Five O'Clock Somewhere

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere, where it doesn't matter what time zone you're in; it's five o'clock somewhere. We'll look at rural life, especially as it happens in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, cats, sailing (particularly Etchells racing yachts), and bits of grammar and Victorian poetry.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Nearly no progress

Sometimes I wonder whether all this effort is worth it

This morning, while Mother and Dumbledore went to church, Tadpole and I snuck off to find Internet access. After clearing the spam out of my email inbox, I was able to put up the previous two posts, although I still didn’t have time to check up on the rest of the blogosphere.

Then Tadpole and I continued to work on the trailer, putting carpet on the keel guides and front bunk, and assembling the two center pads. Some of the others considered going out sailing, but the wind was high, and they bagged that plan.

Zorro arrived in the early afternoon, along with Blondie, one of his track athletes. We went down to the boats, where Zorro and I did boat work while Blondie tanned, in true Hollywood style, in a bikini on the aft deck of Zorro’s boat. There was far too much wind to even think of sailing – it was about 40 mph, gusting higher; even though it was a holiday, there were almost no boats out on the water of any sort, and one powerboater who was foolish enough to go out capsized near the marina. It was certainly too windy to try to get Black Magic onto the trailer for a test fitting.

When we got back to the compound, we found that, even though it was early, everyone else had already eaten dinner, and since the idea of warmed-over enchiladas didn’t thrill me, I went out to eat with Zorro and Blondie. Dumbledore wanted to test-load the trailer, but Zorro first said it was too windy, and then he said he’d come back after dinner to help. Then at dinner he said that it was going to continue to be too windy to try to put the boat onto a trailer for the first time, with the aft pads not yet adjusted and the center pads not in place yet, on a crowded boat ramp on a holiday weekend – there was too much danger of the boat slipping on the trailer and damaging the keel. Since Blondie needed to get back to El Paso, Zorro wasn’t going to stick around waiting for something that wasn’t going to happen.

But when I got back to the compound, the wind had let up some, and Dumbledore insisted that we immediately get the boat onto the trailer. So we took the truck to the boat ramp, and while Dumbledore and Yoda got the trailer into the water, Tadpole and I took the motor to the boat to prepare to take it around to the ramp. I asked Tadpole whether there was gas in the tank; without looking, he said, “Yes,” and then when I asked again, he did look, and since he’d already committed himself to saying “Yes,” that’s what he said again. Meanwhile, Cheech, an experienced sailor in the club, was on his big boat nearby, and we invited him to come along to help with the loading.

As it turns out, that was a good thing, because the motor had just enough gas to get us mostly out of the marina but then left us drifting toward the floating tire breakwater in front of the marina in what was still a fairly stiff wind. Cheech and Tadpole quickly bent on a jib (it was our good light-air racing jib, but that was the one that was on top of the stack), but we still found ourselves fending off the tires. Fortunately, Dumbledore and Yoda saw what was happening and sent a nearby powerboater to give us a tow to the courtesy dock and ramp.

From the courtesy dock, Dumbledore, Yoda, Big K and Cheech used ropes to attempt to guide the boat onto the trailer. I could immediately tell the boat had missed the aft end of the trailer, and I tried to tell people that, but they kept pulling the boat forward. I knew it had missed the keel guide, but nobody paid attention to me. Everybody was concerned about getting the boat positioned so that the forward bulkhead would be on the forward bunk of the trailer. All the while, I kept saying, “That doesn’t matter! The boat’s not in the keel guide!” Sometimes I was told that I was mistaken; other times, I was ignored.

Finally, after about 20 minutes of fiddling around with the forward position of the boat, Dumbledore got into the truck and started pulling the boat out. As the boat began to rise out of the water, Yoda shouted in a panic, “STOP! The boat’s not in the keel guide!” Dumbledore quickly backed up, and after some maneuvering with the lines, the guys pulled the boat apart from the trailer.

By this time, the sun had gone down and it was getting dark. Dumbledore got a can of gas, and Tadpole filled the tank, in case the motor would be needed. Then the guys again lined the boat onto the trailer, this time allowing me to tell them what direction to pull the lines to get the boat lined up with the trailer before pulling the boat forward. I could feel the boat smoothly line itself up as the keel entered the keel guide, and the bow settled neatly into the forward bunk, where we were able to position the forward bulkhead without too much trouble (when the trailer is finished, there will be a keel stop that will make positioning the bulkhead in the right place automatic).

As Dumbledore began to pull the trailer out of the water, everything went well at first. Then, suddenly, the boat fell over, listing sharply to port. The aft pads were far too low and were not supporting the boat at all – apparently either Zorro didn’t give Dumbledore the right measurements, or Dumbledore misunderstood, or something. The pads were so low that Dumbledore will need to weld extensions on the upright pipes. So again, we got the boat pulled off the trailer. By this time, it was dark, and it was time to give up. Tadpole started the motor, which now ran fine, and we headed back to the slip.

I was left frustrated and angry with a lot of people: Zorro for bugging out when he was still needed, Dumbledore for rushing everything in spite of still stiff winds, Tadpole for lying about the fuel in the tank, everybody for ignoring me about the boat not being in the keel guide, and whoever blew the communication about the height of the trailer pads. All of these actions jeopardized my boat and could have led to disaster. I’m tired and depressed and suffering a severe case of “With friends like these …”

At least the evening ended on a positive note, when I trounced Tadpole and Esther Williams in a game of gin rummy.


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