15 February 2010


                                    MEN AND SHIPS ROT IN PORT

We had a friend who you to say this in deep sonorous tones, that lent an air of veracity to what at the time just seemed funny to us. A lot of years have since
drifted by, a lot of water has passed under our keel, and I am now facing the rotting in port  part, and realizing how true it is.

This year we took a break in our normal never stop moving life style, and instead of just rushing into Ft. Lauderdale for instant maintenance on our selves and our boat, we decided to give everyone, the boat yard and the doctors, time to really do their thing. I’m now convinced that you give either one long enough, you let the boat sit still long enough, and the list of things to fix never grows any shorter. And are we really ever any better for the heavy maintenance? I guess we could say yes to many things.

We don’t think Dave will have to worry about prostate problems in the near future, after traveling for years with the equipment and the knowledge of how to take care of a shut down if that occurred in some remote anchorage. I have had to face up to some age and weight related issues that have led to a healthier life style, and I hope a few more years of being able to keep wandering on both our parts. The boat finally has a proper windshield wiper blade and a heavier duty motor to drive it, our transom lockers have been sealed so hopefully we won’t pick up a load of water when we push hard enough to sink the stern,  and we are also hoping some of the paint problems from our Turkish paint job have been finally fixed. The dinghy got some minor adjustments to its ten year old body, like a new towing plate in front and a new internal gas tank, plus the awkward handles that stuck out much too far, and made a smooth landing almost impossible for me, have been replaced. We love our old Carib, and haven’t seen a layout in its size we like any better, so keeping it in great shape seems worth the effort. Niftiest new thing, Dave is most proud of and I most appreciate, are his newly designed door handles for our forward facing wing doors, that make those doors easily have a positive seal, and should last the life of the boat, instead of needing replacing every year like the old Perkos.

So in many ways things are better, but I know, when we start moving again, in just a few short weeks, all sorts of problems will rear their ugly heads. Sit still in one spot long enough and the gremlins move aboard, or so it seems. That’s just another way of saying, “rot in port.” You could also use the old truism, “Use it or lose it”, and that’s true for the bodies as well. So ladies and gents, if you love your boat and love the boating life, keep on moving, as long as you can. Don’t ignore the maintenance, but an amazing amount of things can be done, especially if you’re good at fixing things, on the fly. Either West Marine or Fed Ex is everywhere, and so are good people to help, if you do a little homework. Ditto for good doctors and dentists, not as good as having real follow up care with the same person, just a small price to pay if you want to be a sea gypsy. Keep telling yourself, “MEN AND SIPS ROT IN PORT, even if you don’t tealize it, and keep on moving.