I’m afraid Luna’s brightwork got the best of me. Call it “varnish anxiety”. Its a real thing! As much as I worked toward it, her brightwork exterior was shaping up to be a losing battle. In some respects it resulted from poor product selection (8 coats of Le Tonkinois finish didn’t), but honestly I was short changing the time she deserved. Initially, my reaction was to sail the boat (boy can she) and forget about the shine, but that is no way to treat a beauty you’ve been given stewardship over. While I had improved some things: new sails, engine, cabinetry, etc., her varnished edges outside her full length cover were taking a beating. I had considered finding a barn to house her until some other projects got out of the way. Ultimately, I elected to put Luna on the market hoping another would look after her now. Not surprisingly, the first prospective buyer who laid eyes on her became the next steward. He’s retiring, will have more time and, I believe, earnestly wants to take this lovely vessel on. The new owner lives only 30 minutes from where Luna was moored. Perhaps, as some consolation, I can look forward to seeing her revived and all dressed up once again. I hope so.
Here is our last sail together. Bittersweet to say the least.
There’ve been a few sails I’ve left out from June. Had some fine sailing with Peter and his Caledonia, Nip, in Kinsale. Also, a nice midday sail was had with Randy in his William Garden Eel. However, we’ll start here and maybe work back to the others later …
After several days together, the tail end of the family (wife, youngest boy and dog) went home. Just me and Luna took a sail up river Independence Day. It was a hot afternoon, yet the breeze was steady. Avoiding the still air going directly downwind, we jibed back and forth across the river stirring some air upon us. We were the only sailboat out. Even motorboats were scarce. Maybe threatening thunder clouds squelched enthusiasm? They were around, but missed us altogether, scudding out over the Bay. As a result, the sun was blanketed before official sundown. The temperature drop was welcomed. So was a bucket dousing of sea with a fresh water rinse. All then was pleasant. Swimming would have been preferred, but I’ve yet to find a suitable boarding ladder to my liking. With margarita in hand I sketched on a solution that’s been fulminating. It is for marine ply “slot and tab” construction so storage can be flat and under the cockpit seat out of the way. I’ll build it when Luna is hauled next. Requires scribing to the hull. Hopefully soon. Her varnish suffers, but life is short. Sailing must go on.
The standing mizzen directed a nice breeze into the cockpit. Another margarita added to the party of shuffled tunes. Dinner was made with Top Ramen and cold cucumbers pickled earlier in the week.
Dusk brought random cracks and fireworks popping along both shores. At 21:00 the “big show” at the local high school set off for nearly 20 minutes. Those were glimpsed under the mizzen boom and off the starboard bow Yorktown’s display rumbled and peered above the distant tree line. Toward the end a motorboat idled maybe 50 yards off filled with maybe 10 people. One of the crew cackled incessantly for several minutes until there was a splash. Apparently she was pushed. The mother of this swimmer then shut down the cruise by unleashing a tirade into the “captain” that would make any sailor blush. Thought I knew all those words. I do now. After that all was quiet as they slowly motored off. We were alone again, in the dark. A good sleeping breeze drifted below and by 23:00 we were sacked out and did not move until 05:30.
Wiping the dew from the cockpit, we breakfasted on raisin bran and fresh coffee as the sun appeared. Luna requires hardly a breath to move, but even that was absent. The outboard started easily but kept quitting above an idle. Suspecting bad fuel and/or a clogged injector (found it to be both a couple days later. Running fine again), we motor sailed back to Luna’s mooring at an idle. Tying her cover is easy from the dinghy and we row the seventy yards home. Glad we went.
Happy New Years! Today I took Luna from her mooring and berthed her at a nearby marina with floating piers, just until winter subsides. The thought of leaving her alone, in a cold howling storm, out there on her mooring and not being willing nor able to go attend to her prompted the move. She’ll appreciate the shore power to keep her battery juiced for the bilge pump. She does weep slightly. And, the secluded marina does provide some added shelter.
So, was this the last boating of the season or the first of the year? I don’t know. The temps were unseasonably warm, 63 degrees and generally overcast. It was good to be out on the water. I miss it so quickly. A forlornness settled upon me as I rowed away from Luna. Perhaps for both of us. Back across the cove and on shore with skiff in tow, I came upon 2 dandelions seemingly out of touch with the season’s portents. They offered some hope that three months might pass speedily. It does so more and more. Soon enough, boatyard rituals will begin anew. Meanwhile, we’ll dream of new paint, varnish and that first overnight cruise. Till then …
The week between Christmas and New Years is traditionally our time to winterize boats. The wait until Spring was once an eternity. Now, it rushes by, and yet I easily recall cradling my baby girl as we steered our Pearson “Emily” from the leeward rail. Oh, how her blue lights scanned the view. Now that she has a choice, I’m glad she’ll still come along. Hopefully Wednesday wasn’t this year’s last opportunity …, but we know the window is closing. Our wonderful picnic sail is one I’ll long treasure and savor until warmth returns. Here’s a short minute of the day.
Apparently Luna narrowly escaped. Tuesday night was rough in our backyard. High winds blew over the temporary shed. Without the weight and anchor of the trailer, it was merely a matter of time. Just glad it wasn’t last week as I moved the boat in and out of the shelter. This made disassembly easier.
The table saw under the blue tarp took a beating. All repairable, but its a rusty mess now. I think it took me 2 hard days to erect the structure. In only 2 hours a hammer and cordless drill put the whole thing away. Now maybe we can get some grass planted in its place.
Luna now floats and is much happier. So am I. Who could blame her? All boats lose their dignity on the hard. I’ll make it up to her. We’re going sailing a lot this summer.
So much of the “now” is fake, demanding attention, here today, gone tomorrow. As I’ve wrestled to get Luna water ready, furtive thoughts pry, “Is she worth it?” This morning I brushed on a second coat of Petit Trinidad ($250/ gallon paint. Only 1 needed). Yesterday’s coat was rolled and tipped. Got to get that extra fraction of a knot? No, but darn if it doesn’t look better. Wetting the cooking driveway hopefully delays the planks drying. So much to learn about true wooden boats. Loading the mast and installing road supports for tomorrow’s trip east takes no small effort, a two-man job. Glad I have sons to help. Conceptually many simple task s have taken a week of days. In this hurry-up world, is she worth it? There’s varnish yet to be spruced. Yet, she is going back better.
“Worth” for me all comes down to passion. Not the task to get there, but the reward for the effort. In two nights I plan on enjoying the evening with Luna … somewhere … at anchor, dreaming about distant horizons. Nothing is more divorced from our hectic world than floating in a loved boat. For that joy, I owe so much to my mother. She allowed me to spend so many hours in a boat as a child. I was hooked at an early age. My soul is rooted to the bottom of a boat. I can’t shake it. Don’t want to. This is real. Thanks Momma. I love you-
Somewhere, some time ago, I read that an unused boat suffers more than one put to use. This is true.
Several weeks ago I began the process to get LUNA to water. We’ll try a mooring for her. That “official” process was a genuine pain. Too much government and all run poorly by design. Anyway, my little boat “suffered” 16 months under cover in our back yard. Despite occasional watering below the waist, a canvass shed with ground floor, her cedar planks had opened to the point where caulking separated from planks. This was in part due to the nature of the wood, but mostly from life out of water. I had reefed seams before, cotton caulked those needing it and payed all with Interlux brown seam compound three years ago. After talking to well known Maine boat builders Alec Brainerd and Doug Hyland, I determined to take a slightly different tack. Both recommended the same brown compound but split 50/50 with roofing tar. This should be more pliable and sticky.
Alec went further in giving better storage design:
“… I would recommend adding walls and a roof to your shelter. The side and back walls can be boards or plywood or whatever and should be spaced 4″ up off the ground for ventilation. The roof needs to be insulated with something like 1″ blueboard, and then congregated metal would probably be least expensive. Light color materials are best for both walls and roof. Put vents in the gable ends of the roof but no windows anywhere.”
Now I have impetus to start a boat barn.
LUNA does have a new dress topsides, her name is crisply set, the battery monitor now works (missed a wire before. Ashamed to admit I stared at that wiring diagram too long) and she now has a bilge pump counter. That will be crucial as I plan to keep her on a mooring. In this push, many small details are getting don. As I get her back in shape, I remember why I fell in love with her. She is such a beautiful boat. Launch is in 10 days. Much to do, but all doable. More later-