Rainy Days and Mondays


Today, was both.  But, unlike the song; anything but a downer.  Something about anchoring on a deserted piece of water, with that steady drum beat on the coach roof.  No place to be, and all day not to get there.

It all started out, like so many of these spontaneous trips do.  I was in process of putting Miss Kathleen away in her shelter, out in the trees.  The forecast for today was dismal.  Tomorrow, more of the same dismal.  Not what most folks would consider to be prime boating weather.  In fact, I was bent over the hitch and getting ready to cast the trailer off when I noticed Jamey-the-sea-dog supervising me from the dryness and warmth of his window seat in Kate’s sewing room.  Beau’s exact same perch, as it turns out.  I sort of said, “…wanna go?…”  His puppy grin pretty much answered, “Whatever you got, Boss, I’m in…”

And, that’s about all it takes, sometimes.

Eloika Lake is about a dozen miles down the road from home.  Two empty trailers in the parking lot.  Small, open fishing skiffs likely.  The patter-splatter-splish will likely have a different meaning to those guys.  Anyhow.  It’s a nice ramp.  The rain paused for a few minutes, and that’s all we wanted.  Underway.

We’re here “officially’ to test the new anchor launching and retrieving systems that I dreamed up for both ends of the boat.  I’m hoping to be able to weigh anchor from the aft cockpit for both bow and stern anchors.  That’s where the hawse pipes and two-speed sheet winch already festoon the lazarette.  The alternatives would imply actually going out on the foc’sl or digging my sneakers into my berth pillow while wriggling up through the forward hatch.  The latest iteration(s), shall we say, had the best of intentions.

After a short loop to test vibration levels at different RPMs and steering performance over the gamut of straight ahead, sinusoidal turns, backing down, and such; Jamey indicated this would be an OK spot to drop the hook.  Light wind, with a fetch of about a mile.  Grey-on-grey for sky.  And a handy dock and fence lined up in a usable range for determining anchor drag and swing.  What’s not to like?

Jamey’s bowl already had a fresh charge of kibble, with fresh water alongside.  The skipper’s bowl was less well thought out.  Left over boxed goods (Tuna Helper) from last year found their way into a sauce pan with water and a couple refugee cans of tuna – the other stuff like butter and milk would have to be simulated.

As the cabin windows steamed up with that unlikely brew in the sauce pan on the swing stove, the next band of rain came through with a will.

Jamey said, “I’ll be here, up forward,  if you need me.  And, while you’re at it.  I think something died in that pot on the stove.  Maybe you should try some of those kibbles.  Not too bad, actually.”

“But, keep the noise down.  I’ll be checkin’ for light leaks.”

The rain pelted for a while.  Sprinkled, just a bit.  Thundered for a while longer.  And, before much later than that, we were back to the ramp.

We made a just-about-perfect landing; of course there was absolutely nobody around to witness that ephemeral instant when art triumphs with science.  But, the new rudder and steering seem to be working out, just fine.

All it really takes, is a rainy day.  A boat with a roof.  A trusted mate.  And, a little time on the hook.  Tuna Helper is neither required, nor recommended.


  1. Always enjoy your articles, Dan. Here in the Sweltering South, most all of keep what we consider to be ideal emergency food somewhere in our boat – Vienna Sausage. Keep forever, no prep. Heck to get that first one out, though. Robb White said that’s what the little corkscrew on your Swiss Army knife is for. He speaking for God on the subject of small boats, I have to get one of those knives.

    • Bill. I have a couple super-annuated cans of VS rattling around someplace. I’m saving them for my “next” TX-200. More to throw at the snakes, than to actually eat.

      I’ve always (for the past 40-50 years at least) gone without ice or refrigeration. Granted, some places you can just put your stuff next to the hull and keep it cold (Puget Sound, Central Cal, etc.) I started leaving misc. can goods down in the bilge during my time in Plaquemines Parrish. Always a lottery to know what, and how old. But, if not bulgy, probably will sustain metabolism for a while.

      I started writing for MAIB back when Speaks-for-God was still alive. One of my many regrets is that I never screwed up the courage to actually write to Robb. He would have written back. (Chuck Leinweber admits to being in the same room with him, and not actually speaking to him–so I’m in good, but bereft company.)

      As things went this past winter, all of the can goods stowed in boats left outside actually froze and separated. Shipwreck stores were limited to somewhat-damp boxes, until I started loading out later this year for “real” trips, anyhoo.

      It’s 100 in the shade, and 20% humidity here today. I’d go for another few drizzly days about now.


  2. Whelp, that’s all it took to convince me I need a boat with a roof! There’s something nice about being out alone when others seek the comforts of home. It’s even nicer if you’re warm and dry! I’m off to dream (look at plans)!

    • Seth:

      Yeah, I’ve spent my whole life out in boats with no roof. Rain dribbling down my neck from the topping lift. Hot, and uncomfortable, when it’s not cold and uncomfortable. But, the best part of this roof bid’ness is how quick and easy it is to “just hook up, and head out.” You don’t have to really plan for wx. Just go.

      “Plans” you say? Why do it right, when you can do it twice? We few Frankenbuilders (Tiki Dave, Jim Y in Montana, and yours truly are the only ones I actually know about) usually can get two or three boats turned out in the time it takes to do it right, once. Then, you can have one for just about any contingency. That’s at least my excuse with SWMBO.

      Later, Dan.

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