Nothing in all the world.... is half as much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.
Well for the last week or so we have been messing about in, on, with, near, and everything but underneath, the boat. A lot of little things, gathering supplies & choosing minor equipment, running a thousand errands... all this has to be done while keeping the household in some kind of order, of course. The trains run on time and we sit down to a nice dinner every evening, no matter what crises threaten to derail our day. After all, one must maintain one's standards or there is simply no meaning at all to life.
This job of building a hard top has (like all boat projects) stretched out to take up much more time than originally intended. Part of that is the difficulty in trying to work outdoors in a 40 mph wind... imagine laminating fiberglass while it is trying to fly up in your face, and you cannot put anything down for a second or it scoots enthusiastically off the edge into the water. The whole thing is a Zen Master lesson in patience.
A brief word on the three pictures, all of which were taken by Kathie- the 1st (upper) photo shows our boat in it's slip with the aft deck hard top in place, fiberglassing work in progress. The stainless steel frame, posts & braces, were installed by a previous owner and had a canvas top. The framing was wrapped in plastic & painter's tape to keep it from getting speckled with resin & scraps of cloth. The 2nd (middle) photo is the view from the cabin roof looking down towards the aft deck, with almost-completely fiberglassed hard top in place. You can see the square hatch for climbing to the upper deck. In the last photo, we see the next-to-last bit of fiberglassing being done by Doug (me) and our boat neighbor John, who was a great help. He claims he learned something in the process and his wife Terry says she thinks he can now build a hard top for their boat!
It seems this pile of foam core, funny cloth, & resin is claiming all our labors, but we are making steps towards actually leaving! Remember the goal has been to actually go on this Great Loop cruise, and to do so rather soon. For example, one thing I like to have is plenty of navigational information... a pilot book on the harbors, tide & current tables, stuff that isn't printed on the charts... so a minor errand has been to buy an up-to-date copy of Reed's Almanac. I threw away my old copy to save the embarrassment of letting people see how long it's been since we used an almanac. We ordered a large stack of charts & chartbooks covering almost all the journey, which have to come from different sources because the inland river channels are charted by the Army Corps of Engineers and the coasts are charted by NOAA or DMA. We have yet to figure out a way to stow this 100+ pounds of paper. And yes I do have charts & navigating software on the computer but if you can't do it the old fashioned way then you can't prove you really know how... plus paper charts are more fun.
This bitter nor'easter (on the satellite photos it looks like a hurricane!) is blowing itself out, cruisers up & down the East Coast are hunkered down safely in anchorages & marina slips, an adventure in itself. This is really "messing about in boats" on a grand scale.
Doug & Kathie