Yesterday was a good day. Just before lunch, a sailing friend from the WEYC dropped by. He said he was cleaning out his storage unit, and had a few bits of boating hardware to get rid of, and wanted my opinion on what it might be worth.
Among the things he mentioned were a pair of winches, which interested me a bit. He brought them over half an hour later. A pair of Harken 44 self-tailing winches, the old style with the roller-bearing stripper, freshly re-built and in factory boxes. They’d come off the raceboat he crews on, to be replaced by the newest/lightest/greatest by a manager with plenty of his owner’s money to spend.

“I figure they’d be dear to someone… what do you think they’re worth?”
“Oh, I dunno,” I replied, “How much do you want to get out of it?”
“Well, for you, say, $50 each? I mean, they’re just taking up space in my little container…”

I had the cash out of my pocket and the boxes carted off before he had a chance to reconsider. $100! For two 44 ST’s? Yikes! I wouldn’t have expected these winches, used, to go for less than $500 each… New 44’s are around $1400 apiece..

I used to kid my friend Marty for switching out his 42’s for used ex-powered 48’s, but after sailing with him before and after the switch, I’m convinced that otherwise “oversized” winches are just right; sooo much less effort and hassle, less wraps, quicker sheeting, etc. The only drawback, of course, is the crazy expense of new winches these days, easily the single most expensive pieces of hardware on any boat.
Now my standart Lewmar 42’s can move back onto pedestals for secondary use; stays’l, spinnaker, etc. What a score!

Every once in awhile this certain thought pops into my head, summoned into existance by some otherwise unrelated chance encounter with people, places, or other thoughts themselves. In short, life is good; with each passing day, i am able to say anew, “This is the single-longest stretch of time since moving out of my parent’s home when i have not had to worry”. My accomodations aren’t luxurious, but i DO live on my own boat, rent-free. i’m not possessed of many close friends here, but i DO have the respect and support of a great local community of aquaintances, neighbors, and like-minded boat-folk. i’m not rich, but i DO always seem to have a few spare hundred in my pocket. i wouldn’t call my life luxurious, but if i want to go out for a meal, i go out (probably far too often); if i want to buy a new toy, i do; if i want to take a couple days off work to go sailing, i can.
When did this start? i trace it back and back and… oh yeah, things started getting better when Kim dumped me. Now, i’m not saying that there’s a connection there, just a matter of timing, i guess. Single life has been pretty good to me, at any rate. The only lady that demands my money and attention is Centaurea, and she’s pretty easy to satisfy; i mean, anything better than being abandoned here in the boatyard for another lifetime or two is a good thing for such a soulful boat.
i have my moody moments, but generally-speaking, i’d be hard-pressed to describe a bad day experienced since i moved here. The islands aren’t where i want to spend the rest of my life (or even another year, really), but it’s been a good run so far. i think i’m breaking even… balancing the scales. Making up for the shitty days.
“They say” that living well is the best revenge… well, yeah, maybe… i think that living well, really well, is what happens when you stop caring about revenge; when living well is just that, not “living better than”. Of course, it’s easy to feel morally positive when the basic needs are met; food, shelter, clothing, a boat, a dream…
For so long i wanted to take someone else on this ride. Now that i’m able to (financially and logistically), i find that i no longer really want to. But maybe that’s just breaking even again… the scale tips the other way, seasons revolve, and new adventures (surely, less lucrative ones, at that) beckon.

i’m sick of the fence mentality. if it seems greener on the other side, it’s likely because you’ve stomped it into a muddy morass on this side.
It bums me out when i hear from folks: “Oh, it’s so great here, and i’m doing so well, and a few things are off, but they’ll only get better…”, then awhile later it’s, “Yeah, this scene is totally played out, i gotta get outta here, maybe back to where i was before…”. Stop it! i don’t even want to hear how happy you are if you’re just going to feel shitty about it a few months down the road.
Truth: No matter where you go, there you are. Scenery changes nothing. Other people can inspire, but they change nothing. You can’t have it both ways, but you can have it every way; expecting anything better than what you have is denying the greatness of the simple things. The air is good. The water is clean. Feel immense gratitude that you’re not one of 70,000+ rotting corpses in Pakistan. Feel immense gratitude that you didn’t just lose it all in a hurricane.
Hey you, the rest of the first-world elite: look in the mirror and just try to slap the hypocracy off your own face. You, the person who advocates “Kill Your TV!”, yet bemoans the cancellation of a favourite show. You, the person who’s “always broke”, but lives in Western Europe, or North America. And you, the person with the freedom to go anywhere, do anything, and yet always feels bored by it all.
i won the lottery the day i was born. Does that mean i should stop trying? Hell no. Should i complain when i hit those stumbling blocks? Hell no.
My friend Mose Malone here is 77 years old. He can barely walk these days. In his 40’s, he was totally paralyzed from the neck down in a workplace accident. He lived in a hospital bed for 4 years. 20 years of physical therapy later, and here he is, driving out to West end to visit, hobbling over from the car to sit with us under tha palms. When he asks me, “Bruthah! ‘ow you bin doin’ dis beautiful day?”, well fuck, i can’t much complain, can i? Actually, if i had anything to complain about, it’s gone, right then and there.
i guess those people are my heroes; the ones who remain positive and joyful in the face of adversity, and the people who got out there and ‘did it’, without first knowing how it would work out. And the people who avoided all the fences, and found the boundless fields…

here i am

a few days back, i got an invite to join myspace.com, ostensibly to participate in a tallship sailors group there. When i got around to replying, i was quick to send off a “thanks but no thanks reply”. If anything, i was a little catty about it. i mean, why would i want to participate in a virtual sailing world when i live in a real one?
i served up a few eyes on the dinghy before it clicked. i had this sudden flashback to a few years ago. i was living in the bus, working odd jobs, but pretty much just being my old complacent self. i spent a lot of time on public-access computers, running my housetrucks group and chatting. i was just getting into the idea of sailing back then, and i was trying to find that etherial sailing community “out there”. i was landlocked (in more ways than one), and although i couldn’t have put my finger on it at the time, i was feeling a growing uneasiness that was infecting my life. i was fiercly interested in communities, online or otherwise. Today in the shop, working away, i had this sudden flash of sitting in the cubicle at Stardate Computers, emailing boat owners, posting in sailing groups, researching crew placements, etc. In fact, those were spiritualy desperate times.
It’s not so much a case of “reality vs. virtuality”. In some ways, it’s a realization that, when i was working on the Lady, i liked the work, but not the people. The work, the boat, and the sailing (what little of the latter we actually did) was the thing; the relationships and interpersonal dynamics were what made the gig ultimately unsatisfactory. In the end, more than any of that, what makes me shy away from the virtual world, the online community, is that it represents and reminds me of a time when all this was but a dream. i’m there now. This is the dream; being paid well to do work i love, living on a tropical island, sailing whenever i please, where most every friend of mine is a sailor too, and the evening conversation comes and goes to boats, wind, and water.
Of course, i still blog, but that’s more my space to “rant and roar”, and express myself for the benefit of my largely non-sailing familiy and friends who can’t be here with me. Like Bill said to me in Vancouver, “That’s it. You’ve done it. You’re living the dream.”. Well, this isn’t all of it, but it’s a great place to be, and a place from which i can both look forward with joy, and look back knowing that i have set aside many of those impediments with which i once held myself back.

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