Friday, March 31
The show manager, Jorgen, had been quite clear. “Your vessel will be accepted into the Pacific Boat Show marina before noon on Tuesday, but after that the basin will be closed.” A reasonable enough requirement as I had known about it since the previous January.
But it was now the Friday before that Tuesday, and I had a peculiarly boat-refit kind of problem. After three months of seven-day work weeks, Mo was still in pieces.
Specifically, the mast remained on its cradle as the guys at KKMI in Richmond signed off for the weekend. The new spreaders, custom made by a shop in Sweden, still had not arrived.
Actually, they had arrived the week before as the punctual Swedes said they would. But when I opened the package, I found two sets of gleaming, precisely made, swept back spreaders. Never in her 25 years has Mo worn swept back spreaders.
“We have built them exactly to the specifications we have on file for the boat,” said the officious voice at the other end of the phone. Silence. I watched Ralf, the boss at KKMI’s chandlery. He tipped his head back, rolled his eyes, inhaled, and then, as though just coming up from a deep meditation, softly said, “But Viktor, we shipped to you at our expense the boat’s original, decidedly not swept spreaders, and we only asked that you recreate those.”
Monday, April 3
I had been told that “as a favor to the customer” the shop in Sweden would “cease all other production” and remake the correct spreaders for Mo, which would be airlifted over the weekend for a delivery at 10 AM on Monday. And, as if on queue, at 10 AM the yard gate opened, a UPS truck squeezed through, and out from it flowed two sets of gleaming, precisely-made, non-swept spreaders.
By 2 PM, the mast swayed up and then settled into its step. By 4 PM, the rig was tuned well enough. By sundown, I’d hanked the main to its track.
Tuesday, April 4
I returned early in the morning for the third and final scrub of Mo’s below decks (it is amazing how dirty a boat in build can become). I rigged the running backs, bent on the genoas, raised the flags; started the engine, let go the lines, and by 11 AM on Tuesday, Mo arrived at the Pacific Boat Show. Jorgen looked pleased. “Congratulations,” he said, “this year you are not the last boat in.”
“But Jorgen, this is my first boat show!” I protested.
“Ah yes, in 2019 we will make sure you have another opportunity to be late.”
My expectations were muted by inexperience. How popular could a tractor-of-a-boat be at a boat show featuring so many bright and shinies? But right away Mo drew lookers and a great number of tappers–people who sidled close to surreptitiously wrap the hull with their knuckles, a personal proof to unbelieving Americans that, yes, floating objects can be made of metal.
By Saturday, people were climbing aboard in threes and fives. Tony Gooch, who had been kind enough to fly down from Victoria “for the fun of it,” and to add gravitas to what I feared would otherwise appear but a crazy project, had been talking so much he’d lost his voice. My wife came to join the ranks of other boat docents, Mike Dodson, Eric Moe, Melissa and Gerd Marrgraff, and still we couldn’t talk to everyone.
We estimate that 2,000 boating enthusiasts stopped to inspect Mo and her Figure 8-ers over the show’s four days.
Two weeks later I am still amazed and more than a little fatigued by the experience.
Beyond the privilege of having Mo on display, I also had the opportunity to present on the Figure 8, its background and challenges. Click on the photo to see the Facebook Live stream. (Thank you to Joanna for filming and to Randy Leasure for the below snap and several others.)