The Perils of Technology

Yesterday I remarked to Drew that the older I get, the less patience I have for stuff that doesn’t work. Computers especially, but any gee-whiz gadget that sucks up more time than it saves? Drives me bananas. “We might be on the wrong trip then,” he said.

We’re not. But I’m glad he reminded me that on boats, everything breaks. Repeatedly.

The sorting and reloading process has continued all week but we’re nearly there. More tedious, though, has been discovering things that no longer work. The VHF radio, for example. The morning after we moved aboard (Tuesday! yay for living aboard!) we turned it on to listen to the weather … and nothing happened. After some troubleshooting Drew ended up going to the top of the mast and replacing the VHF antenna.

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Drew up the top of the mast.

(Loyal readers of Gene’s blog will recall that Drew did the exact same thing last summer before they headed for Nova Scotia. Go figure.)

Then there’s the AIS — shiny new system that we had installed so we can see other boats on the chart plotter and be seen by them in turn. Great safety system. Sadly, it doesn’t work with our chart plotter — at least it doesn’t display other boats on the cockpit plotter yet. Argh.

Then this morning we decided to re-test the windlass, a motor that lowers and raises the anchor (150+ feet of anchor chain is incredibly heavy). It moved, but just barely. We’ve spent the afternoon with the yard guys trying to figure out why, especially when it worked only a few weeks ago. Argh again.

But a word about the fine people of Lyman-Morse Boatbuilders. To a person they’re incredibly kind and capable. There’s John, the marine engineer from Alabama, who shouts “yes m’am” and “no sir” in a loud baritone and knows so much about diesel engines, compressors and generators it makes my head spin. Drew asks him a simple question about tightening belts and off he goes about which size socket wrench to use and exactly how many turns to rotate it before you check the tension. There’s Woody, the rigger, who silently appears to show us new soft shackles he’s devised out of kevlar, a type of rope that’s stronger than steel but still soft and light. There’s Bill the metal fabricator, who helpfully mentioned that his wife always gets breakfast in bed on their boat, which sounded to me like an excellent arrangement.

Steve the service manager came up with a brilliant job for the kids: sand-blasting metal faceplates to clean off the corrosion.

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Steve showing Drew and Elsa what needs cleaning.

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Soren with the results of his handiwork.

I thought pressure-washing our deck a few weeks ago was pretty fun, but this is a whole other level of awesome. You put your hands through gloves as though you’re holding some dangerous lab substance.

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Elsa prepares to unleash a fatal virus.

And the compressor for this thing is so big it sits in another room.

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Scott, the assistant yard manager, saw them working away and mentioned that driftwood looks amazing after you sandblast it. “Can we?” they panted. “Sure!” he beamed. What a guy.

1 Comment

  1. Linda.. This is thet best entry! Reading all the agh’s from a female perspective is such fun.. your writing, not all the ailments you’ve had to solve. Punctuating the blog with photos also warms this Nana’s heart.

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