Pandora’s Box Truck, a crisis of sorts and some wonderful boats.

It’s been nearly ten days since my last post/confession; forgive me, for I have sinned…

Yes, it’s been a while but it’s tough to come up with something to write about as I’ve been busy cutting lawns, doing household chores and other decidedly landlocked chores.  Last night at an event at Essex Yacht Club, Jim, the manager at the marina where I have Pandora stored, came up to me and said “Bob, where have you been? Pandora’s just sitting there and you haven’t been around!”  Yes, indeed.   True and without much in the way of “simply messing about in boats”, I haven’t got much to say.

However, you can rest assured that I have been doing plenty of “thinking about boats” and my office is getting quite messy, piled high with stuff that I have assembled complete with replacement parts and such, for Pandora so it’s high time that I visit her.  Alas, not quite yet…

I should note that, in spite of not being aboard, I have at least been focused on our plans for next winter, including focusing on lining up crew and I may have two signed up to run her south.  Jim, who was with me this spring on our run north has tentatively agreed to join me in Hampton in late October for my run to Tortola.  I enjoyed having Jim along so hopefully he will be able to swing the time to make the trip.  I’ve also been talking to Mark, the captain of that yacht I crewed on to run from Greenport to Ft Lauderdale last fall.  He may have some time and might be able to make the run with me on Pandora and do some “slumming” for a bit.  I’d like that although I don’t know if he even remembers what a sail is since he’s spent some much time on big motor yachts.    I wrote about our run south in a number of posts last September and this one is a pretty good summary.   I also wrote a number of other posts, as we made our way south, burning 1,500 gallons of fuel per day, from September 8th through the 16th.   It was quite a trip. (note: You can pull up the September 2016 posts by scrolling down and clicking on the month)

And, speaking of “Pandora’s box truck”as in the title, which I was until I became hopelessly sidetracked, I was intrigued by some of the little trucks that I saw in the islands over the winter like this one in St Barths.   These are not marketed in the US, in part because they would not fare well in a “shootout” with a Ford F350, I expect. When I got home this spring, I happened to see one of these little trucks at a local car repair shop and stopped to ask about it.   Well, one thing lead to another and I found a source, a company in Queens NY that imports them directly from Japan.  Of course, they are not road legal as they can’t pass emissions or safety regulations needed to be registered for use on American roads.  However, not to be deterred, I did some research and decided that I just had to have one.  You see, I do need a car/truck to cart stuff back and forth from Pandora to home right?   Road legal you say?  Not to worry, as if a car is over 25 years old it is considered an “antique” and thus exempt from such frivolities such as EPA and safety issues.

So, here’s Pandora’s Box Truck in all her splendor.  Notice the “monster tires”.  Delivering a 9.5′ dink.  Bid dink or little truck?  Hmm…Not big you say?  Can you take her on a highway?  Never mind.  It’s fun to drive and seems big when I maneuver her to park in the garage.   Actually, she fits fine along with Brenda’s VW, our MGA, and even under our Adirondack guide boat, all in a two car garage.  How convenient.  How cozy.  And look, there’s even room for several garbage cans.  Isn’t that practical?  Totally!While I am on the subject of practical. and so you don’t think that Pandora’s Box truck is all just for fun, here’s proof that she’s a hard working truck.  Getting mulch at the dump.  I hope the dumper-truck-guy didn’t wet himself when he saw me and the truck.   “What do you mean, I buried your truck with one load?”Yup, that’s us, spreading the mulch in the front yard.   Pandora’s box truck.  Master of all she can see. So there you have it, my own “upper midlife crisis” in mini-living color.  You have to admit, there are much worse ways that a guy of a “certain age” could act out.  Unfortunately, this truck hasn’t done anything to help me look any cooler to my boys, or Brenda, who refuses to drive it or ride in it.  Oh well, at least other guys think it’s pretty neat as I do get stopped everywhere with questions.  It’s too soon to tell, and I never will admit, if it’s a “chic magnet”.  Lips sealed…

So there you have it, my latest stupid move but you have to admit that it’s kinda fun.  Right?  Just don’t ask me if it was hard to get registered as I think it took 5 trips to DMV but that’s a story for another day.

So, enough about “Mini Me”, Pandora’s box “monster” truck, for the moment.   How about some photos of beautiful boats?   This is a blog about boats after all, right?

Yesterday Brenda and I made a trip up to Mystic Seaport for their annual Classic Yacht Rendezvous and show.  If you want to see beautiful yachts and acres of finely finished wood, this is the place to be with dozens of wonderful and beautifully cared for classics.

In keeping with my “upper mid life crisis” how about this beauty. Gramp?  Love the wicker chairs.  I believe that I used a photo of this boat in a post a few weeks ago when I spied her at the Wooden Boat Show.   However, I think she’s great so her she/he is again.  Love the shift and throttle on the wheel. I don’t usually like outboard powered classics but this one is stunning.   How about a gold prop?A beautiful little steam launch.
How about the oh-so-appropriately named Splinter?  She was designed by Bruce King an launched in 1989.  The hope was that she would be the first of a class of one design race boats but alas, she was the only one built.  What a beautiful piece of work.   I believe that she is for sale if you are interested.  As an aside, a few years ago she was racing in the Opera House Cup in Nantucket and her keel fell off.  It seems that someone forgot to put on proper keel bolts.  Oops!
Bolero was there too.  We last saw her in Antigua in March and wrote about her. I also saw here in Newport last summer and mentioned her then too.   It’s a small world.  This girl really gets around.
All the boats on display were not classics.  This one is a recent design from Sparkman and Stephens.  She’s high tech carbon fiber.  Quite a magnificent piece of work.   I wish I had written down her name.
Look at her wheel.  It’s designed so you can reach the instruments without going though the spokes of the wheel.  I’ll bet that this is only the tip of the iceberg of what makes this boat unique and super pricey. And, speaking of attention to detail, how about this beautifully polished binnacle on BoleroOr, this wheel and throttle on an oh-so-civilized motor launch?For sure, the perfect place to “pilot” your way through life.
Or this hatch.  A most civilized way to catch your fill of sea breezes.
This beautiful commuter offers the perfect spot to enjoy a G&T.  “Jeeves! Fetch me another and be quick about it.  My ice is completely melted.”
And, the view forward, while sipping a cool one, even with melted ice, has got to be lovely too. “Oh yeah, and please turn down that infernal pipe organ, while you’re at it.”I was struck by this wonderful ship model on exhibit.  Imagine keeping something like this around your home.  It was built as an admiralty model some 300 years ago and is accurate in every detail.  Even the interior is finished and exact to the real ship.  Each line is as it was on the actual ship.  Amazing. The level of detail is exquisite, even if the quality of the photo isn’t.  “Yes, we believe you Bob, the photo sucks!”Anyway, I’ll ignore that.  As I was saying, we saw some amazing yachts but perhaps the one that I am most smitten with is the Sabino, the lovely little steamboat that makes her home at Mystic Seaport.   She’s just been relaunched after a 2.5 year refit and she’s beautiful.  As she sat at the dock they were still working on her with the plan of having her ready for visitors in early August. Plenty on board painting away.  We were fortunate enough to be invited aboard for a brief tour and look at the new boiler and restored steam engine by the engineer.   I was a treat.

This short video talks about the work that was done on this remarkable vessel.
She will be ready to make her debut soon and our plan is to take an evening cruise aboard her with some friends in mid August.  In the evenings, most days, she does a two hour cruise down the Mystic River and joining her with a bottle of wine, cheese and crackers has been something of a tradition for me and Brenda over the years.    Want to see her yourself?  Here’s the dope on what you’ll need to do.

Well, I guess that about covers it for now.   Pandora now has her own, sort of, dedicated “land mini-tender” and I’ve found yet another and mostly harmless way to act out my “upper” mid life crisis and some beautiful boats to round things out.

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