The sun is setting on another perfect day somewhere but here it’s just rising. My life is a product of its design and it’s almost all mine. In six weeks I get kicked out of the marina for the summer, a good thing in my book. I pour a pinch of whiskey in my coffee and survey my surroundings, I’m the only human in the marina. My life is stretched, my constant drive for financial freedom has taken its toll on me. I package up all of my project books except for Sookies log book. I flip through the pages, they are far better than any book I have read but unfinished.
The morning was spent going round and round on my new anchor rode, another year of 1/2″ by 300′ of three strand with 30′ of 5/16 chain. I’ve been staying on top of my boat bills but this month has been a real killer, the joys of owning a traditional sailboat. I’m still working on the boom design but it won’t be from Le Feill… if I can’t pull it off by the end of the month I’ll push it to fall, Sookies going to Port Townsend or Bellingham for the winter but I haven’t flipped that coin yet. Water tanks, stove, restitch all my sails till the new ones can be cut, cushions, lighting, solar, it never ends.
I stop everything, crawl into my quarter berth and take a nap. The stainless steel backing plates will be here by the middle of the week which means I’ve got lots to do. When I replaced Sookies standing rigging my budget fell short so I rebuilt her lowers instead of replacing them, their done. Add new lowers and inner and fixed backs to the list, six weeks, shit. I haven’t even begun her annual maintence but Im almost ready to start. At some point I have to pull Sookies pintles and gudgeons which means another gallon of bottom paint and through hulls, add that to list also right next to lifelines and boom vang and after send watch to Switzerland for cleaning.
My electrical panel is failing rapidly as are all the switches to my light fixtures. Lots of gel coat work also, all those tiny cracks in the corners are growing fast up here form all the moisture, the longer I wait the more it will cost. All the cover boards need to be re cocked as do the bullworks. I plan my day’s and the hours of the day around the weather. You can’t push it, these things can’t be rushed. Properly maintaining a boat like Sookie is easy but every season I’ve pushed projects back so I could sail and it’s all caught up to me. Oops, dingy pump and oars, flares, my Herschoff is close but I don’t have time to get it, maybe that should be my priority. A quick pb&j with a big glass of water and I’m off to find where I stored my varnish, paint, brushes, sand paper, steel and glass polish, it’s all here somewhere.
A package arrives is the mail, it says peanuts but it’s a new down poofy, an early b-day gift from my big bro and my now most prized possesion. It’s blue and squishy and warm and crazy light, perfect for travel, perfect for PNW spring sundowners and perfect for bike touring. My taxes are paid, my slip rent is payed it’s all payed. 16 years ago, standing in my office with my face pressed against the glass dreaming of a better life as the snow fell. Face shaved, hair cut neat and combed wardrobe from the cover of GQ. All I wanted was to live on a small boat, to live a slow life attached to an island to have time to sip my coffee and ponder life. I traded my leather attaché for a canvas tool bucket. My gold watch for a steel one and my fancy leather shoes for dirty bare feet.
The boat smells of fresh teak, stinky boy and black coffee. My feet are filthy, my hair is sweaty and covered in saw dust, my hands dark with grease and sealant. I should be doing many things right now but I think a glass of whiskey with the sunset and the realization that dreams can come true but they won’t come looking for you. Sixteen years ago I had a dream and made it happen, there is a new dream in the making but just like everything in my life it can’t be rushed…