14th Sep, 2012

Classic Boat Show 2012

We had basically decided not to to enter the ship into the Victoria Classic Boat show this year despite the wonderful volunteer effort that Maida arranged through the ‘Swab the Deck’ event on FaceBook. Fifteen or Twenty people came down to North Star and worked away on her all day and by sunset she was gleaming under a new coat of paint and with her foretopgallant and royal yards on the dock, scraped down and the old sail cut away for use as a pattern.

The Thursday of the boat show arrived and we had just had our first cup of tea when the phone rang. A friend who wants to stay anonymous called and said that he and another friend wanted the ship in the show and that they were going to pay the entry fee ($155). We declined but were very touched by the gesture. The phone rang again and a second request was made by a different friend. We agreed to go.

We singled up the lines, did an engine check, pushed the start button and click. click.click. Dead battery. I tried a few old tricks and still no go. ¬†A friend on the dock, Paulene, loaned us her battery which came with the claim that it was fully charged. Nope. We were starting to get the message that we were not meant to go. Bernie from the Alaskan boat came over with an extra long set of jumper cables. Another friend came over with his outboard running. The cables weren’t long enough so I bent them on to an old pair that we had. Nothing. After he left I realised that our cable end had come off. Had I seen it earlier it would have fired. Having given it the old college try we called the original friends and admitted defeat. Time for a second cup of tea.

The phone rang. ‘Get a tow-line ready. We’re coming to get you!’ These guys were really hard to say no to. A few minutes later Len showed up and started casting off our lines. No tow boat in sight. ‘We’ll just walk her down and then hook on when they get here,’ he said. I looked at all of my neighbours’ boats and knew just how popular we would be when I explained to them that they we had cast off with no power and bumped into them. Luckily the tow arrived – a small skiff with two good boat handlers. Stella was thrilled since they were standing right at her face level and with their hands busy she could dole out lots of kisses.

Once alongside it felt like we were on vacation for the first time in a long time. A change of scenery was just what the doctor ordered. About 10,000 or more people visited the ship and show over the next few days and we handed out hundreds of fliers about the book. Many people were enthusiastic about it. We could have sold hundreds on the spot had it been printed on time (that’s another story).

Our plan had been to purchase another two batteries and use them to get back to our dock but one of our neighbours, Dave, lugged over a huge boosting system to supercharge Paulene’s dead battery on leaving day. Then Dennis and Linda, our old neighbours from the Coast Hotel came by and offered us an old, fully charged battery. This showed up by dinghy the following day.

On the night before we were to cast off I hooked up D and L’s battery. It certainly was full of juice and it just about started Thumper. Then it started to die and Sheila told me that something didn’t smell right. I checked the engine room and the negative post had melted right off the battery!

Despite all of the kindness’s we were stuck again and didn’t want to invest in more batteries of they were going to melt. Maybe the old battery was deficient? Maybe it was the starter? Or a clogged line?

In the end, for some well deserved beer, we got another tow back to the dock and were met by Denise and Tim – who was sporting a North Star shirt. It had been a great weekend. The ship received numerous compliments. The book sounded as though it was going to be well received and we had a lot of fun.

Thank you to all of the people from the ‘Deck Swabbers’ to all of the other generous ones.