|You may think "oh, a brutal metal strap with holes in it", and you'd be correct. But there's more here than meets the eye.|
Most skippers can say the same, I suppose. My sailor buddies Matt Phillips, John Cangardel and Jeff Cooper have all been enormous help, but none of them, save Matt, who is the son of an electrician, practices a trade.
But over this long (and probably getting longer) journey of Getting Off the Dock, I have had reason to resort to professional help when I have either lacked the necessary skills, or my skills existed in too rudimentary a form. So we pause today to salute the craftspeople who have built, either from my design or from a mutual agreeement as to the best way forward, various parts of the good ship Alchemy to make it the vessel she is today. Some of 'em I never met; others are good friends. The "Hungarian guys" at "Treblex" who, for instance, built the Beta 60's motor stringers and thrust yoke I didn't meet, but "Jeff the Welder" came by and applied heat. "Greg the Other Welder" had done as much with the original solar arch the year previously. Tony Johnson has given very helpful advice in many instances, as has Brian Luckhurst when I had to puzzle out the arcana of helm pumps. Brian Mackey, who fabbed up Valiente's anchor roller years ago. Fred Blair, who recently dadoed together our excellent galley cabinet. And Genco wizard Mitch Kitz, who has been an invaluable source of knowledge over the years.
Fabrications have continued apace over the years, with millwright/welder/fabricator of fame Andrew Barlow's work on the companionway hatch, the engine bay hatch, the replacement standpipe, the replacement seacock and exhaust nipples and, lately, the Jordan Series Drogue chainplates seen above. And various other jobs...he's been great and, as the sharp eye may discern, has very good habits of mind when it comes to fit, finish and those little extras, like the chamfering and deburring on the shackle pin hole, I've come to recognize as Good Stuff. And he did a lot of these jobs while being a Vice-Commodore of Marine Operations and Free Stick Welding at our mutual boat club and therefore pressed for time.
My point is that working with these craftspeople has helped me to understand some of their techniques and concerns that really make the difference between "OK, I suppose" and "fit for purpose". Skippers don't always know the difference, or, sadly, don't care enough to know. If I can't do a job, or, due to lack of real experience, can't do it well, I will forgo the fabrications I can't (yet) do well and farm it out. And attempt to learn from the skills thereby revealed.
|This used to be part of the previous iteration of saloon companionway stairs. Now it's going to be a charger holder.|
Enter 3M 5200, the devil's toothpaste. "5200" is disliked because it works as advertised. It's a tenacious, goopy glue/sealant suitable for adhering keels to stubs and takes either a special chemical or brute force, such as I exerted to remove the pilothouse roof, to break its grip. We don't actually use it much, because less sincere goop will keep the sea on the outside without requiring sabresaw blades and vivid swearing to undo.
|An old Westmarine 20 amp charger will hang here to charge the windlass pair of Group 27 batteries.|
Meanwhile, irrespective of plagues and fear, spring has sprung. We continue in hopes of leaving, despite grim portents.