Blood, sweat and tears, salt water is the cure for everything. I borrow a hack saw from my neighbor to cut my week old baget into thin slices so I can fry it in oil for breakfast with the last remains of my garlic. Sea biscuits are the soul food for the sailor. A constant stream of steam tells me my coffee is almost done. I’ve purposely run out of sugar, it’s no longer on the menue, that’s ok I like my coffee black.
I found a great documentary radio station on my little short wave, It’s raining and calm but I’ve heard a blow is coming my way. The boat is snug in her slip, the heater purring along and the water jugs are full. I still haven’t added a water tank but now after all these years I’ve gotten used to living out of portable jugs, I almost prefer it. I lift the bilge floor and pull out a can of cool tomato juice for a Virgin Mary, I might have indulged in a bit too much Caribbean rum last night. The grey rainy day matches my mood as I try and face my future for the first time is a dozen years.
I’ve always had a reason to be grounded, there has always been something or someone who needed my help so here I’ve sat plying my local waters happy as a clam. I woke up today and realized there are no more reasons to stay. There are no emergencys and no responsibilitys. I’ve always been more than good at living in the now but now I’m living in the potential future. It’s decision time and I have to make some big ones. For me all expeditions are alike. Leave with half as much money as I need and a rag tag equipment list. Go totally unprepared with zero knowledge of what I’m getting into and truly explore the world I live in, it’s actually as easy as it sounds.
I’ve been hanging with a tribe of real pirates, the good kind. They don’t read cruising magazines, buy sailing books or browse blogs. They are sailors with proven track records and every one of them on a very minimalist budget. They all sail reasonably ship shape boats, all of them larger than Sookie and I’m pretty sure they all agree she is too small. I don’t agree with them on boat size or in most cases anything when it comes to those things but that’s what makes us such a motley crew, we all bring something very different to the table. I have always felt safer in boats I can manage with sheer brute force and not mechanacle advantages.
In my dream world I would sail a 25 x 9 foot version of Sookie but that doesn’t exist. The 26 is a very ideal boat but only 9 were built. I love the BCC but I keep walking away from them, there must be a reason. I don’t have any notable complaints about my little 22 footer other than it is a pretty small space for two humans to occupy. Personally I think she’s pretty dam cozy, her berths a huge and her galley just right. The combingless cockpit could use a bit more in the lifeline department but all and all she is a good fit. Her simplicity is what makes her shine. Every single thing about her was made to sail and to sail easily and efficinly and fun.
Her stern roller attached to her massive boomkin works flawlessly and easily stores her tiny chain less anchor. I still haven’t gotten around to adding a bronze hawse hole but they are hard to find used and as far as I know none are being made any longer.
Sookie carries a very robust 5′ bowsprite making it easy and safe to store my bower hooked on the bobstay. Sookie is by far the easiest boat to anchor I have ever sailed. I have never once had a single issue with her anchor management although I wouldn’t mind a bit more of that back breaking chain. I love her morning bits and find them to be much more secure than a cleat for making the anchor line fast
I’ve never been a fan on roller furling but on this boat it could almost be an advantage. I like non overlapping sails if for no reason other than budget but they are easy and efficint in almost all winds I ever expect to encounter. I would like 2 sets of reef pints on her tiny 80 square foot stay sail though. My bonus sail would be an asym the best light wind mile eater on any boat.
Sookies main has two deep reef points and while there are times I have wished for a third or a tri sail the odds of seeing conditions much worse than those Sookie has already happily sailed through are extremely rare. She sails quite well under bare poles in the really gross stuff that I avoid like the plague.
Sookies original pintles and gudgeons are border line retarded by design and her weakest link and far out of my financial reach to replace them the way I prefer. I do have a very safe plan of attack on this and think I can get the job done for only about 20 cases of Charles Shaw.
Over all the FC has the best laid out and most comefortable deck of any boat over ever sailed. She has reasonably wide and flat decks with great nonskid. All the sail management systems are easy to use and spot on. I can reef her main in under a minute in pitch darkness on a heaving Deck with ease. Her jib down haul brings the head sail down without me going on the bow Sprite and is super fast and easy to use and the rat lines I spliced in catch the sails perfectly.
Down below she is a dream with a near perfect layout, I could make her much more comfy and some day I may but for now she works a treat. I sleep like a baby, hey galley works for me and there is more storage than I know what to do with. I’m always making small refinements, she is my life’s project, my art and artistry. I’m almost done with by two foot itis breakdown and settling into fun things like adding a spice rack and a little dowl to hold her TP which seems to be misplaced about 73 times a day.
Her poop bucket is a dream come true and goes back to captain Lea threatening to cut my pecker off is she catches me peeing standing up. The bucket may seem gross to some who haven’t used it but nothing is grosser than a leaking holding tank, it only takes a few drops.
I’ve spent the last month in the deepest recesses of my mind trying to figure out a way to have my sailing support my writing without selling out or turning art of hookie into a street beggars venue. It’s one or the other, work or sail and I doubt I’m good enough a writer to spin yarns about washing dishes and cleaning toilets. All and all its a good problem to have. I love to write as much as I love to sail and explore. I’ve been seriously ignoring my small responsibilities but only because I have an incredibly strong feeling that my truest future is right around the corner
For now I’ve turned my attention to converting Sookie from a seasonal vayaging home to a yacht in transit. Rome wasn’t built in a day nor will Sookie be completed in any short manor but the gentle tugs on the morning lines are letting me that she is as ready as I am to feel the giant rolling swell of the pacific pushing us along in the wake of the setting sun.
I think I’m starting to smell that old familiar scent of stinky boy and stinky boat. I think we both are ready for a good bath
“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.”
― Jim Morrison