Thoughts and Prayers to George

My readers will no doubt remember George of the blog post “George and the Sunk Ranger.”

I have heard that George is battling lymphoma and in need of everyone’s good wishes and prayers. 

A lot of people have a particular type of boat that they are in love with, and for George, whose career was as a marine diesel repairman, it is the Ranger Tug.

Not the Ranger sailing vessel, which was built right here in Kent, as I mistakenly first thought, but the Tug, which is no doubt better.

So, it is the opinion of the blog, that, as motor vessels go, we are all about the Ranger Tug, especially since, as of yesterday, I am a disaster at sailing.

It was my turn to take the helm. To tell the truth, Cady made it look so effortless, but yesterday Randy was more in a disposition of stepping back and letting the students solve the problems.

There were many problems last night, but the biggest one was beyond the control of this captain, and that was no wind. 

A problem that George would no doubt solve with a bit of marine diesel.

It was last night that I grasped the concept of Real Wind, which is the wind that is blowing, versus Apparent Wind, which is the wind that is generated by the movement of the vessel itself.

When there is one knot of wind blowing, that difference is minute to the point of nonsense, and I never could figure anything out. I got flustered, and we all just tacked back and forth in one knot of wind for the heck of it. We even practiced reefing. It was good exercise — and instruction — for the sailors, who were cold and needed to move around.

The jib got stuck a lot and everyone was learning how to fix it without losing their sense of where the boom was.

I sew. I figure out early on that sewing is not one skill but fifty. You don’t sew a garment. You set in a sleeve, you bind a buttonhole, you baste before you sew. You persist despite tedium, mistakes that involve the awkward business of ripping out your work, and the charm of more and more beautiful fabric in every store and at every sale, piling up and calling to you: I will be perfect and smooth without all the reality. It takes all of these skills to produce a garment that you put on and nobody notices it was made at home. 

It looks like sailing is such a skill that is not one but fifty.

I have had some dark moments about the Spencer since commencing this class after two years of forced interruption. I have learnt so much about what I want from a boat in these classes that I have acknowledged what a boat yard maven told me three years ago. This will not likely be the last boat. 

I have already started planning the next boat, scaling this project down to a conservation effort that ends in a flip. The hull just needs to be protected until the real refitter comes in, rips out the interior, and lays down that granite countertop and that composting toilet.

That is not likely to happen because the cabin was rebuilt in the early nineties, wrecking the lines of the vessel, such that the best refit really is the one I have going, and that is, paint it wild colors and let it be a tank that sits there until I can get around to teaching everyone in the family to sail, because that is what needs to happen. Watch out for the boom! It will take your head right off!

Plus the construction-quality roofing tape all over the interior. You’d have to drill that stuff out, and that would ruin the elegant wood that is already ruined. Or indicated as saved by construction quality roofing tape. 

And why do boats all have to look the same? That is the mind trap that I am fixing with a Caribbean color scheme. It is a nod in the direction of nautical while also being not white everywhere.

The dream of boats tells me I need a cheap 23-foot sailboat that will sit in Lake Union and be single-handedly day sailed once a week. Or maybe a boat club membership that does exactly that — evidently real people have already thought these things through.

It is not easy to be reasonable about boats. They are enchanting beyond belief. 

Perhaps I should lay down some real bank on a coastal cruiser that comes with a dinner table big enough to accommodate another person.

Or take that woodworking class, the one that will get me the chops with the table saw to design the dinner table that will fit in the gorgeous hull that I already have.

The seven-foot beam — width — is part of the glorious hydrodynamics of this vessel, a tradeoff with what you can do inside. A carpenter might reduce the benches by 1.3 inches on each side, remove the engine cover, perhaps use the slide-out table as a table — as designed — if only the right hardware — or the right thought processes — were available. 

Someone suggested that I buy a piece of property and make a nice tent for the Spencer to sit under and be a woman cave — if I could ever be dragged out of the city into a place that was not on the water.

Well, for now, the task is whatever can be done with a toothbrush. I walked around the Tacoma Yacht Club yesterday. Some of those boats look worse than mine and there they are, in the water. 

Welcome to boat refit, or, as Mara would say, the mental illness called BOATS THAT DO NOT FLOAT. 

Floating is evidently not the point. The point is the boat. 

© Joann L. Farias 2023