We haven’t covered many miles in the month since arriving in Massachusetts; well, not by sea anyway. Idle Queen has been sitting mostly idle, tied to a graciously loaned mooring while her crew wonders what hurdles the new US health care law will have us jump through. That’s not all we’ve been up to, but this has been a time for doing things that don’t often fit into the cruising life–like reading a daily newspaper. Most of the focus for this downtime has been on trying to clear out the clutter aboard, visiting friends and family, and working on projects like finally putting together the little Dyer Midget that I bought back in North Carolina.
The Dyer Midget dinghy has turned out to be more difficult to put together than I had originally anticipated, but this is mostly because I feel obligated to rebuild it the way that Dyer intended, rather than just build new parts out of resin and fibers. Then again, everything takes three times longer than I ever think that it will. I bought this dinghy knowing that it would be a project. Someone else had taken it apart with the intent of restoring it, as many of the wooden parts had rotted away to nothing.
Now, the problem with this situation for me is that my woodworking skills are pretty much limited to building stands for outboard engines out of 2-by-6’s and bolts, or using loosely-fitted wood components as reinforcing for things built of fiberglass. The construction of the Dyer Midget involves closely-fitted pieces and steam-bent wood–both things that I have little experience with. The biggest problem has been fitting the strong wooden pieces to the fragile, unreinforced fiberglass shell–the floppy fiberglass risks being ripped apart as I torture resistant pieces of white oak into place to reinforce it. I keep telling myself that I will be rewarded with a tough, light boat by sticking with the wooden parts that the original design calls for, but I originally thought that I would have this project done in a week of spare time. It has already dragged out to three times my original projection. While good progress has been made, the end is not yet near.
Autumn has arrived with chilly, clear nights. Idle Queen is tugging at her mooring. Soon it will be time to commit to a plan for the winter, and that will probably involve sailing somewhere south to avoid freezing weather. In the meantime, we have been enjoying occasional perfect sailing days and the beautiful scenery of this part of the New England coast.