It’s hard to feel like a boat is yours when it’s still named after someone you’ve never met.
So it was a time for a much-anticipated exorcism of sorts, a small but symbolically important event. It was time to officially get rid of Iola Anne.
No holy water or priest was required, just a tin of acetone, rags, a heat gun and some 600-grit wet/dry sandpaper. The homeport, painted on, came off easily with a little sanding and water: first the CA, then SAN DIEGO. Excitedly, we moved on to the boat name. Marty took the first crack at it, perching on a ladder and slowly moving the heat gun over the “I”. He peeled it off and whooped.
“Awesome! It came off easily,” he yelled down to me.
Then it was my turn. I heated each letter and peeled them off one by one—O, then L, then A, and on to the second name until bit by bit, the transom was bare. It was an empty slate, ready for rechristening as Three Sheets. Buh bye, Iola Anne. We gathered up the navy blue bits of her plastic name and stuck them in a Ziploc bag, to be burned later at a renaming party as a symbolic ushering out of the old and the start of a new chapter.
Besides, we don’t want to piss off Neptune. It occurred to us that our ill-fated cruise in Mexico might have been jinxed by us bringing aboard our Coast Guard documentation with the new boat name while the boat still carried the old moniker. Apparently the big guy under the keel doesn’t appreciate being confused about a boat’s proper name. Suitably chastened, we’re making sure we follow all the required steps in denaming and renaming the boat.
But before we can do that, the boat needs to go back in the water. It’s scheduled to splash tomorrow, so we spent all weekend toiling at the yard. Armed with a dental pick and needle-nosed pliers, I spent most of yesterday digging out rubbery, stubbornly clingy bedding compound while Marty installed a new bilge pump and rebuilt the raw water strainer.
Today was all about hold-diving and cleaning. While Marty worked on the mast, I emptied every hold in the boat and packed the contents into boxes, to be sorted through later at home.
I already knew the previous owners had stocked the holds with extra parts and equipment, but I didn’t realize they also bought pretty much every cleaning product ever known to man. There were stainless steel wipes. Fiberglass stain remover. Floor polish. Even starch (never know when you’re going to have to press a collar, I guess). The variety and quantity was mind-boggling.
After emptying the holds, which filled a dozen large boxes, I got down to the cleaning. Venturing into the forward head (the site of the Shitbomb Incident), I spotted something that struck fear into my heart: a cockroach behind the slatted wooden shower seat. As anyone who’s dealt with cockroaches knows, there is never just one.
But this Mexican visitor was fortunately dead, and if there were any more unwelcome guests lurking I’m pretty sure I would’ve found them. Because I cleaned to a degree that would have impressed Howard Hughes. Even for a detail freak like me, it was extreme. I wiped holds down to the bottom. I scrubbed crevices and corners with an old toothbrush. I cleaned everything but the decks, figuring they’d get dirty tomorrow as the last bits of pre-launch work are done.
We wrapped up the day as the sun went down, exhausted. I’d schlepped a dozen boxes up to the cockpit and made countless trips up and down the ladder to the ground. My neck hurts from staring down at chainplate bedding most of yesterday, and a yellow bruise is blooming on the side of my hand. I feel like I just finished an all-day workout—or got hit by a truck.
Still, we’re excited. Three Sheets is finally starting to feel like ours.