Monday, March 11, 2013

Falling In Love

It's that time of a year when a young woman's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.  By that I mean I just had to pay the boat insurance.  And what says love like transfering risk to a third party?

We met Papillon in the usual way: in Panama, on a blind date.  Sure, we had seen some pictures, like the one above, but since that photo was taken before I was born, we didn't want to get too excited too early.

Our broker had been talking her up for months.  "She's a great girl.  You'll love her."  But the boat was far away, it wasn't the cabin layout we wanted... there were a hundred reasons to look at other boats first.  And we did.  Boat after boat after boat.  But the chemistry was never there.

Finally, Erik gave in and agreed to see Papillon.  And as much as I was dying to fly to Panama with my one- and five-year-old children, I decided maybe it was better to send him on alone.

When he was able, Erik sent me brief emails.  They didn't fill me with hope.  Some actual notes from his time aboard:

"Oil cooler - first fixed with epoxy, which failed."
"Manual oil removal pump to enable repair of oil cooler (seal gummed up, fixed with a piece of rubber I found in a locker)."
"Mizzen sail parted right along seam after catching a backstay whilst flopping around in light wind and heavy sea."
"Spreader chafe guard stripped off by flopping babystay, also due to light wind and heavy sea."

And, my personal favourite:
"Oil fire... in those heavy waves, it was inevitable that the stuff would splash up on the hot manifold and catch fire."

This did not paint a happy picture of Erik enjoying some time at the wheel.  When he finally called me, I hardly wanted to answer the phone - he was sure to be fed up and depressed.

"I love this boat!" he said.
"You... what?"  I thought over his emails again.  Had I missed something?  No - fires and breakage.  Nothing about love.
"She has a nice shippy feel to her when you get her out on the water."
He spent the next half hour extolling the virtues of Papillon.  Her lines, the way she sailed.  Even the things that had broken somehow spoke well of the boat.

When I hung up the phone, I peeled a child off either leg and took them up to bed.

"Well girls," I said, "it sounds like we have a new home."

Love cannot be denied.
Our first days aboard, with so many unknown adventures ahead.  (photo credit Eleanor Ivins)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

She is a beauty for sure- what is not to love