Everything does not have to be perfectly right. I was underway on the Typhoon the other day and probably thinking about croissants in a French restaurant and the smell of café when I should have been thinking mainsheet lines and degree of heal. Oh well. It is a forgiving vessel. I hardly noticed that perhaps the tiller was not as certain as it had been.
Ok, so precision counts in things like re-entry to the earth's atmosphere, or a tool-and-die shop. But even baseball permits margins of error. The margins of error permit us opportunity for our being human. As long as we don't push the limits we're safe.
So, the tiller. It felt kind of like it was lobbing back and forth or something. A clunky sort of feeling. Not as true as it had been. Hard to know how much torque to apply to a 40 year old rudder assembly. Before this blog, back in February when the wind was cold and the skies were sunny, I'd heated some automotive grease to "pour" down the rudder shaft--what was I thinking? I even had a large needle to insert between the collar and shaft, where the rudder shaft descended into the hull. The rudder clanked a bit and I thought it needed some easing of tension, a bit of lubrication in the shaft. I felt like it made a difference but not certainly sure it did. After all, it is underwater when it is functioning.
Oh well, nothing on the Ty is perfectly right, but right enough that it brings great sailing at a terrific price! I ventured over and corrected the bit of lobbing in the tiller, a small adjustment, bronze parts don't need to be over-tightened and stripped. So the procedure was easy. Now the next thing, my mainsheet line. It was a troublesome line and stared me in the face every time I sailed Baggy Wrinkles.
So the other day, I finally grimaced and replaced my mainsheet line. I rely on the smart people at West Marine for their recommendations. After all, I'm a sailor, not a rope manufacturer. And I do not claim to know everything about lines. The existing line had become stiff and ornery. It liked neither sailing nor me but held its own in a blow, yet lacked flexibility to flow through the cam cleats as it should, and it argued with me frequently when I required it to quickly race out for a broad reach. A bothersome old snake it was, and meant for lassoing trees rather than sailing a classic little yacht.
After soliciting a friend's extra eyes and advice, I threaded the line through the blocks and installed the line, bringing a happier line to the Dory for future adventures. Costly though. About one hundred dollars for 65 feet of mainsheet line. Well, it's all relative, price that is. Some folks would spend that easily in a good restaurant, perhaps much more. Ok, it was worth it.
So I took my friend out for some sailing in about 10kts of wind. The Dory gleamed with the new line in her teeth. Above, in the standing rigging, the baggy wrinkles, her namesake icons frizzled in the light breeze, and the sails filled out taking us across the lake. She was happy to be playing in the water again. Hopping across the small waves with glee I was once again so pleased to own such a simple vessel whose performance in variable conditions is so surprising, so sure, one wonders why the molds for her could not be sold to another builder, and why after some two thousand copies, the Typhoon was discontinued. Yet, like all things classic, I was happy to be her skipper. She bounced and hopped forward in the wind and waves like a young pony. Larger and noisier craft raced by yet every eye glances over at her, like some connection to the past draws their attention. Something they feel they're missing I suppose.
So here is my friend at the helm of this "perfect" little yacht that doesn't have to be perfect to be completely enjoyable!