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Fresh Out

Posted by Tom Benedict on 29/05/2012

A boat is a hole in the water into which you throw money, or so the saying goes. It’s not too far from the truth. All in all we spent more than I expected on our boat before we even got it in the water. A few nights ago, Rydra, who takes care of all our banking, came to bed and told me, “That’s it. Fresh out.” We had set a cap on how much we were willing to spend to get a boat in the water, and we’d hit it. (Actually, we’d gone past it, but she let it slide. It’s her boat, too, after all!)

Boats are a lot like cars this way. If you live somewhere with junk yards, owning and maintaining a car becomes a lot more affordable. Bust a side mirror, and you may spend ten bucks at a junk yard. Bust a side mirror where your only choice is to replace them in pairs with new parts, and you may be in the hole for a hundred dollars or more. With a boat, if you have a source of used parts to draw on, a surprising amount of money can be saved. Take a simple shackle. Boats use shackles like candy. If you’re scrounging them off of dead boats, you may have a buck or two invested in each of your shackles. Buy them new and they range from five to twenty dollars, depending. Given the number of shackles on a boat, that’s the difference between thirty bucks in shackles and several hundred.

We don’t have junk yards out here on the Big Island. We also don’t have a lot of beach cats. I had to buy most of the hardware for this boat new. Oh sure, I picked up as much as I could off of Ebay, but there are limits. If the person doing the selling doesn’t know much about boats, you may bid on something that’s described as “1 lot shackles, perfect for boat!” thinking you’re getting stainless marine fittings, only to find out you spent thirty bucks on a box of rusted galvanized shackles for trailers and chain. We bought some of our stuff off Ebay, but the bulk of it came from Murray’s, Sailcare, and Sailrite. It all just added up in the end.

Discouraging? Sure. But Rydra’s news came at a time when all the major and 99% of the minor work on the boat was done. I think she timed it that way on purpose.

The jib is still out, and the winds have been atrocious. So the boat is still sitting on its trailer in the yard waiting for a chance to sail. Yesterday my daughter had a ballet performance in Captain Cook, south of Kailua-Kona. We left the house in the morning with the heavy tradewinds hammering the trees. We don’t often go as far south as Captain Cook, so we spent some time at a really cool park down there. My oldest sat, reading her book, while the other two kids played. I stared out over the cliffs to the ocean, watching the wind on the water. I enjoy seeing my daughter dance, and I was looking forward to the performance. But I couldn’t help thinking how many months it had been since we got our boat, and still the ocean was out of reach. And now, I had no more resources left to throw at it.

The dance performance was a lot of fun. The theater group she’s part of put on a production of Alice in Wonderland using a mix of ballet, hip-hop, and tap. It went together far better than I thought it would, given that description. The choreography was impressive. Two of the dances combined two different dance forms in a single performance. I’m glad I was able to go.

On the way back I couldn’t help staring at the ocean, judging what the wind was like and guessing at how far we’d be able to sail in a day if we put in at Kawaihae or Puako or any of the other spots we passed along the way. As we drove I spotted several sails on the water. At least someone was out there. I just wished it could’ve been us.

By the time we got home the sun was starting to set, and a rainstorm had blown in. The kids were spotting rainbows and guessing at the treasures to be found at their ends. And that’s when my own questions were answered.


Ok, ok. I see the pot of gold. I can wait a little longer to go sailing with it.

– Tom

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