I don’t really know how to answer my parents when they ask me if my upcoming voyage is safe. I’ve never lied to them and I don’t want to start now but trying to explain this lifestyle to a landlubber is like trying to teach flight to a worm. On the plus side they have more or less reluctantly supported every hair brained venture I’ve set out on and there are too many to count.
I can hear an admirer outside Sookie so I pop out and invite him aboard for a glass of scotch, it’s crazy good stuff my friend Elise dropped of for me when I was playing Tarzan up in the hills. We started talking about boats and designs, after a complete tour he smiled extending his tin cup for a refil asking if she was insured. I had already pointed out the rebuild of my mast, my rocna, the new bow Sprite and boomkin all the fittings, the whole boat. I stared blinking at him like I was looking in a mirror. He took a sip, I took a sip, he lit his pipe, I lit my pipe and then he asked me again adding “I know she’s a seaworthy vessel”. When I gave him my answer his eyes bulged, Stormy, a craft like this in her current condition is worth nearly 90k, the replacement would easily double that, “one asshole is large enough to sink anyboat”. “To me she has no monetary value, she is just my humble home”. And with that he offered to survey her for free, more scotch was poured.
“Most people buy the last mans bankruptcy, poorly designed boats built by amateurs and maintained by madmen” he went on, and on and on till the bottle ran dry. His old blue eyes wandered down Sookies sheer as he walked away, “I’ll bring the bottle when we write her up, order those rudder fittings, I’m not going to lie for you”. I tapped my pipe on the bull rail and climbed inside, we had been sitting in the rain for two straight hours, thank god for my wool sweater.
When I purchased Sookie I literally took her apart, the only things I haven’t replaced are her rudder fittings, electrical panel, a few bits of rigging and her deck to hull fasteners. Sookies hull is fiberglassed to her deck but the cap rails need replacing so in the spring when I do this I will also refasten her deck which will be just about the cheapest and easiest project I have done to date. When I think about safety at sea, it’s the boat that comes to mind first, followed by my sea faring skills and lastly the things I wish I had but may never, like a life raft, Epirb and emergency water maker.
Every coast guard rescue at sea that I’ve seen with a sailboat involves a boat that appears to be sitting fine in the water with no signs that it is going to sink, mast still up and it makes me wonder…
“If you aren’t afraid you just don’t know all the facts” Gordon Yates, Taleisins Tales