Mejor …And just getting older

Thurs, Sept 9, 2021

Latitude 42o  07’ N

Longitude 08o  51’ W

Monte-Real Club de Yates

Baiona, Spain

“Mejor” said Angel the mechanic, turning towards me as he found the source of the fuel leak. I knew enough Spanish to remember that was a superlative, but not sure whether it was good or bad. “Best,” Pete reassured me.  The source of the leak was not a failed tank or fuel line buried deep in the boat. The mount for the fuel filter had failed and the filter had come loose and impaled itself on the sharp edge of its own broken bracket. Any time the engine was running it was spewing diesel into the bilge.

The mechanics said they could take the broken piece  back to their shop and weld it. “Would it be okay if they returned tomorrow?” Angel asked.  Absolutely! The boat would not need to be towed to a boatyard to have major repair, requiring an undetermined about of time. As of this writing, the engine is operational and the Canaries are back on the schedule as a destination.

 I was  very relieved that the failure was not major and could be easily fixed, but concerned by the implication  that the boat is getting old. Lillian’s nearly forty. I don’t know what that is in boat-years, but parts on her  are beginning to fail due to fatigue. I feel a kinship with her plight.  Together, we have to take it easy on our joints. On previous bluewater passages I always assumed that I could push thought any physical challenges. It might be mentally tough and my body might complain loudly, but it would preserve.  Now I’m not so over confident.  Before crossing the North Atlantic I had an orthopedic surgeon check out an arthritic right shoulder, a Cardiologist run a stress test,  and a Urologist check my prostate (TMI?). It’s like have your tires and engine checked before driving cross country.  The first gave me a shot of cortisone and the other two  said “have a good trip.” Good to hear.  If you read the earlier blogs from the North Atlantic crossing, you’ll  see that we were three old guys in a boat, all within a year of 70.  The book “ Their be no Dragon” claims that older sailors make better sailors because they take the time to find the easiest way to accomplish a task. (The author was, of course, an older sailor). Be that as it may,  we three took it as easy as we could given some harsh conditions. For me that meant staying warm, eating well, taking plenty of naps and using my left arm more.  For Lillian, getting older has meant having all the rigging replaced the year before last … and now a bracket replacement. If we time it right, maybe we can enjoy our declining years together. I’ve already measured the diagonal  of our swimming pool at home in Huntsville, Alabama and she’ll just fit.

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