Do you ever wonder if life’s hits will ever stop? Will you ever get ahead? Or even break even? I've got one word for you: Providence
Webster's 1828 dictionary defines it as:
1. The act of providing or preparing for future use or application. OR
2. Foresight; timely care; particularly, active foresight, or foresight
accompanied with the procurement of what is necessary for future use, or
with suitable preparation. How many of the troubles and perplexities of
life proceed from want of providence!
We’ve hit a few snags in the last few weeks.
We'd planned to sail at the first weather window available after my last day of work (July 7). But a possible hurricane made its presence known. While hurricane Elsa made it to a category 1 before reaching the Florida coast, it hit the Keys as just a bad rainstorm. In preparation, we stripped the boat completely. This meant taking down the Bimini (the canvas top), the solar panels on top, the dodger (the “windshield” canvas), and all the sails. Taking down the sails includes taking down the Mack Packs (the canvas sail covers), the jack lines (a network of ropes that guide the sails into the Mack Packs), and all three sails: the main, mizzen and jib. We also removed all our gear on deck: water jugs, diesel cans, boat hooks, and fenders. We also attached several extra lines to the mooring ball. Finally, we hauled our dinghy out of the water and onto the foredeck and strapped it down. Our aft cabin was filled with things out of place. Since I was working, I stayed in a hotel room and brought Griffin with me while Russ stayed aboard to look after Born Again. It took a while to get everything put back in its place once the danger has passed.
Before our storm delay, we had arranged to have some professional rigging work done. We wanted them to do a visual inspection, install an anchor light at the masthead, and add a spare halyard on the main mast. When we got to the marina for the work, the riggers said we needed a full inspection and found that a tang, a piece of metal that attaches the shrouds (metal cables) to the main mast, was cracked from top to bottom. That needed replaced immediately. Our radar antenna brackets needed replaced as well. The “easy” repair of replacing the anchor light included replacing the wiring in the mast, rewiring the connections at the mast step, and tracking down the voltage problem. Thankfully, Russ had done all the prep for the spare halyard, so it just needed the line run from the top of the mast while the rigger was in the air. The tang needed to be custom fabricated, which added to our timeline to leave.
Back on our boat, as we worked putting Born Again back to a sailable condition we noticed our batteries weren't keeping up with our energy usage as they normally did. We had to run the generator almost daily in order to keep them charged. The solar panels weren't keeping up like they normally did. We spent time (days) tracking down the problem, eliminating one possible cause after another. The issue turned out to be the batteries themselves. They came with the boat and were not of a good quality to begin with. On top of that, because of some misinformation we were operating under, we had run them down too low, too many times. So, that meant new batteries, which means purchasing, hauling, installing and making adjustments to both the smart-charger and the solar controller. The old batteries are #120 pounds each (there are two) and the new ones are #130 pounds each. We evaluated how to get them on and off the boat using the dinghy and our block and tackle system on the mizzen mast, without dropping them into the harbor. After pondering that for a day, we decided to wait and haul them aboard when we were docked for the rigging work. It is not a quick job and even factoring in the “everything takes longer on a boat”. We weren’t looking forward to another addition to our timeline.
My husband Russ is the more emotional or volatile of the two of us. He has higher highs and lower lows than I do. There are many times when he says that “this meal is the best thing I’ve ever eaten!” to my humble efforts at cooking. When things aren’t going as planned, he outwardly frets and reacts to obstacles with very little patience. After delay #3, he was losing his mind! (Not really, but I’m sure it felt like it to him.)
I am the more even keeled of the two of us. Maybe it was watching my mother, the nurse, react to medical issues with an unflappable calm, or maybe it’s just my nature. I’m sure it causes Russ some discomfort when I don’t react to things that he thinks warrant a reaction. I just looked at him calmly and said, “Then we leave later.” I drive him nuts sometimes.
What does this have to do with providence?
First, let me give you the last two Webster 1828 definitions of providence...
3. In theology, the care and superintendence which God exercises over his
creatures. He that acknowledges a creation and denies a providence involves
himself in a palpable contradiction; for the same power which caused a
thing to exist is necessary to continue its existence. Some persons admit a
general providence but deny a particular providence not considering that a
general providence consists of particulars. A belief in divine providence
is a source of great consolation to good men. By divine providence is often
understood God himself.
4. Prudence in the management of one's concerns or in private economy.
I share all this because I love to look at word definitions and how they vary. It also enables me to step back and look at a situation differently. A change in perspective can change my whole outlook.
The Elsa hurricane threat caused a great deal of work, both before and after, that in the end, wasn’t really necessary. BUT, it allowed us to practice our preparations without urgency, and later, putting the boat back together gave me a greater knowledge of the vessel and its systems.
The rigging work was costly, and waiting for repairs and parts annoying.
BUT, we have peace of mind that a crucial part of the boat is sound.
Had that tang failed while sailing, it would likely have brought the whole mast down.
The battery issue added time and money to track down and repair.
BUT, it could have happened while we were out of the country where repairs
are not as easily completed. This failure may have made us unable to start
our engine at a critical time.
I’m sure there'll be other times out here when the tide of trouble is rising and it appears there is no way out. I may be the one that’s losing her mind, with Russ keeping it together and bringing me back to sanity. We’ll see where the perspective is then!
We hope you’ll continue following us for the next chapter in our journey.
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Thanks for reading and God Bless.