One mast is better than none

Today (Thursday) dawned bright and clear. I would like to say crisp too, but it’s more a kind of hot sogginess in the air around these parts in the summer so my smartly pressed white linen suit crumples into a sweaty binbag the moment I step out of the door. Well, it would if I wore one, but I’m letting the side down and bum around in shorts and a tanktop like everyone else.

We’ve actually been very lucky with the weather this week. It rained every single day in June but so far July has been lovely and sunny with clear blue skies and just a few fluffy little white clouds drifting lazily overhead. Perfect beach weather but of course I’ve been far too busy for that as I’m well behind schedule now.

I’ve taken advantage of the good weather to repair all of Odyssey’s opening hatches and ports as at the moment they let in the slightest drizzle which doesn’t bode well for their resistance to Atlantic swells breaking over the deck. With four large hatches in the coachroof and 14 opening portlights in the cabin side this is quite a lot of work, and some of the portlights were on their last legs.

Luckily I found the manufacturer is still in business and keeps all the necessary spare parts in stock so I’ve managed to get hold of everything I need, including flyscreens for them all to keep out the mosquitos. Once I’m out at sea I hope not to see many of them, but I suppose flying fish could be a menace if they’re attracted to light and come leaping through my windows at night. That’s something we don’t often see in Clapham so I’d be most perturbed by it.

Another breakthrough came this morning when the mizzen mast was finally stepped (for the less technically-minded among you, this is the smaller mast at the back of the boat). The wind generator looks splendid perched up there spinning away, but all its efforts are wasted as I haven’t got round to connecting it up to the batteries yet. I’m not sure what happens to all the electricity it generates when it’s not plugged in, I suppose it just fizzles out into the air or sinks down into the bottom of the boat or something. I guess I’ll never know so it’s not worth worrying about.

As an interesting aside I spent yesterday afternoon in court. Don’t worry, dear reader, I’ve been behaving myself as ever, but was invited along by a friend to see his arraignment for a minor misdemeanour. Seeing the American legal system in action was a real insight into life here and proved to be just like Judge Judy, but also showed how strict the police are. For example, before the session started the local sheriff announced that everyone should pay good attention as if they filled in a form incorrectly or said the wrong thing they stood the chance of going to jail. He insisted he didn’t want to do this to anyone but didn’t sound at all convincing and I got the real impression it would make his day to fill all his jails if possible. Scary stuff!

The lawyers all lolled around chatting while the cases were being heard, and one guy was clearly surfing the net looking at pictures of sports cars, while another spent the whole time on his mobile. Those waiting to have their cases heard sat around in the courtroom reading the paper, eating sandwiches, and generally making themselves at home. And the judge didn’t even wear a wig! Not at all like my childhood memories of Rumpole Of The Bailey, but a fascinating experience nonetheless.

The excitement of seeing my newly-erected mast and helping the boys in the yard get it up all morning wore me out, so I went home and just lolled around the pool drinking beer all afternoon. I couldn’t even be bothered to walk the two blocks to the beach, that’s how lazy I am!

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