Challenge, Rebuilding a 6-Meter with Jake Fennell. Page 2 Mast Image

The First Day

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April 1, 2006

Rain, I hope the weather doesn't continue like this all of the time. I rousted myself from bed, and hopped down from the elevated bunk using only one of the four steps from the ship ladder. Surveying the room, I walked to the sink. The cedar panel ceiling of the room was pitched with the roof, at the entrance as high as nine feet and the far wall only four. This angle made entry to the room an optical puzzle; the apparent size of the room was difficult to judge. The floor was a deep red hue, marine painted plywood that felt surprisingly solid to the footfall. The walls were two shades of a green, a paler one used on most of the walls. A darker green was used more for trim and the entire back, high wall. In one far corner were a couple of bamboo swiveling rocking chairs which shared an ottoman. Along the low ceiling wall was a high-backed bench. Another corner housed an ancient secretary desk which may be as sturdy now as the day it was made. A large double width window spanned the wall the desk area from the kitchenette nearest the doorway. The kitchenette consisted of a narrow, white enameled, electric stove apparently more than thirty years old, and a curvaceous counter inset with a deep stainless steel sink. Above the sink, on a beamy post, hung a heavy bronze ship's clock which displayed—without a doubt—the correct time precisely twice in a 24-hour period. My attention walked down that beam where it met the backside of that counter where there was standing water that wept from the wall. My passport and a few other papers were thoroughly soaked.

I exited my guest room, to what was a second-story screened in porch. The door for the main living quarters was situated opposite of the screen door. The door had an approximately head-height fixed circular window, and opened like an air-lock. The cracking of the seal clearly marked my intended entry. I walked through the portal, and the air pressure changed as I closed the door. The whisk of the swift seal briskly pushed me through.

I continued my path through the hallway to the great room. The great room is big, it spans the entire width of the boatyard building, 40-feet wide. The ceiling is planked cedar. A large beam stretches to reach both walls. In the A-frame above to the peak, a rice paper screen houses christmas decoration lights. The effect is that it appears to be star lit. Kat's office/projects area is in the southwest corner, so she can see the harbor and the Olympic Mountains beyond. The kitchen was in this living area, and exuded the smell of fresh pressed coffee. Besides the dining area, there were two other seating "zones." One in the middle of the room crafted of various pieces of a very large wrap-around sofa, situated around a glass topped coffee table and a wood burning stove. Another seating area was in the southeast corner of the room. A very large bookcase reached all the way to the ceiling. And on a comfortable leather sofa, Michael sat reading a book. He had intended to launch a boat today, but it's raining. He claims, "This has become a lazy-man's boat yard." And I enjoyed being lazy that morning, while much of it was spent chatting with Kat.

By mid-morning, the rain subsided. Michael and I went out to take a look at the 6-Meter. Michael reached to the ground for the black handle of the zipper for the front of the temporary work shed. Zzzzzzeeeeerrrrrrip, the interlocking projections of the flaps broke way as he raised the slide above his head. I lifted the tarpaulin flap, and gazed inside. Admittedly, I was astonished. I had no vocabulary of sailing. Sure, I had heard the words such as stern, sloop, and schooner, but they were used almost wholly without context. I have always understood measurements regarding boats to be their length, "24-foot boat." I had assumed that the 6-meter was going to be approximately 20-feet long. I didn't understand that it was a class of racing sailboats that had been an Olympic sport. Immediately upon setting eyes on her, I could sense this was truly a special boat. I suddenly realized my original intentions of 4–6 weeks assisting with the boat had been a little inaccurate based on the sheer size of the project.

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