“Finishing”. I have a friend who used to stop by the boat and tell me I needed a break. My usual reply was that I didn’t have time. He’d tell me I worked too hard. He would convince me I needed to go have a beer with him. I was dedicated but I won’t lie, it wasn’t that hard to get me to go have a beer. We would buy a pitcher of beer and pour a couple of glasses before he would ask “So when will you be finished with the boat?” He wouldn’t be joking. The irony was so heavy I would usually get another pitcher before I tried to answer him.
One never really finishes a boat. All you can really do is finish one project and move on to another. But at some point by the spring of 1998 we had managed to put enough pieces together that we were making preparations to put Leda’s mast back in. In our instance, finishing was going to be getting the boat out sailing. We had a date in mind. Our sails were nearing delivery and we had guests coming from New Zealand. Although I will admit that in those days I still thought projects were finite. Like after getting Leda done, I would have all those hours that I spent on the boat each week free to pursue something else. If this were only true, I suppose I might have built a fleet by now.
As far as the work, there isn’t a lot to tell really. The frenzy of work isn’t much of a story. I have no idea how many hours a week I was working. I think it was all of them. I remember going to the barber shop for a much needed haircut and falling asleep in the chair. We hooked up the steering so that we could motor to the travel lift and had it hooked up backward, which resulted in nearly tee-boning another yacht while we were trying to get out of the marina. We’d been in such a rush it hadn’t been tested. But we were successful in getting into the travel lift. The final push.
There isn’t much to say about paint and putty. We borrowed a lift to make the paint job easier. It saved us from building scaffolding or running up an down ladders. The only trick was to make sure we didn’t knock the jacks out from under the boat.
Spirits were high. We rolled on paint with one of us tipping it out with a brush. It was threatening rain so we were moving fast so the paint would have a chance to skin over before it started.
We were ready to launch with our new paint job. All that was left was to get the mast and rigging up and wait for our guests from New Zealand to help put the sails on.
There is more to this story but not really anything more to tell in regards to our restoration efforts on Leda. Anyone who wants more particulars about any detail is welcome to contact me. I can go on for hours about working on boats, best endured over a pitcher of beer or beverage of choice. Some of it will even be true. I have friends who say I have become a cynic. It’s not true. As I’ve aged I’ve become more of a realist. The work is hard. The heartbreaks can be many. The expenses can be large. The reward is for each individual to judge. I will write about this more in a follow up to all of this. As promised there will be a section where I will discuss whether I would do it again. The statement is ambiguous on purpose. Would I do the whole thing again if I knew what the journey was going to be? Would I use the same process again if I knew then what I know now (or think I know)?
Unless I decide to expand on any of the previous postings here, I will draw this section on restoration to a close. The work on the boat didn’t quit. The interior was still a mess when we launched. There was the whole electrical system to figure out. Which is more or less like raising a child. It’s always going to be something you put effort into, regardless of how mature it becomes. There have been a never ending list of things I’ve wanted to get done. Some of them still pending. Some of the work now needs to be revisited, altered or finished. I can walk on board our boat and be amazed at the things I’ve never gotten done. At some point you go sailing instead of working on the boat.
The stream of this narrative will rejoin “The Present” as it is really more about going sailing than working on the boat.
Next: Free At Last
Previous: Rigging and Sails