Tuesday, April 15, 2014

It's A New Day

Aurora deigns a new dawn.
Phoenix has been on the hard in Port Salerno, Florida since November when she returned from two and a half years of voyaging to the Mediterranean.

Now I am getting her ready to launch again and take her back to my home waters, Lake Champlain.

Phoenix and I will follow the summer northwards, arriving in New York when the waters are still chilly, but the Hudson River is navigable. We will be on of the first boats of the season through the locks of the Champlain Canal, which connects the Hudson to Lake Champlain. And we will enter the lake fresh from shedding her blanket of ice.

I wonder what it will be like to be blogging about America. It was easy to blog about Europe because it was unknown to me and every port was new and exciting.

America is the known. How do I write about the known in ways that are engaging? That is to ask, what can I contribute that is worth reading? What will provide you, dear reader, with fresh insight?

But I suppose that is the question every writer of anything asks themself, whether it be a novel, a poem, a news article, or a even a letter.

I will enjoy this challenge of trying to see the known as unknown; the supposedly familiar as new. Is this what is called “beginner’s mind”?

In the meantime, I am occupied with the rebirth of Phoenix. While she is on the hard, I am doing things that must be done then, like greasing the seacocks. That is such a time-consuming job that requires a “chop wood, carry water” mindset.

If you click on the photo, you can see I couldn't get the ball valve quite shut on this first go-around of greasing Phoenix's seacocks.
First I get on hands and knees and crawl around closing all the seacocks. One I couldn’t budge because it has fouled in its shut position. The ones in the cockpit lazerette require a human pretzelling technique that is only taught at Cirque du Soleil. Then I descend the ladder and walk around to each through-hole with a grease-tube and long, round paint brush, smearing grease in each one.

Then it’s back up the ladder, get down on hands and knees, crawl, work the seacock handles back and forth, making sure they remain in the closed position, and start again.

Often, on this first round, I still can’t get the seacocks fully closed, which is why this process needs to be repeated.

Crawl around, pretzel, descend, walk, smear, climb, work handles.

Three times.

By the way, some of my handles are still hard to work after greasing, either because of the seacock or because they are in hard to reach places. So I have fashioned extension handles by sliding a section of PVC tube over them. Leverage: works great. Thank you, Archimedes.

That’s one of several projects like installing new engine hoses and pursuing a mystery of why one seacock has all kinds of galvanic fuzz around it. (That one that didn't want to close at until I scraped off the ball from the outside of the hull.) It seems to be properly bonded to the others and the engine. So what gives?

Phoenix has been compounded, waxed and buffed. I don’t know when it was last done and she had oxidized to an almost-white. Now she beams with a cream shine making her look absolutely stunning. Her teak was cleaned too. And she has new sail covers. (For the mainsail I had a Mack Pack installed. The virtues of that beauty, I will extoll in a future blog post.)

Phoenix looks so good now that the Mack Pack installers, who work on sailboats every day, thought she was a new boat.

I smiled and said, “Nope, she's 28 years old. Phoenix is just reborn.”

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