The Boatist

Sailboat Ownership, Translation Work and Tales of Minor Adventure

Retire early, be passionate, don't worry, die poor

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Attitude-changing Event

Climbing a 51-foot mast solo can be an attitude-changing event.

top climber
Scraping the top of the mast and having some soul-searching thoughts.
It took about 10 minutes, a lot of grunting and two stops on the spreaders to climb the mast all the way up. When I reached the top, I was tired and not very enthusiastic about scraping for 2 hours. Maybe its' because I've put on some weight (the bathroom scale says 94 kg), maybe it's because I stopped doing my morning 30-minute Rambo exercises last summer, maybe I'm getting older!! 

Once there, I rested on the Top Climber chair, regained my strength and admired the landscape. That's when the trouble started.

What trouble? Thinking trouble, that's what. I have a bad habit of either thinking too much, not enough or not at all.

Being busy thinking didn't prevent me from taking some pictures. After all, we're in an age when life doesn't seem to exist unless you photograph it. It won't be long before lovers have sex wearing a camera. But I digress.

Corbin 39 deck layout
Jakatar looks smaller from this perspective.
Peniche Marina
Beautifully calm day.
Port of Peniche
Most of the fishing boats are out catching fish in the morning. It's best to climb the mast before they return in a hurry, way over the port's speed limit, creating wakes that turn the marina into a corral of bucking rodeo boats. Even a little wake amplifies motion at the top of the mast and will bang you against it like a bell knocker.
Mast top maintenance
The yellow stains are what's left of the etch primer that was supposed to adhere to the aluminum. I also hope this shackle is better than the one that parted and cost me my Rocna anchor and 150 feet of BBB chain. 
So, what was I thinking up there?

First, it was hard work climbing the mast, and I absolutely need to go on a diet. Weighing 94 kg is simply unacceptable. I don't look fat, I'm simply heavy. I also need to start exercising again.

Second, there was no reason to moan about the never-ending boat work. Isn't this what makes life more exciting. It's surely better than boredom, illness and death. This would sound really cliche-ish, I know, if a friend who is my age hadn't died a few days ago. He got up from the couch, keeled over and died, just like that. If that weren't bad enough, another friend, also my age and who lives in town, has just been told that his persistent toothache is jaw cancer. Who's next?

Moral of the story: I'm alive - climbing the mast to scrape for hours, repairing stuff, losing an expensive anchor and chain, spending way too much money on an over-sized boat, and having a stress-filled profession is "life." Luckily, I'm not the type to feel sorry for myself, although I like to complain once in a while.

What makes this a life-changing event, you may ask? It fortified my positive attitude which, next to health, is probably one of the best things in life.

You don't need to be totally free to feel alive, having a good attitude goes a long way.


  1. And if you have a good attitude, you can even dance in front of the news.
    Very nice post Horacio. The winter blues have been getting to me (as well?), but the days are getting longer already and "forward" is the only way to go. Why it all catches up with us and we're not happy sometimes, is a mystery to me. We are only here for a short time. The passing of people close to us is a swift kick in the butt but unfortunately wears off over time. Not that I know what I'm talking about, just pondering around here. Thank god for boats! And thanks for another lovely post.

    1. Thanks Pete.
      I'm on the boat right now (just finished a translation), it's raining sardines and mackerels, peppered with strong squalls, it's getting dark and I could hang out until spring. Jesus! We either have our heads in a boat or a boat in our heads. What a life.