Monday, April 20, 2009

The Bonnie J

This is a picture of my boat, the Bonnie J. It's not all that much to look at- just an old wooden boat built back in the fourties, just after world war two, I believe. When I went shopping for a bigger boat back in 1990, I knew that I didn't really want a wooden boat,but it's all I could afford. Every year at a minimum you have to scrape and paint it, and if that's all that needed done, I'd feel fortunate. There is always the need to go on the grid iron or haul it out to replace the zincs and re-paint the bottom. The zincs are softer than the other metals in the boat and are considered sacrificial. Because of all the different metals, even in a wood boat, there's an electrical current that surrounds the boat- kind of like a battery. I don't understand all the in's and out's about it, but the current will attack the metal in the boat. If you don't replace the zincs when they need it, the current will eat the prop and keel cooler and eventually the screws that hold the planks on, so you can't be slack in that department. The bottom paint is critical too. There is a wood loving parasite called a Torrido worm that will do a great deal of damage if he is allowed access to untreated wood. The barnacles and mussles and some sort of marine algae take over too. So it's always a chore to get the boat prepped for painting every year.
That's only part of the maintenence issue. Every two hundred hours I have to change the oil and filters, and several times a season I change the fuel filters. Then there is all the unexpected stuff with hydraulics and electrical and mechanical. I'm sure over the years I've spent much more on the boat than it's worth, but I have to know that when I'm out on the water I'm going to make it back home.
When I bought the Bonnie J she came with a little bit of history. From what I can gather, the boat was a legend at Yakobi Island. One of the original owners, a man named Bob Smith was an airline pilot and he was a pretty savvy guy. Yakobi Island is filled with pinacles and high spots, but if a guy can learn to navigate around them, he can really catch the king salmon. Well this fellow, Bob, figured out the drag and used to come in with some incredible catches . I wish that he'd left instructions when he sold the boat- I could really use them. So, as I've known all along, but have been reluctant to acknowledge, it's the captain who catches the fish, not the boat-bummer!

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