Now What?

It’s been an interesting day. Now that both I and the sellers have passed the point of no return–the signed originals of closing papers should be here early this week–the boat is mine. I don’t yet have the captain’s letter that allows me to move it, paint it, do whatever to it, and it will take a few weeks before I have all the papers in hand–title (which will supersede the captain’s letter), USCG registration, Mexican TIP (Temporary Import Permit). But I have it insured, and no one would stop me from selling something off of it or starting to work on it. In fact, I’ve already had a rigger look it over and begin to tune it, with more work to be done this week. For that matter, I could be living on it.

I remember when Clinton clinched the Democratic nomination the first time. (For those of you too young to remember, he was a dark horse until late innings.) After the nomination, when asked how he felt about it, he said something like, “About how a dog feels when he actually catches the car he was chasing: Now what?”

I’ve been thinking about this and reading about this, mostly from an armchair perspective, for a good couple of years now. A bit longer than that, if you count youthful fantasies and, more recently, a summer-long diversion into dinghy sailing. And I realized today that a part of me never really believed that I’d actually do it. A fairly large part, apparently. So I’m actually slightly in shock. Now what?

I woke up this morning feeling energetic and well, looked at my to-do list, and didn’t see anything that looked urgent, and more or less decided to take the day off. OK, arguably I needed a day off, since I’m only just now getting back to full strength after a bout of dehydration, fever, and a touch of la turista. Even though I’ve been sleeping well, I took a nap. Okay, I did some laundry and cleaned out the fridge and did all the dishes, but mostly I laid around reading fiction and playing solitaire. All good.

But I also realized just how little I know about what I’ve gotten myself into. About lunchtime, I thought, “Wait, when I put diesel in it the other day, I didn’t put any algacide in there. How long does it take for algae to start to grow?” So that’s on my growing list for tomorrow. And somehow I will have to get the boat from the marina to the boatyard. I could probably manage it myself on a calm day, but I will probably opt for the security blanket, this first time, of a mentor riding shotgun.

I had been planning to spend a night on the boat this weekend, just to make it seem more real, and may do that still, but traffic to the marina has been cut off all day by a triathlon. So that probably won’t happen, but I’m OK with that. I’m content to just let this sink in, start anew with my research and planning and lists, and wait until the boat is ready for me to move aboard permanently (as soon as the paint is dry, about mid-April). Then I can stop camping and start putting things away where they really belong, start taking care of all the little things that need to be fixed or mended, or figured out, or hooked up, or unhooked, or added, or subtracted. And oh, right, I need to line up some folks for a renaming ceremony.

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Starting in the Middle

I couldn’t start this site until I settled on a name for the boat, and I couldn’t do that until I’d met the boat and bought the boat. So now I find myself already in the middle of the journey. Much has already happened, and much–hopefully the best–lies ahead. Later, I hope to add my notes about how I got this far. And, of course, a record of what happens from here on out.

After a protracted wait for the Miskatonic to be returned from the hard to the water for the sea trial, and then another wait for weather conditions for the sea trial, the finish line lurches into view. I signed off on the surveys and the sea trial, and made final acceptance, yesterday. The paperwork can now go forward, and soon I will have a captain’s letter in hand, to be followed in a few weeks by the title and the USCG documentation. This Monday, rigger’s schedule permitting, some rigging issues will be attended to and the rig tuned. She will be hauled in a couple of weeks for bottom paint and topsides paint. At some point the mast needs to be pulled to replace the coax for the VHF antenna. Then back into the water and it’s time to move aboard.

The sea trial was short but satisfactory. As much as I want to see how she sails in a good wind, I was even more interested to see how she does in light airs, given all the naysayers who insist that a WS 32 won’t begin to move without 10 knots of wind. Just not true. She was doing 2-3 knots in 5-6 knots of wind, with no attention to sails or trim. I’m confident she will be just fine (for me) as I go through the sail inventory and get to know her better.