Going through a side pocket in my rigging bag I spied my brand new anchor shackle, I bought it years ago after I was given my Rocna. I picked it up twirling it in my fingers inspecting it’s quality when it hit me. If this is in my bag what the hell is holding my anchor on!?
I Walked up to the bow and my eyes bulged, the temporary $2.99 shackle I got while waiting for my good one to come was still on my bower. I can’t even begin to count how many nights I slept snug as a bug in a rug having all the confidence in the world in my Rocna and its ground tackle. That cheap Chinese piece of shit paid for itself more times than I can count, Sookie bucking and straining as the seas built with the changing tides. My ground tackle has proved itself 100 times over but now staring at that cheap shackle I’m shaking in my Xtratufs I have to leave the dock in a week and that thing will be changed out before I do. Funny how my Rocna is Chinese made and it’s the single most important piece of gear on the boat.
It’s amazing the tools we accumulate over the years, and the ones we drop overboard. Every year winter washes my brain and I forget how everything works, rigging up my chain hook I couldn’t even remember how I had it set up but Sookie has the easiest most fool proof launch and retrieval system of any boat I have ever seen. 30′ of chain is always enough but I’m going to 100′ to reduce my swing radius, I can’t believe how many boats there are here in the summer. 300′ of 1/2 three strand will be replaced with 200′ of 5/8 and I’m good to go. Splicing is easy but between them I always forget how, which is just fine because it only takes a few turns and my hands get back into the groove of it.
My little riggers bag has everything I need to work on every inch of my standing and running rigging. It took me years to perfectly tune my rig to a nuetral helm, it’s one of my biggest accomplishments in life. About a year later after bragging about how Sookie doesn’t have a single once of weather healm a good friend chimed in, as a solo sailor I like a touch of weather helm just in case. Star’s started firing in my brain “damn it” back to the drawing board. Of all the tools I carry in my little bag the most important one is knowledge, not just mine but the lessons handed down by all the masters of the sea that have held my hand through decades of learning. If you don’t do every job with your own hands it’s only a matter of time until you learn how dangerously useless your skills are.
I pull my trusty copy of ocean passages for the world. I could slip Sookies lines while she lays sleeping in our vberth berth, we would could be half way out the straits before she wakes, swashbuckled. You can learn a lot at the dock but the best lessons are learned at sea, she will always show you what you and your boat are made of. It isn’t a matter of if the shits going to hit the fan, it’s when. I need a new Jolly Roger.
“The traveler see’s what he see’s, the tourist sees what he’s come to see.”