I'm thinking of writing a television script. The working title is “It Couldn't be my Fault”. It would follow the travels of some broken boat crap repair guys as they go from boat to boat. It would center on that customer meeting where they invariably say “ I dunno how that could have happened or I had a guy on the boat who....”.
Broken crap is always a mystery, its the boat letting THEM down, never the other way around. It never fails due to neglect or misuse. Maybe the previous owner did beat the shit out of it, it could be because the part was destined to fail due to poor design. Sometimes things are jammed in where proper maintenance is impossible. But every once in a while you run into a boat where you just wonder “what the hell was he thinking?”.
Case in point. The owner of a high end sailing yacht decided that since his boat would be on the hard for four summer months in the balmy Chesapeake that he would fight off the mold in his own special way. There’s gotta be at least a hundred commercially available products for combating mold. They run the gambit from dehumidifiers to packets of magic absorbent crystals. This guy knew better and since he had solar panels he decided to leave one of his Camfrano fans running full tilt for the four months.
Nobody can pinpoint when the fan actually failed but when it did fail, it was spectacular. A complete meltdown. Fortunately there was no fire but there is mold. Go figure.
|You won't see this picture in their advertising.....|
|The China Syndrome, fan style.|
Then there was this guy. Oh wait, its the same guy. The whole theory of winch maintenance must be lost on him. After the winch was chiseled out of its base this is what remains. Several tablespoons of salt, sand and nautical grime.
|Service the winches....EVER?|
The owner supplied replacements for both cockpit winches. A pair of bright, shiny new Lewmars. Tiny Lewmars. The old winches were 58's and I’ve been given a pair of dinky 46's. I exaggerate when I call them dinky but they are substantially smaller. Why would anyone opt to intentionally go with a smaller than stock winch? The loads on cockpit winches are huge. The old jib sheets will probably be too big for the new stripers and have to be replaced with smaller ones as well. And who doesn't love trying to hand haul tiny jibs sheets under high loads. Sure, hes saving some money on the winches by going smaller but then hes got to buy new jib sheets. Why would anyone do that? And then it became clear.....hes selling the boat.
He will be that guy everyone is always badmouthing, The Previous Owner. Its kinda like meeting the Devil. A shadowy figure that everyone always speaks of but nobody could pick out of a lineup. Hes under the bed, hes in the back corner of the dark closet, hes that bump in the night. The mention of his name makes your skin crawl and your hair stand on end. Unless you're bald, then the thought of him just gives you gas. Hes always central to most boaters nautical horror stories. His stench fills the bilges, his touch is still felt in the creative wiring choices in every electrical nook and cranny. Improper hoses, wires to nowhere, JB Weld repairs, the hidden switches and fuses, all of those WTF was he thinking moments. Maybe every boats naming ceremony should include an exorcism. Add some Holy Water to that rum and it might make the difference. Every naming ceremony should include the phrase “Cast out the Devil from this new to us boat”.