I was sweating profusely while twisted into the engine compartment, peering down, underneath the diesel, into the black abyss known ironically as, "the bilge." It's a rather somber location in the grand scheme of things. You don't really think much about the bilge on a boat. Well, unless you're the new skipper, and you realize that the bilge is the netherworld of the sailboat and the nexus between survival and sinking. I had noticed the little bronze threaded plug in the sink by chance as I made my initial assessment of the Berg upon its arrival. Underneath the rich blue hull, past the boot stripe, there is this dripping, slippery excretion, from the bilge. Yes, it's messy but it is like your appendix, stuff gets held in suspension down there and if allowed to fester, could become a big issue. You don't have to encounter the bilge often, but if you do, it is certain to get your attention.
As I squinted down my flashlight's beam, the bilge stared back at me and showed a bit of diesel floating atop the surface in the bilge. A couple of large flexible tubes ran down the bilge going to where, I had no idea. And that was where I began my journey below decks, or in cabinets, between the hull and liner of the Berg, trying to locate and identify the important points of my new old vessel.
|My notepad in the sink with the bag of tools, some leftover water from Nova Scotia (tasted pretty good too), and the odd assortment of that day's work assembly. And oh by the way, it was over 100 degrees inside.|
I'm asking myself this question repeatedly now about where things are and where they're headed. And, I'm also having to take notes, because the list is growing rapidly. It was great to get a formal Survey of the Alberg 30, and it was more than a pleasure to meet the sellers and get to know them and ask questions. But now that all the exchange has taken place and the Berg sits on the hard, I'm looking at so many little things and asking myself, "What in the world is that?" or, "Where does that wire go to?" and, "Why is that in there?" Too funny.
Certainly, previous skippers wanted this or that, and I'm sure there was a reasonable answer for all of these little "buggers." It's like a puzzle however, and I'm not the best at puzzles. This process is like when you get a product at Walmart which has been fabricated in China with directions created by a non-english speaking and non-sailor from China. I've scratched my head and thought, "that bolt can't fit in that hole!" But the directions indicate it has to? Even if I had such a sheet of directions I'm not sure I'll be able to sort out some of these mysteries. And then you realize the directions skip something, and the mystery deepens, as you attempt to read the writer's mind in order to put together this thing which ought not to be too complicated but now has taken several hours of head-scratching and your commentary about the way the directions are written, none of which will help you in the least to figure out where to put the thing, but it feels good to rage against the author just the same.
|Everyone in the Alberg Association said, "yank those things and fix 'em..." Ok, ok, I yanked them. Today I sent them for rehabilitation. Chainplates, strong yet meager bolts did not do justice to them.|
But the way to that vista is paved with some renovation I've seen before but multiplied by 10 or 15 at least. The Cape Dory Typhoon was a handful but this is a truck load of complexity. Just the teak alone has been a herculean task made easier by a pal loaning me his hot air gun which i will probably purchase from him because I've successfully started to melt the scraper. I still have left the cap rail which is globbed with varnish that has long since peeled away from the teak revealing a poor attachment in the early coats as can be seen here:
|Thick molasses colored varnish covered the bolts and sat on the teak revealing a lack of proper sealing. However, once lifted off and sanded, the teak returned. Pictures are on the way later.|
|You just never know sometimes what someone was thinking at the time. It might have been a good idea too!|