This post is by way of doing the harsh thing that bloggers of life transitions and of sailboat ownership sometimes have to do: Post about failure. File this under ‘brutal honesty’, and also many expletives and stomping of feet; perhaps throwing a few things for good measure. I’ve never tried that, but I understand how it could be cathartic.
We’ve owned three boats. We thought we were not amateurs at this point, even though we’re always learning. Oh, hubris. What a harsh mistress you are. This summer, because the weather was fine, we got a little twitchy and decided to replace our hatch lenses. It sounds so simple, no? You just remove the lenses, clean up the frames, and rebed in the same stuff that was used in the first place.
Why did we want to replace them? Because they were old and crazed and didn’t let in much light. Did they leak? No. They did not. Did they work as they should? Yes. They did. So basically, the only thing wrong with them was cosmetic. We wanted them to be pretty. We wanted to see through them. We wanted to lie in the V-berth and look at stars while at anchor. Such petty problems to have. I guess we were a little persnickety. Joke’s on us! Now who feels old and crazed? Not the hatches.
Now it’s the rainy season and we have hatches that leak. That’s right, readers, we are hatch refit failures. #Amateurs #Pissedthehelloff. Somehow, after literally spending hours scraping, using harsh chemicals that probably shortened our lives, and sanding with expensive sand paper, leaks have developed in all three hatches. All. Three. See what happens when you try to fix something that ain’t broke?
Recall that we decided to use industrial silicone to rebed those hatch lenses. It was that or butyl tape, and we couldn’t get any solid information that butyl tape would stick to silicone any better than anything else. The information is probably there, but we didn’t find it for whatever reason. People posted their thoughts. Everyone who has ever bedded anything on a boat has an opinion about the best stuff to use. In the end, we made the wrong choice, or maybe we didn’t use enough of it, or maybe there was invisible silicone left on the hatch frames. Silicone is evil, so who knows? The hatches don’t leak everywhere so probably it’s a silicone residue problem.
The feelings we have about this are second only to the issue we had with getting a proper exhaust system for Hiram, our engine. But we rose to that challenge and, I assure you, we will not be beaten by this one. Never mind that we’re getting the house ready and the holidays are bearing down before us. Never mind that Mike has been transferred to another job in Boeing and doesn’t have the time to think about this problem. Never mind that I’m increasing the number of coaching clients I see on the boat because I’ve made a commitment to using Galapagos as my office space until I completely retire. (I’m loving this, by the way.) At least the hatch in the salon only drips a tiny bit, and the drips don’t land on my clients’ heads. I’m grateful for small things.
This weekend it’s going to be un-rainy. Lots of people will be outside enjoying the sunnyish weather. We will be outside too: removing the forward hatch lens once more. It’s the one that leaks the worst. We’re going to do that one, particular hatch and then sit back and observe the results. We’re going to clean the hell out of the frame until our fingers are tiny nubs of skin and bone. So far, we think we’re going to use butyl tape. So that’s the situation on the ground here for the moment. Keep your fingers crossed we do it right this time, and if you think of it, spit three times and turn around.