Monday, November 26, 2007

A (Partial) Canvas-Oriented Victory

Amidst the complete downer of ending the season and putting the boat to bed for the winter, I’ve been trying to find a bright spot. I think I found it yesterday, when I (by myself, with no outside boy-oriented assistance) semi-successfully attached my boat’s custom cover. Here, for the lack of anything more interesting to write about at the moment, is the rundown on how things went. Yes, I am convinced that I can weave this most mundane and sad of activities into a proper blog post. My off-season goal is to blog more… a LOT more… so I am committed to writing about any and all sailing-related action I experience, no matter how mundane. In a mild attempt to 'sex things up' (in a completely non-sexy sense of the word), I'll sprinkle somewhat-random end-of-season photos throughout this post, too.

Upon arriving at the boat lot and doing my traditional ‘holy cow! that's my boat!!’ celebratory lap around Central Air, I muscled the bright blue cover out of the backseat and onto the grass. I have never before used this cover (since I stored the boat with the mast down last winter and just used a tarp), so I wasn’t really sure where to start. I employed a strategy of ‘spread out the entire thing and look for the pointy end,’ and thankfully that strategy worked. I found the pointy end, and I also found an astonishing number of Velcro-ed slits and elastic-tied turtleneck type openings that served to inject some much-needed humility into my victory dance. Undaunted, I stuck with my strategy to attach the pointy end first, in hopes that everything else would fall into place. With as much enthusiasm as I could muster, I heaved the cover up to the foredeck located several feet above my head. After four tries, the cover remained on deck. Then, only after ensuring I had some high-quality Matchbox 20 playing loudly on my iPod, I proceeded cautiously up the swim ladder to the dizzying heights at which CA2 perches on her trailer. (My fear of heights is only surpassed by my desire to not be completely helpless when it comes to owning and maintaining my boat.)

Gasoline and oil mix that I remembered to
from the boat for winter storage.

Rudder that I forgot to transfer from the
car to the boat for winter storage.

After wrangling the pointy end of the cover onto the pointy end of the boat, a feat that wasn't nearly as simple in practice as it was in theory, the snaps on the cover magically started to align with the snaps on the gunwales! My diabolical plan was working! When I had worked my way back to the mast and shrouds, I fussed with the mess of Velcro-ed slits and elastic-tied turtleneck type openings until things finally fell into place. It was akin to a one-year-old child finally figuring out how to fit the square block into the square hole on his Shape Sorter. I had a very similar A-ha! moment -- we're talking total 'childlike wonder' here, mixed with utter astonishment that I would likely be able to complete the job without making any crisis hotline calls to any of the fellas I refer to as my 'boat angels.'

As the percentage of boat covered with blue canvas quickly increased, I noticed some grommeted holes down the center of the boat and had my second A-ha moment. There were some tent-pole type parts that came with the boat that I had dutifully stored under the port-side settee, along with the other stuff for which I have no earthly idea what function it serves. I scampered (okay, tripped) down below into the cabin and retrieved the poles, and I used them to plug the formerly-empty holes in my cover and form a little pup-tent to more effectively channel the water off the sides of the boat. Score another one for the boat-cover noob!

Let me attempt to make a long story mercifully shorter. Ultimately, I managed to wrestle the cover into place, with all snaps snapped, tent poles in place, and turtleneck sweater opening thingys tied shut… but there are two Velcro-ed gaps that I couldn’t manage to fully close. I’ll resist the urge to blame this on the cover, as I’m sure it’s more a ‘user error’ than a ‘bug’ in the product. I will reluctantly call on the assistance of one of my ‘boat angels’ - who continue to help me so much and advise me so well - to inspect the problem the next time they visit the boat lot. Despite the two remaining gaps, I’m still claiming victory because...

The boat is 99.999% more ‘covered’ than it was when I arrived.

Of course, it will be infinitely more satisfying to remove the cover… 126 days from now.

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