Full Court Press

Milestones: So much of our energy in the last few months, weeks and days has been building with a push of anxiety to get the boat into the water. I’m now sipping coffee as I start this post, considering we have only five days to our scheduled launch. Yikes – it’s finally happening! But I’m writing this more for posterity, and not to self-enhance panic.

So we’re up early again, preparing to leave our third hotel in a week. We stayed at a lovely bed and breakfast yesterday, and felt at times like royalty (at least in contrast to how we feel at Hilton Garden Inn). Finding a cost-effective place to stay near the boat is an added challenge. But I’m losing track. We’d rather be in a quiet anchorage… but again I digress. More days pass, as the critical pre-launch items are wrestled down and checked-off.

Hmmm… so how does one re-assemble an early Harken model furler that’s been out of production for two decades? Nothing on the Internet; and YouTube failed us too. Fortunately, the folks at Harken were very helpful. The local rigging company left us some extra wire on the new forestay to ensure we cut to the proper length. But I admit this project segment was a nail-biter worthy of procrastination. We got it done in any case.

Sorry for the cliché basketball term, but going full court press comes to mind as I took a few extra days off from paying work, to frantically address priority boat items. To keep track of everything, I now use an electronic Google Keep list – a new substitute for the physical Post-It notes that kept falling off the wall. My Garmin smartwatch says my body-battery is taking a beating and I “should take a rest soon”. Maybe the watch isn’t so smart; if it only knew what I knew. I don’t think about it, paste fresh Band-Aids over my scrapes, and just keep focusing on our next milestone. I’m only fractionally stressed compared to a couple years ago, when I was Director of a large team of sometimes-overstressed engineers, attempting to deal with their own complicated lives and work. Now that pressure is self-imposed, and I absolutely enjoy the thrill of accomplishment, of reaching another step toward upcoming adventure and bliss. Kelly certainly knows that I don’t sit still for very long when I have that focus, and so also takes comfort that we’ll soon be riding the waves.

Yet again, we’re staying with generous friends to ride out this transitory period; it’s Sunday morning, mid-holiday weekend, and I’m looking out the window hoping for a break in the rainy cold. Our good friends know that attacking our Goal is our passion. We don’t mind paying our way, but they seem to enjoy our company, and we we’re careful not to wear out our welcome. Maybe tomorrow it’ll be dry enough to unpack the poor little Subaru, squatting with it’s hinges about to pop? We have many bags, not all the “dry” kind, and the dinghy needs to be bailed out. We’ll get there soon, I say.

Such a relief to step Fayaway’s mast after 15 years, finding that our new rigging work actually fits as planned. Maybe we’re getting better at this stuff?

The Launch: Thursday last week, we launched our new home. A big push to finish many long days and living out of duffels seemed to reach a mid-crescendo: the launch of our beautiful home into the soon-to-be bustling harbor. As the crew rolled her back into the salty water I scrambled around, removing Fayaway’s thick sole panels hoping not to see dreaded weeping and seeping. Soon satisfied enough to continue, I watched the boatyard owner, a sixty-something old-salt, turn the instrument panel key… and vroom – the Yanmar diesel instantly came to life. Phew! It actually runs. Another mini-milestone, another relief, like feeling a notch drop on the stress-o-meter. Many days of crouching over that engine, cleaning, wiring, wrenching and scraping greasy broken fingernails is finally returning a tad of reconciliation to hear that motor purr and nothing spewing unexpectedly.

“Major Milestone!”, I kept repeating to Kelly, as I bounced back and forth across the deck and in and out of the companionway, organizing lines and tying up loose ends. The feeling of momentum is pulling me onward again, and I am torn between breathing sighs and scrambling to organize the next phase of Keep lists. Sitting at the mooring, I spent the afternoon organizing, checking and tuning mast rigging and generally assessing our condition for the coming days.

Kory Kory: After a few hours of puttering and feeling comfortable enough to leave the boat again, we called for a ride back to shore. We sold our old Kory Kory (Fayaway’s trusty servant / PVC inflatable dinghy) with our “old” boat, and so had no way to get back to shore. We received a hard-shell sailing dinghy with our new Fayaway, but decided we wanted a different dinghy type and ordered a more stable inflatable. Taking an extended lunch, I drove a to a discount marine chandlery to pick up our new RIB. He came all shriveled in what looks like a bright-blue zippered body bag, easily fitting into the back of our rented minivan. After another four days’ work and hotel stays, I stopped during the ride back at a friend’s house who stored our fantastic 8HP outboard engine for the winter. We took a break and talked about his attractive yard foliage while sipping more coffee. Another 45 minutes later, I picked up Kelly and the gasoline cans, waited in line at the DMV for NH registration stickers and continued that afternoon for the drive south to Fayaway’s temporary harbor. Our task/milestone that day was to launch the new Kory Kory, ensuring our freedom to move between dock and boat.

Kelly inflates the new Kory Kory, an Achilles 8′-10″ RIB, before our first trip across the harbor. Kory Kory is our “family car” on water, shuttling us to/from Fayaway.

After brief introductions and chatting with the friendly harbormaster, we dragged everything out of the minivan and down to the dinghy dock for assembly. While Kelly pumped up Kory Kory, I drove back to our “temporary” storage locker to retrieve a lock for the motor, and a painter to keep us tied to the dock. A bit of pulling and grunting started up that trusty 2-stroke engine, and off we went to visit our new home for another couple quick hours. Unfortunately we couldn’t stay long because our lease was ending the next day and had only one more day to move out. So, after another mediocre dinner at the local 99 Restaurant, we drove yet another couple hours back to our seaside rental for some remaining packing and a final night in a real bed.

I’m finishing this note, feeling very fortunate and thankful to have friends inviting us to weather out a few more cooler wet spring days in their warm home, with our stuffed-to-the-gills hatchback sitting in the driveway. They know we’re passionate travelers, but not hard-core survivalists – we do appreciate a little comfort!

Items not going into storage are going to the boat. Subarus seem to have remarkably strong hinges that don’t spring apart when doors are jammed onto their latches.

During coming weeks we’ll be tidying up some leftover pre-departure needs, and then sail north for a brief stop in Newburyport, before continuing to Maine.

Let’s give additional thanks to the Earth, and the seasonal warm weather. We’ll all enjoy getting back out into the sunshine, hopefully for some mask-less socializing, as long as people are vaccinated. You DID get your vaccination, right??

Soon to be empty: Another transitional storage locker provides a handy location for tools and marine supplies. This one was never fully packed, but gave us a safe place to keep tools and costly components awaiting installation. Logistics!

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