Monday, December 15, 2014

Eyes On The Prize

In the midst of everyone in the US getting ready for Christmas and Santa, while everyone seems to be decking their halls (and walls and lawns and cars) with festive decorations, I am trying my darnedest not to succumb to a fit of schmoopiness. While I might not be feeling very merry, I refuse to have a Blue Christmas and will instead focus on the positive.

 See, we had planned to be leaving NOW. Head the boat  for New Orleans, spend Christmas in my favorite US city and perhaps pal around with Dani and Tate ( who are such great peeps and unlike us, they are leaving soon so if you need to read about a boat underway, see their blog!) and then head east and south for the Caribbean. There was a fatal flaw in this plan. We had not adequately allowed for Captain Perfecto's need to complete the final bits of boat work with his requisite painstakingly, glacially slow but never the less absolutely gorgeous workmanship. Entire Pacific islands were created out of lava at a faster pace...

Everyone admires a perfectly restored boat which has been completely refit/rebuilt  with functionality, safety, structural integrity and beauty in mind. Not so many have the stomach to actually do the work required. I am certainly not going to fault those with a "go now" philosophy who will settle for "good enough" because if left to my own devices I think I would absolutely fall into this camp. But I am not a solo sailor. (which is good because I am still NOT confident in my docking abilities) I am 1/2 of a sailing couple and the needs of all must be considered. Mark NEEDS the boat to be finished to a level he is comfortable with. The difficulty is what he is comfortable with is, well, perfect. It's an obsession really. I have walked this path with him before at various times and I have found it best to just give him the latitude and space to do what he needs to do, cheer him on his successes, commiserate on the failures and be patient. The results have always been worth it in the end but I am not going to lie, it is not always easy to await the finished product.

So what work is being completed? A whole lot of varnishing. After having hit upon an application method that gives consistent results with Interlux Perfection Plus Varnish Clear Quart Kit , we thought we would try the same with Bristol Finish  . We have a friend who had excellent results with Bristol Finish and since we had some on hand, why not do a bit of experimenting? The good news? Bristol Finish does in fact provide a harder finish than Interlux. The bad news? It is really, really persnickety. We had such a time trying to get a good result with each coat and it just never happened. Basically, it just looked worse with each and every coat despite our painstakingly precise application. Bottom line for us is we will be an Interlux boat. Yes, we might have to sand and reapply a few coats a bit more frequently than we would with Bristol but this is offset by the fact that we can manage to get a really nice finish with the Perfection Plus.

The turtle shell should be reinstalled in the next couple of days and then we can start thinking about installing our rigid boom vang. Progress people, this is progress.

In the mean time, we've managed to sneak in the baking of a few batches of Christmas cookies which Kitty delivered to her "friends" at "her favorite store in the world"- Kemah Hardware. Kitty performed with her preschool class at the Christmas spectacular. We ran into Santa Claus at the Kemah Christmas parade. One of the benefits of catching the tail end of the parade, Santa has time to really listen to what you would like for Christmas. Santa even took the time to sit down and have a long chat with our wee girl and even wrote down what she wanted for Christmas " a pink truck. Not a pretend one but a REALLY real one". Santa then told her she might have to wait a few years but that he wrote it down so he would not forget and then asked her for another option to which she replied "it's all on the letter I wrote you".

So maybe we aren't leaving in a few weeks as planned. Things happen and you can either fight it or go with it. We are going with it, keeping on keeping on and keeping our eyes firmly on the prize. Soon. Very, very soon.


  1. I'm sorry you aren't leaving when you meant to - that would have been a GREAT Christmas! But as usual, Kitty steals the show, and who can argue with that?!?!?! :-)

  2. That photo of Kitty BEAMING at Santa is priceless! I love it! Naia is terrified, claws her way under my shirt shaking like a leaf and crying terrified, of Santa.
    This has been a rough weather fall/ winter in the warmer climes, so it's good that you're sitting still for now.

  3. Merry Christmas you too! I love to see pics of Kitty and also the progress on the boat. Don't get too down about not leaving yet. Originally we were supposed to leave 2 years ago but projects on the boat added up and we delayed things. I agree that it takes two people to sail (unless you are single handed) and just like a relationship compromise is necessary. Tate was ok spending money and LOTSA time on projects that I wanted but he could care less about because they were important to me. These things are obviously more important to Mark so it's good you guys can work together on that.

    I hope you guys have great Holidays and we miss not seeing you but I'll keep my hope up that one day you'll get here!

  4. Our commiserations but it doesn't pay to take too much heed in dead-lines... When we bought our boat we thought minimum 3 months work with no maximum... 4 years later we finally left Texas! I can't say I regret a day... We have pride and faith in our boat that few others have. It's worth it! Though our varnishing stickleing had to calm as we ran low on captains we tried many others some shocking some just OK but the last two coats we put on the mast in Tonga were old and too viscous... I fear it may have to come off before the next coat. Best to keep on top of it though. People may sniff at how much time we spend on our boat but we don't regret a moment. Go when you're ready... It'll probably be a Friday, it always is for us!

  5. Truth is,varnish, like so many other things on a boat have to be maintained continually so why not do it along the way. i mean come on, in six months you will have to do it again to keep it looking decent.

    1. We are working on other installs, not just varnish but until it all gets finished its too boring to shoot so I wait to write about it.