Posted by: powellpjc | June 7, 2009

They Kick Me When I’m Down


Fire tries gold; misfortune men.


Some days are good, some bad and some days simply try to crush you. Today was one.

It started poorly with a wrong number calling at 6 a.m.

The rain started during the night and my berth porthole was open. This means my bed got wet. This is all by 6:15 a.m.

A technician came out to solder my masthead VHF antenna. It was heavy duty coax and easy to ruin (by the likes of me). We cut the cable 2 months ago to lift the mast off the boat. He took an hour and a half and I felt better about hiring an expert. Then we did a communications check. He couldn’t get anyone to respond and declared my radio suspect. Shit. I suggested it might be his soldering job. That didn’t go over very well. Then I remembered I have a handheld VHF under one of the many massive piles of boat-related shit in the salon. I dug it out. ‘Talk to me,’ I said. He did and it worked. Radio no longer suspect. I asked him to look at my electronic autopilot, an old model that came with the boat. I know they can be unreliable. He turned it on, shook it and declared it kaput. This time I believed him and my mood darkened.

I climbed my mast (in the rain) to examine my headsail and furling mechanism. The sail wouldn’t go up all the way when we first took la Rosa for a sail. Now I know why. The sailmaker cut the sail 4” too long. I must add that the rigger cut the headstay 3” too short. We can spread the fuckups far and wide. I add the third. My new fuel tank seems to be the most likely culprit for my engine sucking air. I found that out today when I fired up Omar the Yanmar and the tiny bubbles kept coming. I spent $600 the other day on labour and new parts and things looked good in the air-sucking engine department but we didn’t look closely enough.

So, my mood, already coal miner black, sunk into the black hole of astronomy. How did these friendly Americans really get that guy up to the moon? A 42 foot sailboat is troubling them at every turn.

I felt let down by professionals. Way down. I went for a coffee and cogitated hard. I am one who is quick to snap and blow fuses but I don’t get discouraged easily. Today I was discouraged.

There are challenges enough waiting for me on the ocean. I don’t need professionals kicking me.

To be fair, the rigger is coming tomorrow to correct the headstay/sail combination; the fuel tank issue will be stared down tomorrow afternoon; the electronic autopilot is not really needed right now and I closed the porthole.

But, it is still raining.


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