WE INTERRUPT THIS POST WITH A BRIEF MESSAGE:
On February 12 and 13, my eBook - "Harts At Sea Sailing to Windward" will be available for free at Amazon. If you haven't purchased it yet, get it for free on one of those days -- and please tell your friends and fellow sailors. Once you've read it, please take the time to post a review on Amazon. Thank you.
And now, back to our regularly scheduled post.
Location: 18.20.241 North 65.55.745 West
EW thinks about boat projects. I think his mind goes from bow to stern and stern to bow, thinking of what needs work below the waterline and above the waterline. He doesn't always make lists, but he knows what needs to be done. Most of the time, he gets to things before they get annoying. Sometimes he waits until he absolutely has to fix it - whatever "it" is.
He's always been like this. He fixed my little Toyota before our third date, and told me that my mechanic hadn't changed all the spark plugs. When we lived on shore, he found the car mechanics, and prompted/urged/nagged me to get my vehicle serviced in a timely fashion. When we had a house, he repaired things that I didn't know were broken. I love EW.
Our Tohatsu dinghy motor has run very well so far. We had one issue with the pull cord that we finally got help with in Grenada, and EW frequently makes sure that the water pump is working well. Other than that, we gas 'er up and go. The manual suggests that in a perfect world she get serviced every year, and she did when we lived in Maine. Like all normal sailors, we'd haul the dinghy and store it, and would leave the motor with a shop for service and storage. Now that we are cruisers, she's not that well treated. She also isn't loved by motor repair people in the Leeward and Windward Islands. They haven't yet made the switch to four stroke engines. (In fact, the farther south you travel, four stroke engines are stolen less than two stroke engines. That works for me.)
There is a Tohatsu repair shop here in St. Thomas, and EW has been determined to have a professional do a thousand hour check-up on our 9.8. Of course the challenge was to get the 9.8 to the professional. Actually, getting the motor to the professional was relatively easy. The challenge was getting the motor to the truck.
We are anchored in Charlotte Amalie Harbor and use the dinghy dock at Yacht Haven Grand. I am thankful every day for that dinghy dock. It's crowded, but it's free. Free is good. Yacht Haven Grand is an IGY owned marina and they largely cater to really big private yachts.
For example, Athena, the worlds largest private sailboat was recently anchored there. Those people don't use the dinghy dock. Those people ride golf carts from their slip to the gate. Really.
Even so, IGY provides a dinghy dock and lets all of us cheap cruisers use it. Thank you IGY.
EW arranged for Cousin Jeff to meet him and the motor at 6:30 AM. Jeff actually goes to work that early and his shop is right across the street from Gary's Outboards. (How perfect is that?) So it was up to EW and me to get the 88-pound motor up to the parking lot. EW and Jeff would drop it off, Gary promised to get it serviced that day, and EW would go to work with Jeff. I, of course, would row back out to La Luna, getting my exercise for the day. (SIDE NOTE: I am the only person here who rows an inflatable dinghy for fun. We don't have a kayak, so I row. Get over it, people.)
So, EW spent a lot of time working on how to get the motor off of the dinghy - without dropping it in the water. He decided that if we went in really early in the morning (like we had a choice) we would be able to tie up next to one particular piling. He brought a strong rope and a block and tackle. He tied a really, really tight clove hitch --n amazing tight clove hitch --around the slick metal post on the dock, tied the block and tackle to that and used this system to lift the motor from dinghy to dock. Worked like a charm. Unfortunately I had forgotten the camera.
Gary did, indeed, service the Tohatsu before the end of the day. EW helped Jeff with some errands, and I worked on board the boat. Late in the afternoon, EW emailed me from the iPhone to let me know they were approaching the marina, and I rowed in from La Luna - again eliciting a number of comments. (The new West Marine dinghy actually rows very well -- particularly when there isn't an 88-pound motor on the back.) This time, the dinghy dock was three deep at our morning access point, so EW rigged the block and tackle on the railing of the ramp. We needed one person to help protect the motor blades while EW hauled the motor up and swung her over the dinghy and a father and son from Australia jumped into the action at just the right moment. Ta-da!
EW had thought about it, planned for it, and brought a tote bag of tackle. Everything worked like a charm.
I love EW.