It's a sailor's privilege to see many beautiful views not available to landlubbers. Just a few from my own recent personal experiences: sunrise on Pamlico Sound, the long beach on the island of Abraao in Brazil, the wild cliffs on Ushant, but this week I found a view that tops them all, and it's one that will have all wooden boat owners nodding in agreement.
Again, it's a view never seen, no less appreciated by landlubbers -- or indeed most boat owners. But I'm confident that it's a view that will have other wooden boat owners nodding in admiration and perhaps jealousy... a view of the Blue Moon's bone-dry bilge.
|Bone-dry bilge -- in mid winter!|
(Gotta get in there with a vacuum!
However, it has always had a mysterious leak through the deck. For years I have tried to track it down, but I never caught the leak in action, even when I was living on the boat on my long trek up the east coast of the US.
Nevertheless, the leak was there, hiding for weeks at a time no matter how hard it would rain, and then unexpectedly showing itself with an inch of water in the bilge.
It's been particularly irksome in the winter where I have always had to worry about water accumulating and then freezing. I visit the BM at least once a week throughout the year to check her bilge and to mop up any water with a special sponge that I keep handy, to soak up every drop. Keeping the floorboards up during the winter is another habit I've developed, to allow lots of air circulation, and to make sure I don't miss any water.
However, this fall, it suddenly occurred to me that perhaps the problem was with the BM's mast boot -- the tight covering that prevents rain and snow-melt from dripping down the mast and through the deck around the mast. Why this never occurred to me before is a mystery, but I've been so obsessive about the BM's deck that I always assumed the deck was leaking some place and never considered the more obvious source of water.
At any rate, inspired by this guess, I replaced the mast boot and, voila, leak solved! There hasn't been a drop in the bilge since that day, and I can't possibly convey how good this makes me feel to normal, non-wooden boat owners.
I don't need to explain the feeling to the rest of you.
Next Episode: A Steady Place