Thursday, December 3, 2009

Winter Challenges

Winter on the docks has it's own set of challenges. The boat is progressing towards completion before plans for winter sailing. I still have to unload a lot of unnecessary cargo. I am back where I ask myself why I need 6 pairs of jeans and three pairs of boots on board. Still the boat it self is near ready. I'm excited by the little repairs I make daily. Half of the battle is realizing a thing needs doing. Like installing a toilet paper holder.

The routine of the boat is a practice in memory, discipline and procedure. Leaving the boat I have to remember to do a series of departing boat steps that are essential to the safety of the boat.
1. Close the through hulls. Through hulls allow me to bring water into the boat and discharge it and waste out of the boat. I have a variety of hoses which are looped above the water line and various stopvalves but whenever I leave the boat even for a day I close the through hulls.
2. Turn off the fuel pump for the Dickensen Newport diesel cabin heater and turn off the diesel carburetor. Today I turned on the internal fan high so that the diesel in the system burnt off quickly rather than slowly, hoping to reduce the carboning up process that occurs whenever I shut down the stove.
3. Turn off the propane valve to the propane water heater in the head.
4. Turn off the propane to the boat stove.
5. Turn off the lights except for one.
6. Make sure that the electric heater is secure.
7. Lock the boat on the way out.
Having done this, I slid and skated up the dock. I'd taken my motorcycle the day before despite finding it with the frost on the seat. Today I took the truck. The docks and roads were just too frosty and icy for motorcycling. Zen and the Art of Motorcycling talked well about the discipline associated with riding. Persig's only other book, ironically, is called "Leila", and it's about sailing. In some ways it's about chaos and order.
When I go to the boat I'll have to do the same procedure backwards. Routines, discipline and memory. I choose order. There are enough dangers in reality without inviting more by living with chaos. I look forward to having my boat 'shipshape' , at least a good as one can get it on land. It's usually weeks of sailing before you really get a boat shipshape. By then you've slowed down and are paying attention to what's really important so can appreciate it. Really appreciate the order in the chaos.

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