The runaround

Chasing boat workers and parts is a fulltime job, as any boater will tell you. Despite impressing on everyone that we are anxious to get moving and that we’re not here for the season we still spend every morning calling and nudging people to give us prices or scheduling info.

Our latest struggle is with Maxwell, the manufacturer of our anchor windlass. It has never worked right since we’ve been aboard. As soon as we knew there was a problem Jack called the US rep and after a long phone conversation we were assured that our chain and gypsy match and they don’t know what the problem is. Since then we’ve struggled — well, Jack has — to get the chain down and back up again every time we anchor, which is most of the time.

We finally got someone to take us seriously and they asked us to send a length of chain for them to test with their equipment. On Friday Jack got a call from Maxwell; we have the wrong gypsy. Now mind you, the previous owners told Maxwell what chain they had when they ordered the windlass, Jack was told in May or June that we had the correct gypsy, and now they decide it’s the wrong one but they want us to pay for a new one. Really? This is a seriously dangerous situation because in order to get the chain up Jack has to reach under the windlass to undo the logjam that happens every few feet or so as the chain is pulled up. He could lose half his hand with a moment’s inattention and it scares us to death. It’s amazing to me that the company won’t make this right, given the potential liability issues. We’ll see. Right now we’re waiting for a callback that was supposed to be in five minutes. It’s been hours.

Meanwhile we’re also trying to get estimates on the fiberglass repair of the damaged support beam under the saloon settee. We finally have a few guys lined up to come look at it. This is definitely something we have the skill to do, but without our usual previous supply of resin and the various tools needed, we figured for not much more than sourcing all the supplies we could get it done and done in a hurry. We’ll see about that, too.

Mack Sails picked up our mainsail this morning and at the same time brought a repaired camber spar and jib to True Colors. We need to change our jib to the new one so we tagged along and watched the Mack men as they reinstalled the sail on Marty and Lisa’s boat.


I also measured their canvas jib cover. Ours seems very baggy while other Mantas have a much tidier package. Sure enough, our cover is wider and shorter than the one on True Colors so I’ll use that one to pattern ours when our new canvas comes. Oh, how I wish my sister were here to do a day of sewing with me! Boat canvas is not her métier but I sure would like the confidence boost her presence would give me. I also need to tackle the continuous-loop cover on the boom; it’s in tatters. (Shidoobee)


We had a sad memorial at the marina dumpster for Nancy’s original Cuisinart, which she gave me many, many years ago when she got a newer, more powerful one. It made a lot of hummus, cheese straws and chocolate cheesecakes through the years even as bits broke and fell off. It finally could do no more and we sent it to appliance heaven.


After months of hemming and hawing about where best to install them, we hung our brass bell and gimbeled vase. These and our various oil lamps, among other things, are souvenirs of the 22 Annapolis Boat Shows in a row that we attended, many of them when we didn’t even own a boat. We always bought something “for later.” Sometimes it was a big thing, like a sextant or a good pair of binoculars; often, if we were low on cash it was something smaller, like the bell. But each one made us feel like we were moving closer to our dream of living aboard even if they ended up packed away in the basement for years. Now whenever I look at this beautiful Weems and Plath vase on the bulkhead of our own boat, I remember the time we spent working for this moment, struggling sometimes to keep the dream alive, and I feel pretty good about life.



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5 Responses to The runaround

    • The gypsy, also call the chain wheel, is the part of the anchor winch that grips the chain links to pull it up and into the boat. Chain requires a gypsy specifically sized to its link length and thickness in order to work properly.

  1. chelle robinson

    stunning placement of the bell & vase. of course I am an excellent sewer. perhaps I need to make a trip south and help a damsel in distress. Keep your chin up and think of it this way. Its always something, when you lived on land you had things to fix on the house and now that you live on the water you have things to fix on the boat. Good clean hard livin! It keeps you young and keeps the brain sharp! Hugs

  2. RIP dear Cuisinart! Dave bought me that for Valentine’s Day in 1976. The first two things I made with it were salmon quenelles and gougeres. Wish I could be there to sew, but you can do it! XO

  3. Anita

    Hey – I love the bell and vase – looks like a true home. You can get fresh flowers at ports of call, and call Jack home for dinner.

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