A New Season, In a Lot of Ways

Halle-fuckin’-lujah! Further is FINALLY back in the water. And with a mast, no less!

The sun hit the northernmost point in its annual journey this morning at 5:13 a.m. local time. The summer solstice marked the end of spring and the first day of summer.

Today also marked the end of another super-long season when Further found her way back into the water. She was returned to Back Creek in Annapolis, six-plus months after she came out of those same waters for a winter of rehab. Several projects were completed this winter, including the installation of new lithium batteries, a thorough cleansing of the spaghetti-like electrical system and the removal and glassing over of some defunct through-hulls.

But the big project was a complete overhaul of Further’s standing and running rigging: her mast, boom, and the rod and wires them all up, and the lines that hoist and control the sails that hang from that rigging. It was a project that was supposed to be done in early April. And that’s when the fun began.

Early April got pushed to the last week of April, due to a couple of missing parts for a new rod backstay that was replacing the old wire backstay (the backstay is the cable/rod that runs from the top of the mast to the stern, or back, of the boat). Okay, fine…there’s been a complete mucking up of the supply chain around the world. I get it. Last week of April it is.

Then we were into May. “Looking good for next week,” I heard. Then…nothing. I heard that a couple of more times and then we were into June, at which point, after I started getting in the riggers’ faces in person, I heard about “well, we still have to point the boom.”

“Paint the boom?,” I asked. “That’s the first I’ve heard of that and you’ve had the rigging SINCE THE NEW YEAR.”

I don’t know if my tales of being homeless (my apartment lease ended on May 24) and having to spew money that had been budgeted for this rigging project into hotel rooms and AirBNBs and such got these guys off their asses, but I doubt it. I’ve written before of the, well, let’s call it the laissez-faire attitude of the marine industry here in Naptown, so I highly doubt anything moved the crew to actually, you know, put the damned mast back on the damned boat.

Not that the job is finished, mind you. It’s not. Yes, the mast is back where it belongs (and it’s beee-yoo-ti-ful) and the fittings are all nice and shiny, and the halyards are all nice and, well, shiny, too. But there’s still no boom, a bunch of the fittings are yet to be installed and, of course, there’s still no $%$% backstay, not even the old, wire backstay that was going to be a temporary solution until the ordered-in-February (yes, February) parts arrive.

But Further is in the water and that’s a start. The mast is on and that’s a start. I’ll be moving back aboard on Thursday and that’s a start. Then there are a couple of other projects that got started last year — as in: back in 2021 — that have had to wait on the new rigging, things like an arch that will replace the old davits and hold the solar panels and wind generator, and a new bimini (the canvas “roof” above the helm) to replace the old one that was falling apart. They will begin post-haste.

It’s a new season.