Swing Set

Jul 13, 201308:57 AM

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

Three Productive Days In Stella Maris

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We had lunch at the Driftwood Cafe on Thursday because all of our food was in coolers due to Rosie defrosting the refrigerator. I had my sought-after cheeseburger, made by hand with fresh ground beef. A side of fries and cole slaw rounded off the meal, and I must say it was very good. Rosie had a Ceasar salad with chicken. She said if was "real good."

On Thursday afternoon, Joe brought Gerd to the boat to look at what I wanted to have welded. I had made a template for the stainless, and Joe found suitable material and had cut it. Gerd is German, like the owners, and used to be the marina manager here. He is a man of few words. Few, as in none. Nevertheless, it appeared that our welding was going to take place on Friday, barring rain.

We visited Ian and the Driftwood Cafe on Thursday night. We were just going to have a couple of beers and go back to the boat for dinner. The kitchen staff had made a mistake on an order, making a huge beef burrito instead of beef nachos, so Ian remembered how much we liked the burrito from Wednesday night and offered it to us on the house. How can you pass up an offer like that? Later, the smoke detector went off and I hollered "If that's a hamburger you're burning, I'll eat it!" No such luck.

We got back to the boat before dark and were trying to decide whether to have dinner, or pop in a movie and eat a big bowl of popcorn instead. Rosie was taking in the view from the dinette and said, "Oooh, look how pretty the moon looks!"

"Yes, all twenty four of them," I said. "That's one of the globe lights that line the marina basin you're looking at."

We both had a real good laugh at that, but we'll seen how Rosie's sense of humor holds up when she learns that I put this in the blog.

Chantal might have been history, but storms were still due to pass through, and they did. It rained most of the night, and the wind was blowing swells into the marina entrance. We bounced around some, but we were tied to the dock pretty securely, so we weren't worried.

I was up by 7 a.m. because I wanted to be ready to drop the dinghy in case the welding was going to take place early. Joe came by just after 7, making sure his last cut on the new bracket was correct. He said if the rain held off, we would get the welding done that day, and he left the bracket with me.

While I was waiting, I took some plastic board material and began to cut pieces for some extra bracing for the davit. I had an idea to sandwich the davit at the point of the most stress, exactly at the curve of the davit, and I had mentioned that to Joe. He generally liked the idea, but said it would work better if I filled in the space between the two tubes that make up the davit, and then sandwich them in, providing stiffness to the area in hopes to avoid the flexing that was causing the welds to fail.

It took me all morning to cut the pieces with my hand jigsaw, and then a few more hours of sanding the pieces incrementally, measuring, sanding some more, and then obtaining a tight fit between the davit tubes. Meanwhile, Rosie took our laundry across the road and Holly just laid in the salon, staring out the door and pouting because we weren't paying her any attention.

One of the yard workers wheeled the welder over to our boat, so I figured it was showtime. I put all my stuff away, dropped the dinghy, and moved the boat back closer to the bulkhead, as per Joe's instructions. Then, I waited.

No one told me that Gerd was going to do the welding, so I was watching Joe and two other guys drilling holes to modify the haul out railway to fit the catamaran next to us. The whole time, I'm wondering why I was told to move the boat if the welding wasn't going to commence. There was threat of more rain, and the wind was freshening. I didn't have Swing Set tied down good enough for a windstorm, plus the tide was beginning to go out. I began to worry that I had dropped the dinghy and moved the boat for nothing.

I kept quiet though. I got my sander back out and finished fitting the pieces I had made, then I painted them. While I had the paint out, I painted the garbage pail in the cockpit. I kept busy, and I kept an eye on any sign of welding progress.

I left the boat as Rosie was returning from the laundry. She asked me how it was going, and I said that it wasn't. I retrieved my now-dried painted items, and when I came back I found Gerd on the boat. He had the new bracket clamped onto the davit and was beginning to tack it in place. I mustered up all the tact that I could and explained to him that it was imperative that the failed weld on the original brace be welded before we weld the new bracket over it. Without a word, he unclamped the new brace and prepared to fix the broken weld. The only thing he said was that "ziss metal iss too sin." I agreed with him but said that, "It was what it was. Nothing I could do about it now." And so, he welded in silence.

He finished welding the new brace on and then walked away without a word. Big surprise. Imagine, this guy used to be the marina manager. Had I met someone like him when we arrived at the marina on Wednesday, it is unlikely that we would have stayed here, at least not for three days.

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