Sunday, October 21, 2018

The lady is having some work done

Many friends have asked when I will actually begin using the new boat. I should just politely say that the lady is having some minor surgery. Owning a boat simply means moving it from one place to another to have repairs done.

I spent all of last week working with Mick Shove, one of the partners at Burr Yacht Sales, to troubleshoot some of the many things that were found not to work during the initial survey and inspections. Mick is very good at tracking down a lot of mysteries, and many items have now been checked off or we have determined what parts or work are needed. Importantly, I found the loose wires that were causing the satellite dish not to work, and Mick put them back together. It will now need a new receiver box to replace the ancient one on board. Friday, the engine mechanics from a company called ShorePower arrived and began draining all of the fluids from the engine and removing big parts like the turbo after-cooler to take to the shop to clean or refurbish. They are expected to complete their tasks by the end of next week. 

Next Friday or the following Monday the boat will be moved to Zimmerman Marine, a boatyard within the gigantic Herrington Harbor Marina. There it will be hauled out of the water on a travel lift and the 100,000-pound boat will be driven into a shed where the hull will be painted and the varnish stripped down to bare wood and redone with about a dozen coats. This is expected to take approximately six weeks with a target completion date of November 30. While it is there, there are roughly 20 items to be repaired that require the boat to be out of the water, and the interior upholstery will also be recovered as specified by the lovely Laura Lee. Division Belle should emerge looking much better after her facelift, and with her new name and Richmond Hill, Georgia painted in gold on the stern.

So far, I took the wheel for about five minutes during the initial sea trial, but otherwise I have not driven the boat at all. It's a project.
I don't expect to be posting anything here until December, because maintenance is essentially boring. And besides, it is not polite to disclose details of work a lady has had done to maintain her lovely and young appearance.

Many thanks to those of you who are following this adventure. If you haven't done so, please click at the right to add your email address and receive any updates. And feel free to click below if you wish to publish comments.

Monday, October 15, 2018

First night on Division Belle

Saturday I drove some 10 1/2 hours from Richmond Hill, GA to Edgewater, MD with my car loaded down with tools and a few necessities for the boat. I spent Saturday night at a nearby motel and arrived at the boat Sunday morning around 6 am. Yesterday (Sunday) was for unloading gear and stowing equipment while today was devoted to making things livable and providing for necessities such as coffee in the morning. All the while, I have interrupted myself figuring out how everything works on this boat.

While I was exhausted last night, it was fun spending a night on the boat just to experience it all. For example, because this boat has been in a cold climate, the freshwater tank had anti-freeze added to it, so it was necessary to empty the tank, fill it with fresh water and some kind of treatment, empty it again and refill it. The process took about eight hours. It takes a long time to run sinks wide open and use up 480 gallons of contaminated water.

Sleep was fitful last night with all of the usual boat noises. Pumps turn off and on to run heater/air conditioners, boats go by, the boat rocks. There are new and strange noises. But it really does feel amazing to be doing this again.

My shopping costs in Savannah and here have been helped enormously by the Sears expected bankruptcy filing which has now occurred. The Savannah Sears is closing and I picked up boat tools at around half price. Here near Annapolis, I bought some basics yesterday and today from K-Mart, which might face a similar fate since it is owned by Sears. It's a sad and sorry end to a great brand. But hey, who can argue with buying a couple of decent coffee mugs for 89 cents each today?

If there are any readers of this new blog, please sign up to your right on this page to receive email updates. Also, you can see a map of where I am at each posting by clicking the location shown at the bottom of the post. I'm hoping to make it interesting reading, but you can be the judge of that.

While I plan to stay away from discussions of boat maintenance, I can't help but note that one of my blog entries about my last boat was called "What was wrong with Steel Magnolia". This is a well-built boat, but it has had little maintenance. The systems are elegant, but they don't all work. Our plan involves four steps. First, a representative from Burr Yacht Sales where I bought the boat will be here tomorrow for about two days of troubleshooting minor problems. These are things like the horn works from the pilothouse but not from the bridge, the washing machine has no hot water, etc. Second, mechanics will be on board beginning Friday to bring all of the engine room maintenance up to date, and fix a few problems. Third, we will go to a nearby boatyard to deal with things where the boat needs to be hauled out of the water. And finally, there are cosmetic issues including paint, varnish, cushion and sofa coverings, etc. that we will have done wherever we can achieve the best results either here, along the way home, or in Savannah.

There is much to be done, but as my mother used to say, "God, grant me the serenity to endure my blessings". I never thought I would own another boat, and I am forever grateful for this opportunity to follow my dreams once more. As Alfred, Lord Tennyson said in Ulysses:
Come, my friends,
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.

It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.

Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

"Dragged by the force of some inner tide"

I have today agreed to the final terms of a contract to purchase a "new" (12-year-old) boat. I thought I had this out of my system, but a clue as to why we are purchasing another boat at this stage in my life can be found in the boat name we have selected. She will be called “Division Belle”. Obscure? Yes, but perhaps I can explain.

         A division bell is rung in and around British Parliament to summon members when there is a “division”, a parliamentary term explained by Wikipedia as follows:
In parliamentary procedure, a division of the assemblydivision of the house, or simply division is a method for taking a better estimate of a vote than a voice vote. Typically, a division is taken when the result of a voice vote is challenged or when a two-thirds vote is required.  
Historically, and often still today, members are literally divided into physically separate groups. This was the method used in the Roman Senate, and occasionally in Athenian democracy. Westminster system parliament chambers have separate division lobbies for the "Ayes" and "Noes" to facilitate physical division. In several assemblies, a division bell is rung throughout the building when a division is happening, in order to alert members not present in the chamber.

The term "division bell" has taken on a much broader meaning, and has been used in poetry and literature to symbolize any separation or division of people into groups. “Division Bell” also became the title of Pink Floyd’s fourteenth studio album, released in 1994. The album initially received mixed reviews, but it quickly became number one on both sides of the Atlantic and went "triple platinum", selling more than three million copies (back when musicians could actually sell their music). Among many die-hard Pink Floyd fans like myself, it is a classic. The album deals mostly with themes of communication resolving difficult problems. One overly-enthusiastic radio host said that it presented “the very real possibility of transcending it all, through shivering moments of grace”. Pink Floyd’s drummer Nick Mason said of the title: "It does have some meaning. It's about people making choices, yeas or nays.”

The only song on the album that uses the term “division bell” is the final track, entitled “High Hopes”, which contains the phrase "The ringing of the Division Bell had begun". Buying another boat and setting out again at my age is explained in the following lines of the song:

Encumbered forever by desire and ambition
There's a hunger still unsatisfied
Our weary eyes still stray to the horizon
Though down this road we've been so many times

As we discussed boat names, the lovely Laura Lee, being a southern belle herself, suggested we should perhaps call her “Division Belle”, with an "e" added to the end, because boats are always feminine. The name was used for a blimp (or airship) purchased by Pink Floyd as a promotional stunt for the band’s Division Bell tour. In searching around, I have found it also used for a Thoroughbred race horse (whose dam was named Multiplication), a book, a racing sailboat in England, a type of daffodil sold in New Zealand, and as a nickname for a female mathematician. So "Division Belle" is not as original as we first thought. On the other hand, several names that we discussed are in use by literally hundreds of documented boats in the United States. We prefer not to be totally unoriginal. There are no other U.S. documented boats at present named “Division Belle”.

So we went with it. I expect it will start conversations along the way, and I like the ring of it. The complete lyrics to “High Hopes” follow, and I hope you will click here to see David Gilmour in an incredible performance of the song in 2016, in the Pompeii amphitheater in Italy. Gilmour's 2016 concert was the first public performance in the arena since it was buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. 

“High Hopes”

Beyond the horizon of the place we lived when we were young
In a world of magnets and miracles
Our thoughts strayed constantly and without boundary
The ringing of the division bell had begun

Along the long road and on down the causeway
Do they still meet there by the Cut

There was a ragged band that followed in our footsteps
Running before time took our dreams away
Leaving the myriad small creatures trying to tie us to the ground
To a life consumed by slow decay

The grass was greener
The light was brighter
With friends surrounded
The nights of wonder

Looking beyond the embers of bridges glowing behind us
To a glimpse of how green it was on the other side
Steps taken forwards but sleepwalking back again
Dragged by the force of some inner tide

At a higher altitude with flag unfurled
We reached the dizzy heights of that dreamed of world

Encumbered forever by desire and ambition
There's a hunger still unsatisfied
Our weary eyes still stray to the horizon
Though down this road we've been so many times

The grass was greener
The light was brighter
The taste was sweeter
The nights of wonder
With friends surrounded
The dawn mist glowing
The water flowing
The endless river
Forever and ever

Songwriters: Polly Annie Samson / David Jon Gilmour / Polly Anne Samson 
          High Hopes lyrics © Barton Music Corporation