Saturday, May 31, 2008

Opening Day 2008

We won something. It took a long time to get here. If you know anything about SWIETENIA, then you know that she arrived on the scene in less than stellar shape. We bought a POS, about two seasons short of the chainsaw, but being young and foolish we plunked down the big $5,000. That was down from $8,900 after having the boat surveyed and hearing these phrases over and over: "Little soft here." "Could use some refastening here." "You'll want to replace this." "This won't pass your Coast Guard inspection..." The "salty" old guy we bought her from was happy to get rid of her after hearing from the surveyor the full scope of the damage he helped inflict but we were awestruck by the possibilities of owning a Chris Craft! And a really classic looking one at that. Older than dirt: 1941. One of the last Chris's delivered before they switched over to building landing craft for the Navy. There's a little more history to how we found SWIETENIA (Formerly EPIPHANY, BLUE INTERLUDE, NO LONGER BLUE) and how many boats we looked at that were EVEN WORSE, but that's a story for another post.

There are things we thought we'd fix right away that we still haven't fixed... Other things that we didn't know existed and still don't really know what they're called but we've fixed them multiple times. Just think: Five years in and we've gone through 5 batteries, two carburetor rebuilds (and counting), a hundred spark plugs, a thousand gallons of gas, countless quarts of varnish, paint and other hazardous chemicals, probably a thousand sheets of sand paper, two sanders, two vacuums!, 10 boxes of band-aids, a hundred gloves, thousands and thousands of fasteners, accounts at Fisheries Supply and Dunn Lumber, visits to very strange and sometimes shady places of business on the south side like Alaska Copper and Brass, Blanchard Electric, SmartGlass, and three haul-outs. Sheesh. Oh, and always ask if they'll do a cash deal. They usually will.

But it's all worth it. Opening Day was a nice ending to a very long winter. We hauled the boat out of the water on December 21st and began a grueling two months on-the-hard at Jensen Motorboat and then 3 more months trying to put it all back together. When it was finally over last month I sat down with the log book and started writing down all of the work we had accomplished. Four pages later I was still writing but the funniest part was that right at that moment, the boat wasn't running! All that work, the boat looked better than she ever had, and we couldn't take her out of the boathouse. Carburetor. Jerry my mechanic Jerry-rigged it and we were able to parade later that week and parade we did, right into a 3rd place win. 3rd place you say? To place at all is a big achievement considering my competition. Much more flashy, larger, even older and more "classic" looking boats are in my parade class. To even place - I'm still happy about it. Ginger is too, but might roll her eyes when I talk about it...

Special thanks to our Opening Day crew who all showed up in the proper attire and saluted the judges in perfect unison. Ginger, Tracy, Laurie, Diane, Noel, Jon and Matt you guys looked perfect - our Commodore in the Classic Yacht Association even mentioned our "presentation." Boom.

Also special thanks to Andy Carlson for, once again, having the specialized tools and the expertise to save my bacon as the expensive boatyard clock was ticking.

"That thing still floating?" "Looks better than the last time we saw her." "Boy that's come a long way." "Must truly be a labor of love." "You missed a spot..."

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