Paint on and Move on

By day three of sanding painting and sweating I was officially experiencing a chemical hangover. I would wake up at odd hours of the night with a sneaking pain in the back of my head, that slowly worked its way to the tip of my nose. This pain didn't stop until I started working on the boat again - my first experience with withdrawals. I knew the faster I worked the faster I leave paint induced la la land, so I painted the boat like a banshee. I had a gallons of red and a gallon of blue. After a flip of a coin, heads decided the exterior color was going to be red. Not that it really mattered since the bottom paint was invisible to anyone above water.

I was scheduled to splash in two days, but I was convinced I could be ready in one. I talked with Auto, the boatyard manager, about being put on standby, and by the way he reacted, I could tell standby was not a typical status; "yeah, we uh, could put you on standby for tomorrow. Yeah." Auto was maybe the chilliest dude I have ever met. He looks exactly like Jeff Bridges, and talked exactly like the Dude in The Big Lebowski. I made the rock-solid assumption that Auto played Jeff Bridges double in the movie. You can't help but smile when in the presence of someone who is second hand famous. First time we talked was during the haul out. He rolled up in a cruiser bike chatted with me about my plans in the yard. We talked painting technique a bit, and after a brief pause he told me Panache has been hauled out here before, even as far back as the 70's. His only salutation was "Cool," and off he rode. Only after that did someone tell me he was the boss of the yard. Seems like a pretty cool guy. If anyone could make standby happen, it was Auto.

I ended up finishing the bottom job that day as I expected, and spent the next morning spot checking areas that still had a hint of blue. About 2pm I decided to take a pain fume induced nap.. Almost as soon as I collapsed into the v-berth I heard Auto shout, "Are you ready to put her back in the water, we had a cancelation!" Great news.

Putting the boat back in the water was a slam dunk. The travel lift left my boat hanging for me to finish painting the bottom of the keel. I never knew my boat could fly. Its a little unnerving to lay underneath several tons of boat, but the boatyard crew assured me I wouldn't feel a thing if it fell.

The boat was now ready for an official shake down cruise. And Eric, my crew member from Louisiana I met on sailing forums, was going to arrive the next morning. Never met Eric in face to face, he was an internet person. A few phone calls, and many emails later I decided he wasn't a complete nut job. I guess he figured the same, so I guess it worked out. I like the anonymity of the internet, but I was breaking all my previous rules by committing to have this stranger join me for such a personal journey. Its nice to know that kind of trust exists.

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