Sunday 8 February 2015

Doing Time in the Yard - Peter

Liam and I have been at the boat for a week today. We are still 'on the hard'. That is, we are still a boat on stilts in a dirt yard. 

What is wrong with me that I cannot remember people's names. I tried the trick of repeating a name back to the person after I have been introduced, but it does not help. Hi, I am Bob. Nice to meet you Bob, etc. etc. I can talk to someone day in and day out and not remember their name. Liam remembers - "were you talking to Frank?". Who is Frank I ask. "Oh my god, you talk to him every day, I remind you of his name everyday". It is difficult holding a conversation with someone that you have spoken to for days and in the back of your mind know that you have no clue what their name is. 

There are some people here in the yard that I can remember their names, but not many. There is George. George is a nice old timer. He lives on his tiny sailboat, and as far as I know he has never had the boat in the water and does not have any plans to. He comes down every year and spends the winter on his boat, on stilts. He knows everyone, and everything that is going on in the yard. 

There is Minnesota. I remember his name because Liam heard that he was from Minnesota and so we call him that. Don't know what his real name is, but I don't have a problem remembering him as Minnesota.

Ted (his real name) I have met every time I have been down here. He is working on his 50 foot wooden boat. It actually looks like it is coming along. Unlike a number of other boats here that have been worked on for years, if not decades. 

We have been here too long, in the boatyard. I am feeling the inertia settling in. A couple came down the other day, a day after us, and have already launched their boat and are gone. That is the fastest I have seen anyone launch. The couple on the boat behind us came down mid December. They tried to fix one thing, then they would find something else that needed fixing. They have to be home by April 1st. They are not sure yet if they will launch at all this season now. 

Still, it is better than many. When I stick my head out of the hatch in the morning there are a number of silent sentinels perched around us like vacant ghosts of someone's abandoned dream. Boats that have not moved since I first came here what, over five years ago now. They have been packed away, as though left for the season. The owners went off and have not come back. The boats are now soulless avatars perched on stilts like heads on a stick to warn off other would-be dreamers. 

When we arrived back at the boat we went to sleep at night hearing the dogs having their barking session, or as George said, having their "dog wars". In the morning it is the roosters screaming out as though they know today is the day they are getting their necks wrung. "The dogs have been attacking the baby sheep" George said. I have not heard them in the last couple of days I said. "Oh, they put out poison the other night to get rid of them. Just as well, they were starving anyway". 

Minnesota likes his beer. I am not sure what he does. He is relatively young - 38 - for the marina. At that age most guys here are just passing through. Minnesota isn't going anywhere soon I don't think. "Hey, you should come over for a few beers" he said. "We are going to get a drunk on n' go carousing". Carousing I said, where are you going to do that around here? "Oh, I don't know, maybe some of the old guys will let their wives off their boats tonight...". 

I had to change the transmission. If there is anything I have put into this boat to ensure that I do not have to worry about it, then I can feel pretty confident it is going to break. The engine, three times, the rudder, twice. Now the transmission. It was new five years ago. They are suppose to last for decades. In any event, I had to put a rebuilt one in. I thought it would take me days. I was pretty impressed with myself when I had the old one out, and the new one in within six hours, though it is pretty much just a heavy Lego job.

Later I climbed down the ladder to do an inspection thinking we could get the boat in the water in a couple of days, I found a problem with the rudder. It was full of water and had delaminated. The rudder I had made five years ago. Three years ago it had fallen off the boat. Now it needs fixing again. It is either time or money, or just something to try to forget. "Oh, just F&*king go sailing" said Dustin. Dustin is the guy two boats over - at least that is what Liam and I call him. "Just call him Dustin, Dada, he looks like Dustin Hoffman". OK, I said. And of course I remember that. 

Maybe we'll just go sailing with the rudder as it is. Last year was the windlass, this year the transmission. Next year can be the rudder. Hopefully it won't break. That sounds fair to me. Liam wants to get going. He has his heart set on running along the beach in Punta Chivato. A beautiful deserted anchorage we were at last year.

Liam and I watched the Shawshank Redemption on the computer the other night. Good movie. Tim Robbins goes to prison for a crime he did not commit. He just wants to run off to Mexico, but spends over 20 years in Jail, walking around 'the yard'. I bumped into Minnesota at the washroom this morning. "Hey, if your kid is getting board just have him swing by my boat. I have a bunch of porno mags he can borrow...". 

Hopefully we will make our break before we give everyone in the yard a name I can remember.

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