Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Never Ending Story



















   Twenty five years ago, when I first laid eyes on the Bonnie J, I really wasn't impressed. After all, it was a wooden boat,and I knew what that was going to entail. However, when I got closer and looked at the For Sale sign, and the amount that the seller wanted for her, I started to give it some consideration. At the time I still had seven kids at home, and I wasn't exactly raking in the big bucks working at L. Kane Store. I don't know what my reasoning was for buying it; I guess I realized that I'd be hard pressed to find another boat with a basically new engine for that price,and since I wasn't mechanically inclined, a new diesel was a real selling point. I would have liked to have purchased a good used fiberglass boat, but they were going for about twice what we paid for the house, so that wasn't practical either. Sooooo... I bought the Bonnie J and actually, I've been paying for it ever since. I've had her for almost 25 years. In that time I've replaced the forward deck, after deck, deck beams, oil stove,all the electronics, trolling poles, fuel tanks, hay rack, bulwarks, hydraulic gurdies, hydraulic hoses, bow stem, and I don't know how many planks. Now it's time to replace even more planks. I figured there would be three or four, maybe five on the starboard side, but it appears that there will be even more. No doubt if the shipwright didn't stop, when he did, I'd never make it out fishing this year. As it is, it's going to be touch and go. Having a wooden boat is kind of like having a spoiled kid- or a dog like Rigby. Always demanding, always in need of something. I've often wondered if I haven't thrown good money after bad, but at this juncture, it's too late to worry about it. It gets to the point that you can't afford to walk away. It is awfully nice to apply paint to the wood and not have a rust spot show up two days later where an old screw is bleeding through. When I hauled out this time, I was noticing that some of the paint was peeling off pretty badly. I got out my putty knife and started to scrape some off. As I did, entire sections of a rotten plank were dropping to the ground. Fortunately I'd already planned on replacing that plank. A few years ago when I was hauled out, we ran out of time to replace any more. I had a rotten plank under the guard on the port side. I kind of picked at it until I had a pretty good gouge in the wood. Well, I couldn't very well leave it like that, so out came the Bondo body filler. Holy cats , I must have used six pounds of the stuff trying to get it to fill the void. It didn't want to stick too well either because the wood was soaked. What  a fiasco. It finally did dry out enough to hold some paint, but it's not very comforting to know that the only thing holding out the elements is a little bit of putty. I don't really mind  spending the money on these repairs all that much. It's a good feeling to know that you've got something solid under you when the weather kicks up and you're pounding into for mile after mile. In a few more years, if I can keep up with the repairs, most of the wood above the waterline will have been replaced. That doesn't mean that something else won't need fixed though, heaven's no! One of these days, I'll be done fishing and hopefully someone else will look upon her and decide they're up to the challenge. Of course I'll only get a fraction of what I've got invested in her, but the memories will be worth a fortune.

4 comments:

  1. Well, at least you've enjoyed her! ;)

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  2. Yes, I have, but I've also cursed the day I bought it on occasion too. When they work right, there isn't anything better than to be on the water on a nice day pulling fish. When somethings broken down, all I see is dollar signs and frustration.

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  3. Don't sell her, the boys would die!
    Liz

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  4. I know, but one of these days I'm going to be too old to keep working on the old gal, and it's something that you can't take care of from a distance. I may need the money that I could get from the sale to live on too. We'll just have to cross that bridge when we get there.

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