Divide and Conquer

“The boat is okay, don’t worry.”.  When my husband starts a phone conversation with this kind of thing, what is the first thing you believe I will do? Worry. That’s right. I was driving down to Astoria by myself to attack that engine room for, hopefully, the last time before being able to sand and paint several areas. Mike stayed home this weekend to clean up after the last wind storm. We figured we would get more done this way. Divide and conquer, right?

No, this is not the La Brea tar pits. It’s our bilge. But it wouldn’t surprise me if I discovered mastodon bones buried in the primordial ooze down there.

I was just approaching our usual Starbucks in Longview when my phone rang and I saw it was Mike. “Did I call you or did you call me?”,  he said. “You called me. What’s up?”, I replied, eyes scanning the road for cops as I held the phone to my ear and made the turn into the parking lot. “Oh,” he said, sounding flustered. That’s what happens to the man when he thinks his boat is at risk.

” I thought I was texting you. Okay. Well the boat’s okay, but I just got a call from the Port of Astoria. The piling at the end of our dock fell over and they need to move us to a different slip. I told them you were on your way down there and would check in with them as soon as you arrive.”
“Wow! Amazing that I am actually driving down today. And also, Yay! This means I get to ride Andromeda out of her slip for the first time! Woo hoo! Being towed for the first time ever!” You’d have thought someone had surprised me with a pony for Christmas.

Yes, I know, it’s pitiful. I can hear all the head shaking going on out there in blog-reader land. But I had been dead worried about how we were going to get Andromeda out of her slip and around the corner to the haulout facility. I went to sleep on many nights with visions of her dashed against the wicked rocks in the old ‘Graveyard of the Pacific’. Shudder. Yes, I know we’ve dingy-towed our boat before. But that was Moonrise, and that’s about 25,000 pounds of difference, not including windage. Plus we know Moonrise like the back of our hand. It’s different towing a boat you are not yet familiar with. So I saw this as a great opportunity for a trial run, regardless of the fact that we still have no one to get us to the travel lift. All in good time.  I was excited to see how this boat behaved under tow.

Thankfully, the day was calm as far as wind was concerned, but I quickly realized that regardless of wind, it’s never calm as far as current is concerned. It’s one thing to know this academically, but another to feel it on a boat. Juan and Glen from the port released Andromeda from her dock lines little by little, inching her out of the slip just enough so that Juan could pull the port’s skiff along side and tie up. I could see they had done this before.

The crew form the Port of Astoria made sure Andromeda was securely tied to their skiff.

Juan backed us out of the slip with Glen giving directions from the bow of our boat. Our boat was finally under way! I guess it hardly counts, but I’ll take anything at this point. We were not moving far, but Juan could not see where he was going, and couldn’t tell how close to the dock the boat was. In addition, the skiff has better steering in one direction than in the other, so I could see he was getting anxious about getting us close enough to the dock for us to toss the dock lines. He handled the boat like a pro, but I would feel better next time we tow her if we had one ‘tug’ boat on each side and a way to communicate between them.  There were sighs of relief all around (well, mostly from me) when the lines were handled and she was tied off. Then I got my first true realization that tying this boat off against current, wind, and waves takes longer than 5 minutes. I imagine I can get that down over time.

Safe and secured on a much nicer but much more exposed dock. This photo taken before the port crew installed another large cleat close to her bow.

After getting Andromeda settled in her new digs, the day was getting away from me and I had not even started on that dratted engine room. Where is that magic wand when I need it? Plus I had not brought food to the boat, planning to go to Costco in Warrenton when I arrived. After stocking the boat,  I got as far as I could before giving in to fatigue, then called it a day.

On Saturday my sister came to visit and see the boat. With her cheering me on I got a bit further, mining for ‘gold’ in the dark recesses of the oily pit with my little earth magnet on a string. I am easily amused.  I came up with a number of tools, most of which have seen better days, and a lot of metal filings and general disgusting filth. But I did manage to find Mike’s wrench. At the end of today I have two 5 gallon buckets of gross.

Just mining for gold here.

I’ve decided to give myself another entire day here in Astoria to get further with this thing. Instead of going home tomorrow, I’ll go on Monday.  I can see that my eye for detail is getting in the way of getting the job done, as I have a vision in my mind that this engine room will never match. I see a pristine white room in my mind’s eye. I’m going to have to settle for a little less or I will never be done. But progress is being made. I am almost ready to paint some places! Perhaps tomorrow.



3 thoughts on “Divide and Conquer

  1. Yay! You two are doing so good. Just look how far the boat has come already!

    Congrats on getting her towed! There is no shame in that. The Rock ‘n Row didn’t have working engines when I bought her either. The first thing they told me after I bought it was that I couldn’t bring it back to the marina without working engines! I did some quick negotiating and had it towed the following weekend. So you see, I’ve been in a similar situation as you guys.

    Keep plugging away at it weekend by weekend. Remember the joy is in the journey, not the destination. Once you fix a sub-system of the boat, you will have a lot of confidence in its sea-worthiness.

    I solute the journey you two are on!


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