This year I have to single-hand as far as Wellfleet, Mass., on Cape Cod, where I hope to pick up a crewman.
I expressed that badly. I mean, there's a guy I know -- let's call him Ishmael -- who summers in Wellfleet and has agreed to join me for the latter part of the trip, Wellfleet to the Sheepscot River.
There's always something to do on a boat. Here's my to-do list:
- Change fuel filter on dinghy outboard
- Attach mooring pickup hook to boat pole
- Replace reefing line on mainsail (and whip ends, dammit, you lazy slapdash slacker)
- Make sure outboard can't fall off dinghy (again)
- Make sure nothing else can fall off dinghy (again)
- Tell harbormaster (again) that mooring buoy has sunk, and only the boat is keeping it off the bottom
- Replace stupid brass screws holding nav light in place with stainless steel ones, which you should have used in the first place, idiot
- Figure out why the depth gauge is telling me I have 105 feet of water under my keel -- weed or barnacles on the transducer? Must I don mask and snorkel and pickle my puckery flesh in the Hudson River PCB soup? Maybe it'll correct itself.
- Pack clothes
- Fill up jerricans with gasoline
- Steal towels and pillows and sheets from home
- Get DC inverter from car
I also have a shopping list:
- Contact lens solution (for wife)
- Contact lens case (ditto)
- Artificial sweetener
- That weird ultrapasteurized milk that you don't have to refrigerate
- Olive oil
- Lots and lots of cheap red wine
- Easy to cook camp food
- Butane cylinders for stove
- AA batteries and lots of them
- Trash bags
- Dish scrubbers (plastic mesh)
- Effective bilge pump for dinghy (Query to self: Can justify to wife?)
The stainless steel screws mentioned above are a story in themselves: #4, 1" long, self-tapping, flat or oval head, Philips or slot drive. Easy, right? Wrong. This became a year-long quest for the Holy Grail: All the local hardware stores, West Marine, Home Depot, smallparts.com (a wonderful place, by the way) bosunsupplies.com (ditto), fairwayfasteners.com(ditto again). All out of stock. Had George Soros cornered the market? Are #4 stainless steel self-tapping non-panhead screws critical components of Iran's nuclear program?
Smallparts.com finally came through, and I now own a supply of #4 screws that ought to last for three or four generations.
Then there's the dinghy. But that's not just a story, it's a novel. Another time.