Back to Boating

An orbital sander whirled, a pile of shrink wrap sat neatly beside the dumpster, and extension cords crisscrossed the yard. After a painfully long winter, these are welcome signs of spring, and the telltale signs that another boating season is bearing down upon us.

Bring on the boating season.

Unlike the previous two winters, because of my move to Connecticut, I wasn’t able to check in on the boat as often as I would have liked, so you could say I was anxious to get back to Jamestown and reevaluate my spring work list. At first glance, everything appeared to be where it should be; the mast was vertical and the boom was horizontal.

I breathed a sigh of relief as I slid down into the companionway, where legion of bacteria lie waiting. Armed with lemon-scented Pledge and lemon-scented Clorox wipes, I attacked my fuzzy enemy for what felt like hours.

The next tasks I took to are what most would consider low-hanging fruit: waxing the hull and painting the bottom. As boring as they are essential, these tasks bring with them a sense of nostalgia.

I’ve been waxing my parent’s boat since…well, before child-labor laws say I should have been, and bottom painting was my first job in high school. I worked for $9 an hour and silent pizza lunches with immigrants that didn’t speak a word of English. I’ve come a long way since then I thought to myself, right before spilling Petit Neptune 5 all over my Sperrys. And yet, so far yet to go.

Karen would come down from Boston to join the spring commissioning effort. Together we sanded, varnished, painted, ran the engine (which went much smoother than last year) and cleaned some more. By the time the weekend came to an end, the ol’ Karen Marie was cleaned up nicely.

We left the boat feeling hungry, tired, dirty and forever detesting the smell of lemons. We were also content. We came a long way in just a couple days but, as my once-favorite shoes aptly reminded me, there is still a lot left to do.

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