Mistakes made and lessons learned

Warm and sunny with a gentle yet salty breeze blowing off the bay, it was a perfect weekend by New England standards. Sailors took to the water like a swarm of locusts. While Schooners and Lasers were out swapping wakes, I was impatiently prepping my mast hardware for installation. While I was physically in a dark shed counting screws and straightening my bent bronze track my mind was on a mooring in Jamestown.

It was this restlessness that prompted me to put a 10th coat of varnish on an already finished mast. There were a couple sags and few pesky drips that called to me.  I hastily answered that call. Leaving the garage door open, the sun shining with a slight breeze, along with some loud country music made this chore a near pleasant experience. Other shop workers came and went providing a steady stream of company and conversation.

The next day I strolled up to the shop to reorganize my mast hardware and take a minute to step back and admire my finished mast…or so I thought. The runs in my mast varnish previously were weekend joggers compared to the Kenyan marathoners that now danced across the shiny Spruce. To make matters worse a fine layer of dust and dirt had settled into the mast.

It was as disheartening and frustrating a moment that I’ve had since my original mast broke apart, this time, I had no one to blame but myself. My ego got in my way and I didn’t do the prep work necessary to varnish a mast, let alone adhere the final coat. It was a mistake I would not make twice.

Closing the garage door, I hosed down the floor, re-sanded the mast and even changed my dust-covered clothes. In a much more monk-like atmosphere, I was able to put a smooth-as-glass final layer of varnish on the mast, one that I felt proud of when I took a step back.

There is no place for an oversized ego when it comes to boating and boat restoration. I hope keeping that in mind will help me join my boating brethren soon.

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