Work, work and more work. It had been one chore after another for weeks. You’re probably sick of it, too. I know we were. But I’m thrilled to say we finally made our way through that damn list. Just one item left, and it was scheduled. Who needs a list? We chunked it and planned a three-day Mardi Gras Lollapalooza. We were going to catch the parades in downtown Pensacola on Friday night, then sail over on Saturday to Pensacola Beach and anchor out behind Paradise Inn to catch the parade on the beach Sunday. It was time for some beads, people. Time for some beads!!
So, the list. Let me walk you through it and you can marvel in the vast breadth of our accomplishments. I say that because these last few items weren’t really much work on our part at all. But you can marvel, nonetheless, if you’d like.
The canvas and isinglass. We wanted to have a canvas guy come and take a look at the dodger and bimini to assess how much life we had in them and estimate replacing the canvas. We guessed our canvas was about ten years old and, unfortunately, the glass in the dodger was getting a little foggy and cracked in places. Sometimes we would come to the boat and find two new cracks had popped up overnight. They couldn’t be stopped. We knew something was going to have to be replaced soon.
Based on recommendation from our Broker-turned-Buddy, Kevin, we decided to give Tony with Coastal Canvas a call, and he was top-notch. Came out when he said he would and even saved us a few bucks. Told us we only needed to replace the isinglass in the dodger, but that the canvas was still in good shape. So, we had him swap out the glass, and it was like putting on glasses for the first time and you’re overwhelmed at the sight of all the leaves! Everything was so crisp and clear.
You may notice the missing bimini in this photo. Tony did such a good job on the glass that we followed his recommendation for the bimini. He believed the canvas needed to be redone, and we worked with him on rearranging the bimini frame to give us a bigger window in it for the helmsman to see the wind vane at the top of the mast. Even during our blistery winter, Tony came out several times to take measurements, make adjustments and install our new bimini.
Cross that off.
The gasket on the coolant system, luckily, was an easy chore. Just the removal of one hose on the coolant system, a bucket to catch the coolant that drained out, then scrape off the old gasket and glue, slap on a new gasket and glue and she was good as new.
Done and done. What’s next?
The dorade box. That damn thing.
Yeah, there she is. She had been loose for a while and several months back, she unfortunately took a tumble when the Jenny sheet somehow wedged itself up under the loose corner and ripped her right up off the deck when we tacked.
See? No box. Luckily, when she took the tumble, we saw it and were able to catch her before she made her way overboard. But, until we got her remounted properly, we had been taking her off every time we sailed (so the Jenny sheet wouldn’t knock her overboard again) and putting her back on once we were at anchor. A bit of a chore and a burdensome box to keep up with. So it was time to re-mount her. Now, I’ll say, we tried, the first time, to do it right. Waited for a good weather window. Pulled her up and cleaned off all of the old sealant and re-bedded her with some 4,000. A couple of the screws had a little trouble biting, but we figured the 4,000 would hold her. I’m sure I’m going to get some commentary from the Peanut Gallery here about butyl. Well, just wait. Unfortunately, she wiggled her way loose, again, and Jenny threatened her once again. She gets real territorial up there at the foredeck. So, the second time we didn’t fool around. It was 5,200 or bust. Now, we know what they say: “That stuff is permanent. You’ll never get it off.” Well, we don’t want her to come off. A shot of some 5,200 around the screws and we stuck her down. She’s not going anywhere. Take that Jenny!
With that little project done, we only had one more item left on the list.
The hydraulic back stay. Our previous owner had installed a hydraulic adjuster on the back stay to make fine-tune adjustments to the mast when racing. He sailed our Niagara in the single-handed Mackinac race and had really pimped the boat out with some serious racing capabilities, the hydraulic back stay being one.
As you know, we’re not racers; we’re cruisers. More sunsets and cocktails than buried rails and big victories. So, the hydraulic adjuster hadn’t been used in years. She no longer worked and would occasionally leak a little fluid at the base. Wanting the boat to be primed for the Keys, we scheduled the riggers to come check it out the following week to see if she could be repaired or whatever options might be available. So, in our eyes, the list was done. It had been about a solid month of boat chores, and it was time for some boat fun. Our Mardi Gras Palooza began.
On Friday night, we caught up with some marina neighbors-turned-friends — Dick and Cindy on Forever Young — and, after a hearty fill of fine wining and dining at Carmen’s Lunch Bar al fresco, we were seated like royalty for the parade to roll through. We didn’t even have to get out of our chairs if we wanted. But, we of course wanted! Beads is what we wanted!
And, any other grungy, recycled Mardi Gras throws they wanted to toss at us. I think – in addition to all the beads – I caught a kids-size Mardi Gras 2008 shirt, a busted-up Nerf football, a moonpie, and a tomahawk. Yes, a tomahawk. It was a wild night. But, we got up early, stocked the boat, enjoyed a great sail over to Pensacola Beach and dropped the hook right around sunset.
We cooked up another feast on the boat, gorged and called it a night. We had a big day ahead. Lollapalooza Day 3 started with mimosas on the foredeck.
Followed by hurricanes and a little uking in the cockpit.
And then two tickets to crazy town. I can’t even begin to express to you the … quality … of people we encountered at the beach. There were tailgaters, hipsters, Krewe members, kids on leashes, gangsters, bikers, trannies, questionable trannies, Navy boys, you name it. While the parades were fun, the people were the real entertainment!
We caught another neck-full of beads and useless stuffed animals and loved every minute of it. The Mardi Gras mini-vacay was just what we needed. The next time we drop that anchor it will be on the first stop to the Keys. Only a few weeks now kids. Stay tuned!!