More Leg Work

The drive down from the east bay to Ventura was a rough one. Karen picked me up after driving from Seattle (a 13 hour drive), and we headed for Ventura almost immediately. I say almost because It took a good hour for us to find enough room in Karen’s Jeep to fit all my “crap,” as she put it. It was like a really frustrating game of Tetras. Crap Tetras. To be honest, most of it is crap. I’m in the process of filtering out the essentials.

This all took place around five in the afternoon, and we didn't get on the road until eight. Woof. I was a bit nervous during the first hour because we had so much stuff/crap in the car that we had no review mirror. A minor inconvenience that could result in death.

We really got in the driving grove once we put on Pandora’s 90’s Pop mix. It forced a sing along session that thankfully kept us awake. However, no amount of Next, Sarah McLaughlin, and Sugar Ray would stop the nagging need for sleep. After thinking a tree was a T-Rex attacking the 101 highway, I decided it was time for an emergency stop at the San Luis Obispo Denny’s for coffee and something called Pancake Puppies. I felt a little terrible eating something called a Pancake Puppy, but they were ridiculously good, and fortified me against highway hallucinations.

We arrived in Ventura at 3am, totally beat. We hopped between several creepy hotels and finally surrendered to the scratchy blankets and lack of water pressure at the Motel 6. Still creepy, but a chain of creepy - I was familiar with them.

The move onto the boat the next morning was a true realization that I did in fact take too much “crap” with me. Carrying item by item unassisted, and trying to all of it into a boat will make any materialistic human being a minimalist. I’m still in shock, and very much in a transformational phase. Panache is not clean, but she is not dirty. She looks a lot dirtier with all my stuff littering her cabin. I was more worried about the shape the bottom would be in, but I would have to wait until morning. The sleeping arrangement was much more comfortable than The Mighty Quinn’s, my prior Sailboat. Tony, the previous owner, stuffed a three inch thick layer of memory foam in the v-berth - an awesome addition. Memory foam is not a passive mattress, it actively hugs your body into submission. For the second night in a row, I was out like a light.

The haul out was scheduled for 8am, but Tony and I didn't get hauled until 9. Tony said this was typical. It gave me a chance to chat with a 25 foot Tanzer that was tied up to the prep dock. This salty dog had just sailed back from the Channel Islands for a little extra work on his boat. I thought I was sailing bare bones, but this guy made me look like a king! He was bopping around the marina with nothing but a pair of stained sweatpants, black coffee in hand, muttering slightly under his breath wearing a crooked smile on his face. His boat was beautiful, but not something I would consider a passage making vessel; his future plans of heading down to Mexico were questionable. Despite his maniacal demeanor, he was encouraging; he was embodying the “keep it simple” mentality that forces simplicity for action. Awesome. We casually concluded to meet in Bahia Tortugas sometime in November. I love how casual this plan was, just keep it simple.

Hauling the boat was painless. I thought the haul out would be the hard part, but the guys at Ventura Boat Yard could have done it blindfolded. Haul, pressure wash, move, block, and the boat was officially my problem. Sanding hell took over the next nine hours of my life. I now know why people pay to have this done. It was an experience I needed though, almost like a right of passage. I made the mistake of not wearing those white hazmat painting suits and received a dry chemical bath. The worst part about this was getting it in your hair. By the end of the day, my hair felt like a steal brush. My skin, eyes, ears, and lungs were all irritated, but the job was done.

Karen was nice enough to help out and we went out for some fish and chips afterwords. On the walk over everyone kept staring at me. I couldn't see myself so I had no idea why every passerby looked so shocked. The mirror confirmed the horror. I was hideous. It looked like I had a really nice tan from a distance, but if you moved in close, you would discover I was covered in a fine red powder. My torn clothes, also covered in this red power, didn't help. This fish and chips place was a scene right out of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. These seagulls were lurking around our fried meal like they were entitled to a certain percentage of french fries. These gulls were big too, obese even. I kid you not, a line was literally forming. Karen decided it would be a good idea to try and blast one of brave gulls in the face with a lemon wedge, but this proved highly unsuccessfully, and only pulled more gulls from the surrounding area. We resented the seagulls, and I made a point to eat all the food, even though I felt like death by the end of the fry basket.

With dinner behind us, I retired back to the boat yard. My boat is my home, but it was also land locked. A funny predicament. You don’t realize how tall your boat is, Keel to deck, until you put it on the dry. Its almost like a tree house. I spent a few minutes sitting on the bow watching the sunset, then decided I to head off and shower before I pass out from exhaustion and/or food coma.

The marina and its showers were only a quick minute ride from the boat yard. I could feel a plume of red dust trail behind me. The shower was not as enjoyable as it was frustrating. The bottom paint had made my skin, and especially my hair, rough and hydrophobic. I stood in the shower for a full hour and still felt the dust all over my body.

Back at the boat, sleep came quickly. Tomorrow I was definitely going to buy a painting jumpsuit. A step closer to cruising.
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2 Responses to More Leg Work

  1. Abigail grafton says:

    Hello, i am one of your small backers. Please dont ever sand a boat without hazmat again. My boat upkeeper didthat and died of lung camcer at 48.

    Ive owned a boat for ,any years and your experiences sure take me back, especially the haulout and sleing on the hard.

    Good luck,

    Abigail grafton

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