October 24. 2013-Working On Big Blue
Three slips down the dock lies a maxi. I’m working on it. It is a dinosaur.
For those of you into dinosaurs, this big blue maxi is one. T-Rex; seventy-three feet of IOR muscle and bone that shakes the ground when it walks.
But it is old. Kialoa old, Sorcery old.
The new boats fly but these old beasts dig holes in the water, huge holes, and damn the force. It has sheets as big as your wrist, winches like garbage cans, and a mast as big as your sister.
I’m giving Kenny a hand with this maxi; Kenny, and Fernando and sometimes Hannes the carpenter. So there's three or four of us working on Big Blue these days. Kenny has been in Cartagena a few years and he works on boats here. He was hired by the owner of this old maxi, Phillipe, and then he hired all of us. Kenny is an artist when it comes to making a boat look good. Perfection, that’s Kenny, but he does not know much about dinosaurs, nor does Fernando. Hannes knows some, not a lot.
But I know a little. I live on a dinosaur and have sailed a few, and so on that basis Kenny brought me on. Now I am rebuilding Barient winches, rigging mainsheets, testing Lewmar hydraulic systems, and getting greasy. Every morning I get up and go over to Big Blue. After lunch, instead of taking my nap, I get up and go back to Big Blue.
Now that’s a good question.
I guess when Kenny said the boat had to be motored down to Panama because it “couldn’t be sailed”, it just stuck in my craw.
“Why can’t it be sailed?” I asked.
“Owner says the main is trashed.” He answered.
I looked at tubs of hardware still needing to be installed. This boat was a long way from being ready to sail.
“I see. Can we look at the main?”
“Sure, why not?”
We put a halyard on to lift the beast. We hauled it through the foredeck hatch and dropped it into a dingy. Four local dudes helped us drag it out of the dingy and into the park where we spread that mainsail right out. Eighty feet on the hoist, old laminate, but actually it looked pretty good.
A local guy with a husky sewing machine and big balls took it home to do a few little fixes and I turned to Kenny and shrugged.
“What next boss?”
“Let’s take a look at those winches”.
So that’s how I got to be working on this Big Blue dinosaur.
I actually love it, the camaraderie is fun, and maybe later we’ll go sailing.
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Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Cartagena