Friday, February 15, 2008

Struck by lightening.

No, not the boat. Me. That is the closest possible way I can describe the feeling I’ve had the last two weeks. I think it started with getting motivated to start working on the boat. I knocked out the macerator pump, that’s the one that pumps the sewage off the boat. Nasty, nasty job, but I got it done after finding several leaks that had to be fixed. Unfortunately, I figured out that the holding tank leaks so I need a new 15 gallon bladder tank to replace the old one. I also got the lines replaced for my main sheet, mizzen sheet, and running back stays.

I called the guys over at Blue Water to help me with the starter which has been malfunctioning occasionally since I bought the boat. We got the old starter pulled, rebuilt, and reinstalled along with a new solenoid. In the most frightening moment of my short boating career, I pushed the button to test the install and heard nothing but a click. Knowing something wasn’t right I dropped down below to have a look and realized I couldn’t see being engulfed in smoke. I grabbed a fire extinguisher and opened the engine compartment expecting to see flames, but there were none. In fact, aside from the smoke all seemed OK.

Apparently, new starters need a lot of amps to turn over the first time. The bad news was my older wiring had such a large voltage drop due to corrosion that the starter didn’t get full power when I hit the ignition button. What did happen was a total meltdown of the starting wire that runs from the solenoid to the starter, the battery selector switch, and my engine temp and oil gauges. Oh well, better at the dock then at sea. Now at least I know I’ve replaced the weakest link in the starting circuit.

Amazingly, the feeling I’ve likened to being hit by lightening didn’t come from my close call with an electrical fire, but with the interaction I’ve had with several people over dinner last weekend. I finally got a chance to sit down with my web designer and review his draft logos for the sight. I was impressed. I’ve copied three of them in below and would love some feedback. These are being revised based on some input from me and others so the final draft should be coming soon. Knowing I don’t have any creative talent myself I invited the crew of Transcend from the South Padre trip and one of their friends. What started out as a discussion about which logo looked the best turned into a full on brain storm about how to make this trip happen and make the absolute most of it. To Jesselyn, Sharron, Joe, Lilly, Steven, and Jackie, thanks. Your enthusiasm means more than you know.

So, coming off that dinner/logo meeting I’ve started filling out the paper work to incorporate my own 503c non-profit allowing readers to purchase shirts and such to support both SOS and myself. It’s a way people can give a fully tax deductible donation that keeps me sailing and gives directly to SOS. It’s going to be a pretty cool logo. I’ve also drafted my first press release. My feeble mind was just planning on sending the release to the sailing mags and the non-profit mags, but the group is going to help me get this out all over the place. Sponsorship for the trip is starting to look like it might actually be a possibility. Timing on the first media blitz is going to be pretty crucial. I don’t want to get fired before I am actually ready to go. Then again, that might make for an even more interesting story.

The end result of all this activity is that the reality of this project is sinking in. It still seems surreal that I’d quit my job and try to sail around the world to help orphans. Crazy huh? I am really starting to love the work I am doing to get ready for this trip. Somehow, it’s taking on a life of its own. I don’t really feel like I am pushing anymore, but that I am being pulled to it. There is lot’s to do, but it’s getting easier, not harder.

I am going sailing.


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