Monthly Archives: August 2008

And just when you think it’s safe to go back on the water…

The dogs have new life-vests, the weather’s superb, and my calendar’s clear of any obligations. So why is it that rather than sitting up burning the midnight oil writing away while anchored at Croton after an afternoon spent scrubbing the waterline and swimming under to inspect the prop, I’m instead at home, high and dry, surfing the web for information on repairing a Maxwell windlass. Yeah, well, I’d say it’s pretty obvious, and it yet again ties into that whole 31 year old slightly neglected boat equation. The engine’s running fine (knock on wood), the steering’s doing just what it’s supposed to, (knock that wood again), but it seems the windlass decided it was time for some attention. The motor seems to work, though the control circuit’s acting funky, and the whole system operates only in the ‘down’ direction. We could drop anchor, but that’s where it and 200 feet of chain would stay. Tomorrow we dissect and see what’s going on inside. With any luck, it’s something minor and repairable.

Another low-speed getaway…

Annabel Lee is back on course, running (knock-on-wood) fine, with both rebuilt helm pumps performing beautifully. Words can’t sum up how great it felt to be out on the water, under way once again, and neither can the pictures I may or may not get around to putting online. As per the laws of Murphy, word came this morning that the new helm pumps are in transit to us at last.


No, the new helm pumps didn’t come in.  And no, we have no idea when they ever will. But after weeks of hunting down a spring here, a gasket there, and countless other tiny bits of discontinued helm pump guts, Frank rounded up enough to take a shot at rebuilding both the 700 and 701, as well as the ram. It was a messy, fascinating process, but in the end it all went back together, back into the boat, and after bleeding the system out, everything (knock on wood) seems to work. Turn the wheel on the bridge, the rudder turns! Turn the wheel in the salon, the rudder turns! By time we were finished, we were too tired and too dirty to consider heading out; that’ll have to wait a few more days.

One thing down, two to go.

Beware of falling eels…

Life is so strange at times. Good strange at this moment. Forgive my vagueness, but specifics have been omitted for reasons I will elaborate on in coming weeks. But not yet. Things are still in discussion stage, then decisions made, and I haven’t crossed that bridge just yet. This could be very good, it could work very well for me, I just want to be certain, so I’m proceeding cautiously and doing my research first. It’s funny, when faced with a major decision, how you find yourself looking for a sign. You could go straight, you could take a right. Up ahead, the road’s blocked, and arrows point your direction. Turns out it’s a left, and I wasn’t even thinking of going that way, but maybe I should.

This morning I go down to the boat before work to do my usual check-overs, run the engine a bit, and stir up some mud. Part of the routine is after running under load for ten minutes, I drop back to neutral and let her idle for five before shutting down. While she’s idling, I do a walk around, checking everything from waterline to bridge. So I’m up on the bridge, and pause for a minute to admire the view of the river. Three gulls swoop overhead, screaming at one another, and THHUDDDSPLATTTT!!!! (Emphasis on the SPLAT!) There’s a big, fat, very dead eel laying across the bridge deck two feet away from me. Based on the slime imprint, it landed a few feet further away, and BOUNCED to its final resting place. Well, not entirely final. I still had a paper towel in hand from checking the oil, so I picked up the deceased eel and tossed it into the river. I might have been more grossed out if I wasn’t laughing so hard.

So… is this some sort of sign? I’m still trying to figure how to read into it. Interpretations, anyone?