Unlucky

BY DAN ROGERS - DIAMOND LAKE, WASHINGTON - USA

Call it excessive optimism.  Call it hubris, if you must.

Anyway I slice it.  I just have to call it a flop.  Nobody’s perfect.  Certainly, not me.  But, I seem to be having a bit of a bad run lately.  Ferinstance?

OK. Ferinstance, I’m home tonight.  I was on my way to Bellingham, on Puget Sound to join a couple other boats that are slated to join a whole bunch of boats at the northern-most American San Juan island.  A gorgeous place.  Great camaraderie – a blended small boat rendezvous with both a large contingent of Canadians and an assortment of Yanks from many different backgrounds, affiliations, and boating proclivities.  I’ve been looking forward to it for a long time.  I was about 200 miles into the drive of about twice that.  As hard as some folks might find it to believe, we here in Almostcanada are experiencing 100-degree temps with very, very blue skies, at the moment.  So, to skip some of the heat, I was making the first leg of the trip after dark.  I had pulled over to clean my windshield of the inevitable bugs.  Seems, I was using one of those glass-wipe thingies.  It seemed to do such a good job on the bugs, I sort of absent-mindedly swished one across my eyeglasses (polycarbonate lenses, with a couple different coatings.)  Pretty good, apparent, job there too.  Back on the road, and kapow!  Oncoming traffic suddenly resembled one of those video depictions of a near-death experience.  And, true in more than one way. I totally destroyed what turned out to be my only pair of non-sunglasses with me.

I had to park next to a wheat field, and wait for morning.   Too late to recover, and join the group.  And, besides, with my luck of late; the trip was probably ill-starred for other reasons yet to reveal themselves.  I had to bag out on a venture that for all appearances will be the social/boating hit of the season – for those who attend.  Not from hubris, so much.  Just dumbpidity.

And, some would say that we make our own luck.  In my case, I’m certain that’s true.

Ever since, last January, I’ve been looking for an opportunity to put Gypsy Wagon in the water and test the concept that she will perform capably as a towed-along accommodation barge.  This project has spanned a whole year.  Scads of articles, and hundreds of photos later, I still hadn’t actually TOWED the durn thing.  Re-enter hubris.

Like several past years, now, I volunteered to lead the Fourth of July boat parade around Diamond Lake.  This year I planned to field not only Miss Kathleen, but her “trailer” Gypsy Wagon.  I had two family groups scheduled to join in the fun.  We were gonna’ be a pretty impressive exhibit.  Jim came over to help me launch two boats at the same time – on a busy weekend.  He went ahead to meet me at Lon’s dock where I intended to decorate and stage from.  Within no more than ten seconds, it was obvious that this just wasn’t a happening thing.  I made some significant miss-calculations someplace along the way.  She sits way down by the bow – or at least way up by the stern.  Actually, what is supposed to be a tri-hull, is really a monohull with spray deflectors masquerading as sponsons.  That’s how they got the square shape to work.

That poor boat is one helluva hog on ice, when towed.  Granted, I took about 800 pounds of wet foam and rotted plywood out of the hull.  And then, out came the 800 pounds of Detroit Iron, outdrive, and a bit more for the gas tank.  Anyhow, without some sort of significant re-do, that boat is completely unusable as configured.  The deep-vee bow, and pretty steep deadrise all the way aft, get her oscillating like a winning contestant in the Miss Metronome Contest for 1957, in one of those slinky knit skirts.  Serious case of hyper-sashay.

Maneuvering in close to the plethora of docks circling this urbanized puddle would have been a real headache.  And, when I studied how much she “leaned into” each succeedingly violent arc, the notion of taking women and children along (for fun) just withered and died.  Right then and there.  Strike two.

Here, the girls are getting dressed up.  But they ain’t both going to the party.  Two empty trailers.  A busy weekend at the ramp.

At least, there was time to paint and mess with Miss K’s trailer.  So we could get ready for that drive-to-nowhere.  And, as far as I got , it looks pretty much like nowhere.

Then, there is the matter of Lady Bug’s motor well.  The one that I sort of just cut from cockpit sole to bottom via liner and stiffeners.  I have already overheated two outboards and killed them in that round hole.  Seems, I was a bit too exuberant in reducing noise.  Nothing like a huge wad of insulation to keep things warm, I always say.  So, it was with a bit of trepidation that I disassembled my faithful Nissan long shaft.  The idea was to install the motor (this time a water cooled unit) in the well both from the top and from the bottom.  The screw and related appendages are too large to drop in from the top.

Yep.  You guessed it.  Lying under the boat, holding everything up in one hand, and re-bolting by braille up inside a restricted tube (I made it out of plastic drain culvert, if you must know) I must have managed to get the water tube displaced from the water pump.  But, since it all sort of went back together, I figured everything was copacetic.  Not.  Unless you can say that burning the paint off the power head is copacetic.  Strike three.

We make our own luck.  My luckmaker is lately on the fritz.  And, the girls are getting impatient with me.




1 Comment

  1. While tragic, it is funny at the same time! I don’t want to laugh too loud at your misfortune as I realize the pain involved with each fail. I’ve been there! I understand that It is the time lost that hurts the most! But with each fail a lesson is learned and success promises to be a step closer! I just hope we live long enough to see it! Best/Roy

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