How the boat works on me while I work on it

My Catalina 22 ‘Lifeline’ is pretty old. She was built in 1974. But her hull and rigging are pretty sound. I have that standard problem on the foredeck, starboard side, where the deck is sort of ‘soft’. The placement of the seam in the hatch combing on the starboard side rather than the aft at a peak in the deck curve wasn’t the best of engineering design and the manufacturing floor didn’t catch the problem either. So there’s that on the list to repair when the deck gets sanded, new gel-coat, and new non-skid. Otherwise she’s in very good shape.

I fix things up a little at a time. B-O-A-T may stand for ‘Break Out Another Thousand’ but I seem to be keeping up with $25, $50, or $100 each month. Well, this past month it’s around $250, but I only admit that to see if my wife is reading my blog. We hauled Lifeline out last week so I could run new wiring from the switch panel to the foot of the mast. Last year I put a new anchor light fixture on and bought a new ‘steaming’ light. That didn’t get installed until this spring. I’d forgotten I hadn’t tested the power to the mast in the past years, and so the new lights wouldn’t work until I ran new wire.

While on the trailer in the front yard, I installed a new radio (the old one quit transmitting). My wife purchased a Garmin 431 GPS and Chart plotter for me last Christmas. That’s all wired in now also. I replaced some of the cheesy cable holders, old pieces of plastic strips replaced with wire ties and molded cable loops. I pulled out the speaker wire one previous owner had used for the mast lights. It was a full week of evenings to get her ready for a trip to ‘big water’. We are heading for Lake Erie and Put-in-Bay harbor on South Bass Island for the Inter-Lake Yacht Association’s summer regatta.

You just don’t ‘go to sea’ without being ready and Lifeline wasn’t quite ready. Inside she needed some work, and now that the work is done we can trust her inside structure to support her outside capabilities. Six miles of open water and the possibility of higher waves and some night time sailing is a bigger test than our inland lake/reservoir.

My mind and soul are somewhat the same as my boat. I need to pay constant attention to what’s going on with the structure of my principles as I keep making decisions through my daily live. Society changes. The media I listen to; news, music, radio shows, Facebook and Twitter, weblogs; these work on me from the outside. Like the constant stresses on Lifeline’s hull and rigging by the elements, these media press me through all my senses and affect how I think. The winds of racism have been stirred by the Trevon Martin/George Zimmerman trial. The news now includes waves of ‘pop’ news about teen idols’ and their antics and examples. Facebook, Google, Twitter, Bing track what is trending on their Internet sites and create an undercurrent of activity that the news media and retail marketers tap into. Advertisements simply ‘appear’ on our computer from the stores I visit and those profiled like me have searched for.

What do I do, what do you do, to protect those principles from the ‘elements’ of everyday life. I watch and trend the weather for what to wear and for when to set sail and when to anchor. What is it, I ask myself as I’m alone, pushing new wire into a crevice and pulling out old ones, what is it that I should do to decide about these new ideas, or these old ideas remade as new that I see every day?

For my part, I’m a Christian and the Gospels of Jesus of Nazareth are the cornerstones of my principles. I do have acquaintances that practice Buddhism and I have familiar with some Jewish folks. There are many people out in the world who just float from idea-to-idea, and get pushed by the winds of constant change and the undercurrent of the Twitter feed at 140 words per ‘sound-byte’. Why can’t I let myself do that? To some that seems more simple than letting the waves of the masses pound against a sea wall of principle.

Not me. I might begin with a Dale Carnegie book, or maybe Stephen Covey. I’ll eventually find myself back in the Bible. Often I find something there that is similar to my Buddhist and Jewish friends’ books, but mostly I find the reading unique, and always I find something that suites the ‘new’ idea. Some I can work with and change out the old for the new. Mostly, I find I’m stregthening the deck, tightening a fitting, or ordering a new part that matches the old specification. The principles are, after all, the structure that let’s me sail on in any kind of weather.

Fair winds, shipmates, and following seas…


One thought on “How the boat works on me while I work on it

  1. Pingback: Bay Week – Getting to the Island | faithandflag

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