The View Up Here

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One Step Up, Two Steps Back

Posted by Tom Benedict on 15/04/2012

The boat project has been a serious case of one step up and two steps back recently. Every step of the way, it seems as if it’s fighting me.

Here’s a recent example: I was sick for the past couple of days, but I managed to drive into Kona today to pick up lights for the trailer. These are sealed LED lights, submersible, pre-wired, ready to go. Easiest install in the world. Four bolts and a bunch of clips, and I should be done, right?

Wrong. The lights assume you have a flat surface to which you can bolt them. Unfortunately the trailer was built with the rearmost U-channel facing backwards, not forwards. So there’s no flat surface on the entire rear end of the trailer. I need to install one. Fifteen minutes to install the lights. Several hours to make a flat surface to mount them to.

Another example are the trapeze wires. I finally broke down and bought four sets of 2:1 trapeze adjusters and rings. They’re beautiful, and I can’t wait to use them! I already picked up all the shock cord I need to make them work, and I picked up four micro blocks to run the shock cord through. All I need to do is attach the trapeze wires to the mast. Simple, right? (Hey, the boat came with trapeze wires!)

Wrong. The trap wires were attached with a bolt and nut in such a way that the trap wires could slip off the bolt while the boat is under sail. So I poked around and figured out how to do it using a single shackle on each side. As an added benefit, the shackle also makes the attachment for the mast stays more secure. All I needed was a pair of 1/4″ shackles! Simple, right?

Wrong! The shackles I picked up (which were labeled as 1/4″ shackles) had pins around 0.270″ in diameter. Still roughly 1/4″, but too large to fit through the eyes in my mast stays. I could drill out the eyes in the stays, but somehow drilling out a hole in a forged tension member just strikes me as a reallyreally bad idea. So those shackles went into the parts box, and I ordered a new pair from Sail Care that have 0.230″ pins. Now I have to wait a week before I find out what the next show-stopper is on the trapeze wires.

I won’t even go into how I’m doing on the registration for the boat and the trailer. There are so many Catch 22 situations in there I have to write them down to keep them straight. Right now I’m waiting on wiring the trailer until I can finish painting it, which is waiting on welding to be finished, which is waiting on a welder to be fixed, which is waiting for the guy with the welder to come back from vacation so he can fix his welder, do the welding, I can install the parts, he can weld them, I can paint them, and finally (finally…) wire the @#$% trailer. Oh! And then get it registered.

So the to-do list on the boat really isn’t getting any shorter. It’s just getting more diversified. Instead of a single line item for “Install light kit” I now have several bullets that include buying metal stock for making the plates, bolts for attaching them to the trailer, another line for painting the rotten things, etc. It just keeps going. And going. And going.

At some point I know it’ll be done. Already, in many ways Smilodon is farther along than Schrödinger’s Cat ever was. But at least we got Schrödinger’s Cat out on the water! I haven’t managed that yet with Smilodon. I’ll just keep gritting my teeth, making my stupid lists, and grinding away at it.

I just wanted to sail.

– Tom


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