I never seem to accomplish as much as I want or intend. But it has been a busy couple of weeks with smatterings of progress here and there. I feel perched on the cusp of a breakthrough with a flurry of progress just around the bend. I'm always going to go at my own pace, my own way. And some days time with friends just seems to trump tackling projects.
One project that has morphed is replacing my port screens. When the weather does not require air conditioning (or heat), I would prefer to open the ports and get ventilation in the boat, especially to help with the ongoing battle against condensation and mold. Unfortunately, every single screen is torn, some to the point the cats use them as doors. I planned to use screen material given to me by a friend and replace the screening myself. In my research on how to tackle the project I found a diagram of an exploded view of my ports. It turns out the frame for the screen for my ports is an important component, in conjunction with the gasket, for keeping water out. My gaskets also appear very old and dried out; I would not be surprised if they are the original installation.
I called Beckson and explained that I might be interested in screens and gaskets, but did not know what model ports I had. The customer service folks there were very helpful and walked me through determining the correct model, putting in the order, and giving me a discount (the price came out to about what I would pay at my local chandlery with my discount there). Six gaskets and six screens came out to $155.40 with shipping. The screens and gaskets should arrive any day now. Putting the gaskets in can be a bit difficult, so I'll have to pack my patience the day I tackle the installation. Down the line when the budget is not so tight, I hope to get a couple Internal Rain Shields. The internal rain shields include a screen and then have plastic louvers to keep the rain out but still allow ventilation when the port is open. They run a little north of $50 apiece. My plan would be to install one in the head and one in the port across from the head, though I am tempted to also install them on the forward ports in the stateroom, since the v-berth would be more comfortable with that ventilation.
My boat fixing-upping mission continued with a trip to Fawcett's. I bought a small Gill dry bag to use when out on others' boats and for when I use the dinghy. I wish I could find one with slightly shorter, wider dimensions and a shoulder strap so it could just be my purse. Found the somewhat elusive lightbulbs for my running lights so I have back-ups. Bought silicone to seal up the air conditioner and to create a new gasket for the fridge. The fridge is leaking a lot of cold air and condensation is constantly forming a puddle on the counter along one side. I have to pick a time I'll be gone and won't need to get in the fridge for a while so the silicone can set. It should really have 24 hours to cure, so I may move essentials (i.e., beer, yogurt, and string cheese) into a cooler for a day. I will definitely include a post and photographs when I tackle that project. I picked up a little sign for the head (see photo below), but also made and laminated one with detailed instructions on how to use a manual marine head and what not to put in there.
I knocked out a quick fix that should have been done long ago... chafe guards for my lines. The bow lines especially have suffered some serious chafe. The old water hose I have was too narrow, but the extra length of sanitation hose was perfect. I quickly sawed it in two, slipped the lines through it, and positioned it on each fairlead. Now I just hope it doesn't chafe on the edges of the hose.
Along the way I had a friend over for dinner and cooked up some delicious stuffed chicken breasts and risotto. You may drool over photos and grab the recipe here. I really need to get the dinette cleared off so I can have more friends over for dinner; I love to cook but cooking for one is difficult. It is much more satisfying to cook for friends; sharing good food, drink, and company is what life is all about. I made some additions to the galleyware since a couple of glasses have broken along the way. Two clear shatterproof pint glasses should come in handy and I love my new wine/cocktail glasses from govino.
A friend and I tried to take the dingy out for a sail, but alas, there just wasn't enough wind. My friend rowed us out toward the channel, but with nothing catching the sail, we just hung out a bit checking out other boats and then rowed back to the dock. I should have taken a bottle of wine so drifting along a bit would have been more of a relaxing sunset dinghy cruise. Here are a couple shots of Tenderheart rigged up.
Although I haven't made as much progress on boat projects as I would like, life has been busy and I continue to make realizations about my priorities and values. One interesting discovery is that although I love being out on the water, my priority right now is on fixing up the boat rather than learning to sail. I enjoy the problem-solving and troubleshooting of the myriad boat projects and, Cancer that I am, I like tending my nest. I want to learn to sail, but to me it is a replacement for motoring, a way to save fuel, a way to get from point A to point B; it is not an end in itself. That may be one reason I find racing uninteresting. I want to cruise so I can have drinks on the hook, get to some secluded cove to snorkel, or find some destination to explore. I know many sailors will find my perspective sacrilegious, but it's my journey, not theirs. I live aboard to be on the water, to be rocked to sleep by the sea, to have the freedom to move, trying to escape the trappings and oppression brought by land, government, and society.
But as much as freedom is a priority for me, I realize that I am unwilling to apply it as liberally to relationships, love, and sex. Some say I am too uptight in this regard, but my view is that my body is a temple, it is a VIP room that not just anyone can get into. Though there are times it would be nice to have more physical companionship, I would rather keep my heart and my body aligned and hold out for something real and meaningful. It is hard to find someone confident, rather than arrogant, at ease in their own skin, able to share themselves and truly connect with another, heart, mind, and body. But he will be worth it when I find him. I just have to be less trusting, more circumspect, not entrust my heart so easily to floppy-haired sailors who think the sea is full of mermaids.