The rain came down again last night, blessing my gondolas with a free washdown.
Free but for the cost of time and effort to pump out the water from some of my bilges.
Most have bilge pumps, but no matter how good your systems are, you still need to actually show up from time to time.
The first mate of one of the yachts we share docks with told me that "94% of boat sinkings occur in the slip". The statistic came from an insurance group. I'm not sure of the accuracy, but it doesn't surprise me.
There's nothing like showing up to find your boat missing, and then realizing that she's not gone...just "hiding" under the water.
As I've mentioned previously here, I'm a big proponent of a certain discipline:
"keeping more water on the outside of the boat than there is on the inside of the boat".
Each time I find myself hunched over a boat, I'm reminded of something I heard from another yacht crewman, this time it was the captain, who said "these days we say that we serve on the ship, but in centuries past, captains and their crews simply said that they served the ship".
Serving the ship.
It goes back to a time when vessels had much more of a personal entity, and mariners (who have always been a superstitions lot) fully recognized that their livelihoods and very survival depended on the mass of wood they were floating on. Serving the ship was top priority. Many believed that if the ship didn't like them, or felt like they weren't taking good enough care of her, she would not return the favor out in the midst of a storm on the high seas.
These days we look at things from a more scientific angle, but even the most cynical boater views his or her vessel with reverence and healthy respect.
And so it is with reverence that I fire up the shop-vac today.
I serve my little ships, caring for them as if they were horses or other living things.
Maybe I'm just a sentimental sod, but I love my boats and fully understand the mindset of so many captains throughout history.
Whether it's just good practice to take care of the equipment, or if there's something deeper going on - so far I've taken good care of my boats, and they've taken good care of me and my passengers.