing the seats and the transom.  It was a little more difficult than expected but I finely got everything situated correctly and dragged the dinghy down the dock next to my boat.  I took a fathom of line and looped it around to seat in the center of the boat thinking to use one of the halyards to hoist it aboard when my cell phone rang.  It was Marina and she invited me over for dinner.  Now I had planned to spend another night aboard but I couldn’t pass up a chance to spend some time with my daughter and son-in-law so I agreed to meet her at her house around 5:30 or so.  It was about 3:30 so I needed to get a move on if I were to be ready to leave at 4:00.  I got a wench handle out of the lazaret and undid a halyard from the rail and fastened it to the line I had attached to the dinghy.  Cranking away on the winch I hoisted the dinghy to just above the lifelines and then lowered it to the foredeck. Tim came along and helped me flip it over which I thanked him for.  With the dinghy aboard I hurried up and secured the halyards, gathered up my gear, shut all the thru hull valves and locked up the boat.  I was hot, sweaty, and tired as I trudged up the ramp to the car where I dumped my gear in the trunk and started my drive back to Goldsboro.  I am so looking forward to spending a whole ten days aboard the boat at the end of this month.  Maybe I’ll make a little progress on those boat chores that I never seem to get all done.

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