Wednesday, September 26, 2012

It Takes A Whole Village To Launch A Boat

This tribute is long overdue but seems somehow appropriate to be posting it today on the anniversary of the fire of Dolphins.

From her ashes rose Phoenix. Here are the people who molded those ashes into our beautiful ship, allowing us to continue our Grand Voyage.

First and foremost, we thank Jennifer’s brother Jeff, known to us as The Abbot.
The Abbot, who hates to be photographed, but eventually consented to this shot.
The Abbot spent months with us in Baltimore, sweltering in the heat while we tore Phoenix apart and put her back together again.

He drilled, cut, filed, screwed, twiddled, fit, sanded, varnished, clamped, bolted, and wiped his brow. Then he hoisted, heaved, hauled, up and down the ladder while on the hard, on and off the boat while laying at dock, and wiped his brow. Then he thought, tinkered, fiddled and made things fit, work, slide, and latch. Then he wiped his brow.

All lubricated by his acerbic comments which, if taken literally would make him the world’s greatest misanthrope, but if understood with several grains of salt, make him the funniest commentator on the mercenary yet futile condition of humankind.

Working from afar, via email and sometimes telephone, was once again, my Fallible Guru, Gordon. The Fallible Guru knows more about boats than anyone I have ever met. In fact, he knows more about anything that can be built or modified with tools than anyone I have ever met. It was from working with him for five years on Dolphins that I gained the skills I needed for prepping Phoenix.

The Fallible Guru and me.
Doc doesn’t have a nickname (yet) but maybe that’s because he already has one. Upon introducing himself, he swallowed his real name, and then said clearly, “Call me Doc.”

Doc and his ever-pleasant wife Anita. Original owners of Sweet Pea, they have been cruising on her (off and on) for 20 years. 
Doc is a doc of botany, but he also is plugged into a keen understanding of electricity. He spent hours helping me untangle and then redraw my wiring proposals for the bilge pump, and the all-important isolating-transformer which we needed to adapt our US-designed boat for the European electrical system.

One of the many electrical diagrams Doc made for me using his signature method of combining photos  superimposed with colored lines and text.

The Coleman family provided humanitarian support in what first appeared to us a bleak city. They found us via our blog and, being fellow Hans Christian owners, welcomed us to Baltimore and its (and their) charm. Jason and Holly, and their two children, Ella and Otto invited us to dinner a few times. Jason was instrumental in helping me make Phoenix’s antenna post.

Jason generously bought and wasted specialty blades in this tricky operation of cutting stainless steel tubing. Don't do this at home. Do it the right way: Buy a pipe cutter. Or bring it to your closest bimini maker to make the cuts. 
During the four months we spent in Baltimore, we rented an apartment from Dean. He turned out to be such a bonvivant. He invited us to several dinners at Bertha's Mussels. He organized a soiree at which we and another sailing couple presented our stories. He guided us to the hospital when Jennifer cut her fingers. He bought us tickets to the annual Baltimore home tours. And when we needed to return to Baltimore for a week of overtime, he provided us with a free place to stay. In the height of gentlemanly manner, he refused to let us pay for the dinner to which we invited him as a thank you for all his help and delightful company.

It is a good time to thank all you out there: Our friends and family who have given us your unqualified support in continuing this voyage. When we have doubted, you have reaffirmed our dreams. When we questioned our financial sanity, you have urged us to give ourselves permission to pursue this adventure.

And last, but not least, we are thankful to Dolphins. She was such a fine ship. She provided years of pleasure and she delivered us valiantly across the Atlantic. She burned and sank and the dolphins of her namesake kept some of her ashes and splashed them across Phoenix's bow upon arrival in Turkey.

Le Grand Voyage continues.


abbot said...

"...acerbic comments...would make him the world’s greatest misanthrope, but understood make him the funniest commentator on the...condition of humankind. "

no, misanthrope was correct (musta been your annoying amicability clouding your judgement)


Mathias and Jen Dubilier said...

And THAT's exactly why we love you!

abbot said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
judymac said...

a gracious blog entry....

Unknown said...

or this one:

Unknown said...

or this....

abbot said...

ahhhh.... that's much better, since with this pic.... everyones forced to see things from my point of view (just as it should be)

judymac said...

what is it with you and pics?????