Monthly Archives: September 2013

5200 and True Love…

It’s funny how certain memories can slip to the back of your brain for years, filed away so deeply that they’re all but forgotten, yet the strangest triggers can retrieve them instantly in perfect detail. In that moment of catching a few notes of a song I haven’t heard since high school, drifting from the open window of a passing car, suddenly I recall the precise lyrics as well as friends I was with one rainy afternoon so many years ago, friends I hadn’t thought about in decades. It’s something I’d all but forgotten, yet it all comes back to me in with such vivid clarity, as though it had only been yesterday.

Scents are even more powerful. One whiff of mothballs and I’m eight years old, rummaging through the trunks in the attic for hidden treasures. The right combination of a bus passing outside Starbuck’s, and my brain remembers a backdraft of diesel over the transom mingling with the aroma of fresh-ground coffee as we passed the massive neon Maxwell House cup, perpetually dripping that last drop of coffee, glowing like a beacon along the Hoboken shoreline as we motored down river. The scents of sawdust and varnish don’t have any specific moments attached to them, or perhaps it’s that there are so many years of moments that they’ve all blended together, but whatever the case, it’s not so much a single memory so much as an emotion. I smell that smell and my brain switches to ‘happy’.

truelove

So what is it about removing old 3M 5200 from Annabel Lee’s rudder components, a task I’ve been attacking with a pick, thread by thread in endless sessions and feel as though I’ll never complete, that brings to mind my late friend Butch, and leaves me with a smile? It’s not a sound or a scent. It’s a riddle Butch once said that my brain retained as surely as if he’d set it there with that very adhesive. “What’s the difference between 5200 and true love?” he’d joke.  “5200 is forever.”

Brochures for the abnormal boat buyer…

The other day I was looking at some new boat brochures.

No, don’t panic! Don’t think that I’m even considering letting go of my beloved Annabel Lee for something sleek, glossy, and modern. That’s just not happening, especially now that the great deck re-coring is nearing the end. (For real, dear readers! But that’s another post for another day.) No, it was more a case of morbid curiosity. In my eyes these newer boats, with their sloping bows, asymmetrical salon windows and roll-bar radar arches, all seem to look alike, and I’d always wondered what sort of interior lurked inside one of these shiny new vessels.

Well, for the most part it was pretty much as I expected. Page after page of brochure showed nicely dressed beautiful couples and smiling families enjoying perfect weather as their boats skimmed across smooth water. Sunsets, tranquil anchorages, all in the comfort of beautifully spacious cabins. Everything inside is equally as sleek and modern, with sweeping curves designed to maximize every inch of cabin space per foot. More photos showed décor options and extras. Upholstery choices. Comfort groups. Even fitted sheets. Yes, fitted sheets were an available option. But as I reached the last page, there wasn’t a single picture of the one thing I really wanted to see – the engine room.

Apparently, I was told, engines weren’t something the normal boat buyer wants to see. No. Engines, it seems, are low on the list of concerns with a prospective customer making that all important boat buying decision. Fitted sheets, yes. Engines, not so much. It turns out, there are actual study groups, with actual normal boat buyers, (oddly enough, I wasn’t invited,)  to determine what it is new boat owners are looking for in a new boat, and these brochures are the direct result of these studies.

So there you have it. It’s no surprise to learn I’m not exactly a normal boat buyer. Which, I suppose, is a good thing. Otherwise, brochures would have pages of dirty, itchy people, sweating away in paint and epoxy stained clothing, surrounded by power tools and scraps of lumber, rolls of fiberglass and resin. Photos would show core construction, accessibility of fuel lines, detailed diagrams of hydraulic steering systems, and engine rooms galore! No fitted sheets, though. I’m not saying they wouldn’t be nice – just that they’re waaaaay down on my list of priorities, boat-wise.

Come to think about it, I’m starting to see the reasoning behind these new boat brochures.