One of the many joys of boat ownership is “fixin’ stuff”. In my opinion there are two types of boaters in this world, those that fix their own boats and those who pay people to fix their boats. Of course, the implied constant here is boats will always need fixing. And, guess what, they do. I fall into the category of those who fix their own stuff, or at least I try to as much as I can. This is in part because I’m generally cheap by nature but mostly because I enjoy doing it. I find a great deal of joy in fixing our stuff. And, I also get a great sense of self satisfaction when I can make a repair without the need for a replacement part or help from a professional (help from another knowledgeable boater is perfectly acceptable). For me, a good portion of the fun is trying to figure stuff out, how it works, and what is wrong with it. This takes patience. I am truly blessed to have lots of patience. I have not always been this way. I believe being a sailor has taught me patience. About the only thing I do not have patience for is incompetent people. This could easily turn into being a rant so, I stop here on this topic.
Water-Melon, our previous boat, was built in Taiwan. It was an old boat when we bought it and we owned her for 18 years, or so. She was definitely up there in boat years. The one thing Water-Melon taught me was, never hit anything with a hammer unless I was really sure of the outcome. And, I mean really sure. On the few occasions I needed to hit something with a hammer, Murphy showed up and an undesired outcome transpired. Then came the joy of having to find a replacement part for a 30 year old Taiwanese boat began. I cannot begin to tell you how many hours I have roamed little stores (pre-internet) for specialty parts. Did you know in Corpus Christi Texas there is a store that only sells springs? They have just about every spring made of every material you can imagine. Ask me how I know this.
This week on Cream Puff was spent fixing stuff. Nothing major to fix, just general puttering around. I use the opportunity of fixing, servicing or cleaning something to learn all about the boat. There will be a time when Cindy and I will be in the middle of nowhere and we’ll need to make a repair. I am filling the little gray cells with how the components of the boat all work, how they are wired or plumbed and where they go. Most people have heard the saying; a boat is a hole in the water into which one throws money. I tend to think of a boat as a living being whose sole purpose is constantly try to self destruct. Boats are remarkably efficient at self destruction. This is one of the core truths of our universe. Our job is to slow the self destruction process as much as possible. Can were ever stop it? Nope. We just hinder it the best we can. Once on Water Melon, Cindy and I were off-shore a few miles and we both noticed a new sound. New sounds are seldom a result of a good thing on boats. Something was definitely amiss. The boat passing over the water somehow sounded different. We both knew the sound we heard was not normal. We had this boat long enough that we know every aspect and new sounds were always concerning. New sounds normally arrived at four in the morning but this one decided to show up on a nice sunny afternoon. We started to hunt in the nooks and crannies below the floor and we found a through-hull valve was broken and water was coming in. We were filling up with water. This is not a good thing on a boat. We heard the water before the auto bilge pump kicked in. We had to think quickly. If we took on more water than the pump could handle, well the outcome would be the boat wins the self destruction final round. The quick repair was very creative and consisted of a coozy and duck-tape amongst other materials. The Apollo 13 crew would have been proud of us. It proved to be efficient enough to get us back to the dock safely and make a more permanent repair. Our goal is to know Cream Puff as well as we knew Water Melon. No doubt that Cream Puff is planning a sneak attack as I write this.