The End of Purgatory

“Too much stoke. We harvested too much stoke. Now we’re paying the price!” said Ryan aka Desert Mouse, when we had been stuck in the Ventura Boatyard for nearly four months back in ’15. Such is the yin-and-yang of boating, where the incredible beauty and soul-fulfilling sights of the sea are necessarily balanced by constant hard work and occasionally excruciating effort, all geared towards keeping the boat in good operation.

According to the Catholics, Purgatory is a temporary place of suffering to purify our sins. What are the sins we were purifying at the boatyard, if not hubris, ie. over confidence? That is, the audacity that land creatures like us could navigate across the water, a foreign and unforgiving environment, in our particular case three years of sailing, crossing 10,000 miles aboard a fifty year old boat? Having repented through blood, sweat, and tears, humbled by the noxious demands of sanding dust, we were thus purified and readied to re-embark our journey.

The end was in sight. On Day 13 of our boatyard marathon, our buddy Adam arrived with his wife Kendra and 9yr old son Asher. He’s an old friend from Morro Bay back when I was cutting my teeth with the Tabula Raza, my first 29ft sailboat. Adam likes to say he was one of the “floundering fathers” of our sailing community, since we were together, cluelessly flailing at the start. He and family had joined us in Costa Rica last year on Aldebaran for a week. Now they would be sailing with us for the next two weeks in Marquesas. Naturally, we put the happy family to work on the paint immediately.

Our scheduled day for launch was Day 14, but that was a Friday. It is very bad luck to launch a boat on a Friday, plus it was Bastille Day so the boatyard owner was happy to postpone our launch by an extra day. We paid a French sailor-girl named Celine, who was needing work, to re-paint the ship’s name Aldebaran on the bows, using our mini projector to project the image onto the hull.

The final crew for this upcoming leg arrived that afternoon: Matt and Judy, parents of our long time co-op member Robby Seid. They were joining the boat for the first time. They also got thrown into the last-minute painting mayhem.

On Day 15, we woke up at 3 am to put away the gargantuan mess of tools and materials that had piled up underneath the boat. The trailer-tractor lifted us up at 7am, and to our deep chagrin, the straps on the trailer crushed some paint and fiberglass on the keel. We rushed to make a super quick patch, mindful that high tide was 9am, which is the best time to enter the water. Around 10:30am, as Adam and Matt were still putting on final touches of red bottom paint (that stuff is expensive! $200/gallon, can’t be wasted!) we gave the go ahead to re-enter the water.