Spring is here and pale faces are beginning to emerge from their houses and enjoy the fresh air. With the winter cover finally off my boat, my mast up, and my lines cast free from the dock, I can feel a sense of freedom that, like the buds on the trees, is beginning to open up and reveal its charming face.
Yesterday I awoke to the sunshine streaming through my open hatch and the sound of the ocean lapping at my hull. And as I bobbed gently up and down on the waves, I thought to myself, “Yes, I live on a boat…. finally!”
From the cut of my jib one never guesses that I liveaboard and sail my own boat. Just last week after telling a colleague that I lived on my boat, she began asking questions like, “How long have you two lived aboard?” or “Where are you guys keeping your boat?” So yesterday, as I rowed ashore, dressed for the evening work of hostess; my hair curled nicely and my shirt pressed, I watched the four men on the dock staring me down and I wanted to shout, “What?! Have you never seen a gal row herself ashore?” …But I didn’t.
Twenty minutes later I was working on my new dinghy, appropriately called “the dirty dinghy” as it had sat in a friend’s backyard for years before I acquired ownership. I scrubbed, sanded, and repainted it inside and out.
Then I repaired a hole, added new rails, and even painted the name, “Peanut” on the transom. For the finishing touch I covered the entire rail with canvas padding. That last step required nearly eighty screws! Pressed for time, I called two friends for help.
While waiting for their arrival, I continued with my work and began chatting with a woman who was out walking her dog. “Wow, How do you know how to do that?” She asked. “Do what?” I wondered as I was only screwing in a zillion screws with the screwdriver. “Whose boat is that?”
“What do you do with a boat like that?”
“I’ll use it to row out to the boat I live on in the harbor.”
“You live on a boat? And you have to row to it? How often?”
“Wow. What if it is raining?”
“I’ll put on a raincoat.”
“Who helps you?”
When Kevin arrived I handed him a screwdriver and moments later realized that I should never assume a man knows how to use one. Two screws later I decided that I was better off doing the work alone. So, when Katherine and her friend Scott arrived, I asked, “Do you know how to use a screwdriver?” “Sure”, she said, “Where are the nails?”
After the dinghy was finished, Scott, Katherine and I launched it. It floated, and I jumped up and down with excitement!!! Katherine was eager to give rowing a try so she and Scott hopped in and I rowed a different boat. A few minutes later I was shouting to them, “Would you like me to tow you?” “No thanks,” said Scott, “I’m going to row now.” Now I know I can never assume a man can use a screwdriver or row a boat. But chivalry never dies, and so I allowed them to float on over, without a tow.
Onward I go, to hostess. I meet a lot of interesting people hosting at the restaurant/bar that I work at and last night was no different. A charter boat captain was telling me all about his fancy boat and the wedding and honeymoon charter cruises he does. So, I told him that I’m a sailor too. “Great,” he exclaimed, “because I’m looking for a crew member, and you would be perfect.”
The woman with him turned to me, got a little to close, and whispered, “If he wants you to work with him, you should because he is so interesting.” And then, leaning in closer, she said, “And he is not one of those pervert types. I’m serious! You know what I mean. He really is not a pervert.”
“Sure,” I thought.
And Mr. Honeymoon Captn’ said, “I’m looking for a new crew member. You really would be perfect because the job isn’t just about pulling on lines. I need a crew member who can cook!”
good job, keep up the good work, my wife and I were wondering where your at, what are your up coming plans, I also read you want to know about solar panels, well we have installed and been using ours for 5 years now and if we can help ask away.
We are glad your back. Yes – we’ve discovered a number of colorful characters at the marina.
Did you ever overcome the condensation problem?
Katie – Sovereign
I am enjoying reading your accounts T. I am a singlehanded sailor for about 23 years now in New England and your account resonate with me. Now it seems second nature to me, but all the “firsts” were anxiety filled and your blog brings all then psychic energy back to me – the good and the stressful.
Although I did study traditional sailing and navigating skills I am now relying in the high tech devices which I find makes sailing much less stressful. For example I can’t imagine not having a strong reliable autopilot and an electric windlass with chain. Anchoring is so important to being able to have a restful sleep and the windlass has become by friend. My autopilot – Alison – is another best friend who lets me do all sorts of things while underway, freeing me from the tyranny of the helm, allowing me to enjoy and take care of business – navigation, cooking, repairs, relaxation, and feeling the joy of sailing.
Your story is an inspiration.
Just came over to read your blog after seeing you post on sailnet. I’d invite you to read my blog and website when you get a chance.
Are you gonna do it? Can you cook?? You’re title made me smile- have you seen this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOvaCV6uQp8. Good work on the dinghy. Miss you, T!
I always thought “Gal” was a Baltimore thing…
another classic entry in the adventures of Ms. Simplicity!
A screwdriver is a simple tool, sure. Rarely breaks down. But – using a cordless drill/screwdriver really makes a job like putting in 80 screws almost fun. It is one of my most often used tools and really makes life easier. It wouldn’t even be too difficult to rig up a solar recharger,(get two batteries) and all those tedious little jobs on the to-do list will get done faster, leaving more time for sailing.
I get mine from Harbor Freight stores; cheap and almost disposable, but I get about three years hard and constant use out of one. At less than $30 it is a must for your toolbox.
Sis, I really look forward to reading your blogs! I think you are amazing and I am very proud of you! Talk to you soon. Love you.
@ Peter: You honestly don’t think I do not have any power tools, do you? With all the work I’ve done already, of course I have a cordless drill/screwdriver! But using the drill/screwdriver to fasten the canvass padding wouldn’t have worked in this case. But thanks for the tip!!!
@Alicia: Thanks, Sis! Miss you! Will you come sailing with me this summer!!!!
@Katie: Well, I never overcame it, but I managed it well. Thanks for asking!
@Patric: Yes, solar panels. Thats my next project and I’m just starting the research.
So glad spring is in the air! What a wonderful way to wake up, huh? Not to mention the wonderful sleep you must be getting.
Glad your dirty dinghy is all fixed up, too. That’s reassuring.
Loved loved loved your blog. Keep us posted.
You’re very much missed. . .but you better watch out, you just might get more than you bargained for. . . .can’t you just see a bus load of your family pulling up to go sailing!!! How cool would that be.
May all your dreams keep coming true.
You’re always in my heart, my thoughts and my prayers.
I love you very much.
Didn’t even ask. . .how’s Dory doing?
you might be interested in this site for small boat “long distant” cruisers: Sailfar.net…
I found your blog a couple of days ago, and now it’s one of my favorites! My husband and I are trying to save up and pay down debt so that we can go cruising in 4-5 years. Everyone thinks we’re nuts, but we’re determined. Sometimes I wish we could leave tomorrow!
You’ve got a great writing style. I look forward to reading more.
Absolutely hilarious! Hope you can laugh at it too. People never cease to amaze me. Cheers from Belize. Keep at it.
We took the shrink wrap off our boat last month and we’re going down this weekend to do some sailing. It was this exact same time last year that we bought our boat in Boston and sailed her to Annapolis and the weather was awful!! We are hoping for better this year. And as for men and tools? My fiance (while in his bathrobe) once watched me wire the tail pipe back onto my car and after I was done he told me he would have done it differently!!! And he’s still my fiance. I hope you like your job, after a night of ‘restaurant work’ it should be a relief to get back to your boat for some peace and quiet.
Found your blog and have enjoyed reading it. I write for the examiner.com and featured your blog on a live aboard blog article I wrote. http://www.examiner.com/x-489-Seattle-Boating-Examiner~y2009m4d24-Blogs-about-living-aboard
Glad to see you made it through the Winter. I was pretty excited to get the shrinkwrap off and the season underway. Looking forward to you stories.
Great blog! I Love the idea of the canvas around the gunnel of the dingy I am thinking about sewing, light leather /suede side out( which I rescued from an old chais lounge) around my mooring line eye splices I think it will give my dock something a bit different from all the others, as well as “keeping my hand in” :o))
I met some folks who had their cat in their kayak with them. The cat had this PFD http://www.ruffwear.com/Portage-Float-Coat?sc=2&category=694
They told me that it’s designed for dogs, but that model comes in XXS so maybe it’ll fit Dory!
It’s been over a month, please give us some new updates on your life!
Are you still on the boat?
Gosh , You must be a busy sailor, as there are no recent updates on your blog.
Hang in there, as there will be time to update us, sometime in the future.
It is the daily update contact that we miss so much,,, as we buzz around the airwaves, on the internet !
Your personal direction is worth your while to try to follow,,, can you do that ????
Douglas , Singapore