Friday, August 7, 2020

Bumpers and Ropes


About three boats ago my good friend James Abele, with the late Hamlin Beatty, agreed to crew on a trip from the Tides Inn on the Chesapeake Bay to somewhere back in the south. James and I had been childhood friends but had not spent much time together since. On that trip, he became known as the "Perfect Deckhand", and we have spent many a good time together ever since, on boats and elsewhere.

On the first day of the trip south, I was at the helm as we left the dock and James was helping with the lines. After we got away, he asked me "Where do you store your bumpers and ropes?" I told him where to put them and politely said that the the proper terminology was "fenders and lines". Since that moment, he has consistently referred to fenders and lines as "bumpers and ropes", but only when he is talking to me. I should have known better than to correct him. He only says this to annoy me, but it has become a standing joke and no longer works.

On the current boat Division Belle, there was an abundance of fenders and lines on board when I got the boat. I noticed that every storage area was packed, but until yesterday I never pulled everything out to see what I had. We typically use only two fenders in normal docking but it turns out we had 10 fenders on board. For lines, I haven't even counted. We have them in all shapes, colors and sizes, with few of them matching.

I have purchased six matching black 3/4-inch lines for everyday uses, and I will keep a good supply of the older spares on board. As for fenders, I'm using a set of four white ones that appeared to be almost new when I bought the boat. I have dark blue washable covers for them. Another set of four badly worn black fenders have been moved to storage, and the remaining two oversized fenders will be deflated and stored on board for locks or difficult cement dock situations. I now have much more storage space for my bumpers and ropes.

Most importantly, the black dock lines and the white fenders with navy blue covers all match up nicely. There are many boaters who couldn't care less, but for me it is like wearing socks that don't match. And I think even Perfect Deckhand would be pleased that the bumpers and ropes are in such good order now.

I'm getting the engine annual servicing done this weekend and replacing a faulty fuel cooler that is leaking fuel into the exhaust water. Then I will take the boat back to the Hinckley yard next week to get the air conditioner fixed and the new anchor roller installed. Next will come an electronics chart-plotter upgrade and then we will be finally ready to use the boat again. Sigh...one day it will all be right.

1 comment:

Louise said...

In the meantime, your bumpers and ropes are perfect! I think we have used all the lines you left behind, the larger ones stored away for storms. The smaller diameter ones I use every day and they fit my hands better. We're on our third set of those as we do wear them out. The current "good" lines are green, with the previous iteration of navy blues ones used for splintery pilings. We popped one of the black cylinders (which takes some doing) and replaced it. Still using your original orange ball bumpers, except they are a rather unlovely faded pink now. When that bothered me, I used cloth covers, but the fading covers bothered me more. I have since lowered my standards, which has led to more happiness overall :)