Thursday, October 18, 2012

Whether Windows

The most frustrating thing about all-things-boats is that everything depends on weather and whether…

With sailing, you wait for the right weather windows to take a passage.  You try to time things so that you get the best conditions for the type of sailing that you’re doing.  Be it a daysail or a long passage, one waits patiently for the right window.  Ironically, this is also the case for the rest of the damn boat stuff.  When doing boatwork, one waits patiently for the right weather and whether window.  Whether it’s going to rain or not so you can paint.  Whether the humidity is above or below a certain percent so that the whatever it is that you’re waiting on can properly cure.  Whether the tools and supplies you need are at hand or it’s at the West Marine 40 miles from home. Whether or not the person you’ve entrusted to remake the chainplates could do it right and make it fit after the third time.  Whether the 30 year old thing you just broke is still in production so that you can get the replacement parts because the ones you have on hand have corroded through.  Whether the bolt you are replacing was custom threaded or not.  Whether or not you can find a place to custom make them if they are, and whether or not you can afford them after you go through all the trouble. Whether or not you can problem solve and fix or jerry rig it.  And whether or not everything you are doing is correct so that it holds up regardless of the weather you are going to end up sailing in.  

I always think about how strange it is how much a boat can really teach you about yourself.  I kid about how it’s some cosmic joke that someone is playing to test my patience and will, but at this point, I sincerely wonder why there isn’t some boat church making human sacrifices to Poseiden just to keep him appeased.  Most times, it feels like there is someone is poking you in the ribs, asking you if you really want this, playing tricks on you to keep you from doing anything right the first time, or even the second time…or even the third.  Until you’ve owned a boat can you truly understand what the heck this is that I’m talking about.    These boat jokes are too real to ignore and our list of them is kind of funny, in a sad sort of way.   Once you learn to accept that this is a truism for owning a boat, you learn to expect it, and though it may grieve you, simply knowing this detail can give you a little bit of relief.  It shows you the importance of perseverance and learning that without the bad, you could never appreciate how good the good really is.  I guess this simple truth is what having a boat will show you time and time again, because when things do go right, the feelings of liberation and elation are intoxicating.  When you see a sunrise with the perfectly pink clouds reflecting off the water, the smell of the ocean, the sound of the birds and waves…when you see your family and friends after missing them for so long, or when the rain stops just long enough for you to get another coat of paint on the decks; these little joys can overwhelm you.  You learn to love the little things that you have taken for granted day in and day out.  You gain an awareness of all of this, and learn to make the effort to just look around and appreciate what you have right now at this very moment….even if it is still raining outside…

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