Today, I cracked open Poetry's manual. It is the original Sabre manual that came with the boat in 1988. The manual is a simple, cheap, 3-ring binder holding photocopied print-outs that detail every aspect of the boat. There are line-art illustrations that diagram the systems. There are notes in biro from brokers or past owners. The paper is yellow with age.
As compared with the glossy, 3-year old, highly-produced, easy-to-use, Raymarine manuals full of photos, this old technical, manual is like an ancient manuscript. Hard to penetrate. Overwhelming in detail. Laying out prescriptively what I must and must not do. I don't know where to start.
This manual was accompanied by another 3-ring binder full of thin brochures that accompanied the various pieces of equipment that were installed over the years. This includes a brochure for a macerator. Poetry has a macerator? News to me. Probably explains the problems we had yesterday with head.
One simple small sheet, a compass deviation card, reads:
Owner: Chet Redpath
I knew that the boat currently known as Poetry, had been in the Great Lakes at some point in her life, but the previous owner had her for 5 years. What happened in those intervening years and Bagpipe?! I don't know this boat.
This was something I was not ready for. Buying this boat was an important event for us. We have waited 20 years to do this. We developed our sailing skills to the point where we felt confident in handling and owning a boat like this. We saved and planned for this. We organized our life for this. What I had not prepared for was buying a mystery.
I am not worried that we have bought a duff boat. I know what I am doing. Well, up to a point. Anyway, the owner had kept her in a highly-regarded yard and more importantly the surveyor was as good as they get.
It's scary and thrilling to realize that it's going to take while to get to know our boat. I don't know if I will ever learn her story. Hopefully it was dull one. "Two good owners who sailed her to church twice a month."
It's exciting getting to know this big complex beast.
We open every cupboard with anticipation. Most are empty but a few hold surprises. Ah, that one's great for holding bottles. What's that black thing with a Raymarine logo on it? It's the autopilot compass. No, the old autopilot compass. What's that? No clue. Have to RTFM (Read the F'ing Manual).
The old cliche is that the happiest day in your life is when you buy a boat and the second happiest day is when you sell her. I think that's bullshit. When we bought our first boat, Alad, a 19' Cape Dory in 1989, we were newly-wed and she was an important part of our new life together. We sold her when Matt, our son came along. It was a sad but practical decision. The buying of Messing About was a pragmatic one and when we sell her, we will be happy for who she goes to not for the act of selling her. She's a good old boat.
This is different. I wasn't ready for this. I have gone to sleep with a knot in my stomach for weeks. First the anxious thrill of the chase as we bought her, worried that the surveyor would diagnose that she had cancer and we should walk away. Then having her delivered. Storms and tornadoes were forecast. What if we never got to sail her beyond the brief sea-trial? Then, what if a Noreaster blew up and ripped her off her guest mooring?
Last night I woke up at 4 in the morning. I was worried about her. For Christ's sake, Adam, it's a well-insured inanimate object!
I can't put my finger on it. It's spritual. It's not like owning a house. It's certainly not like owning a car (boring metal and plastic things). I can't describe it but I wasn't ready for it. Maybe, it was more about the journey to get to this point. Waiting this long. This marks a transition in our life. New possibilities. New dreams. An inflection point.
Maybe that's what we'll call her: Inflection.
Hhhm. Naaah! Sounds like Infection.