Bit­ter­sweet feel­ings arise at the cul­mi­na­tion of a long yet re­ward­ing re­fit. But, then again, does a re­fit ever re­ally end?

Mixed feel­ings arise at the con­clu­sion of the two-year re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of the Bet­tyJaneII.

Power & Motor Yacht - - IN THIS ISSUE - By Capt. Bill Pike

Lately I’ve been feel­ing a tad be­mused. On the one hand, I’m glad to be sniff­ing the con­clu­sion of my lengthy re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of the Betty Jane II, a project that has cost me dearly in many ways. Heck, for al­most two years now I’ve spent vir­tu­ally ev­ery week­end work­ing on my gor­geous, 30-yearold Cape Dory 28 Fly­bridge, re­plac­ing all her old sys­tems with new, and spruc­ing up her teaky in­te­rior. And, as you might imag­ine, such a nose-to-the-grind­stone regime has slowly but surely taken its toll—on my re­la­tion­ships (es­pe­cially the pri­mary one, with my sig­nif­i­cant other), my work ethic (which has fal­tered of late, if ever so slightly) and my bank ac­count (which has also fal­tered, but not so slightly). I’d be crazy not to ap­plaud the end of such an ex­trav­a­ganza, right?

But here’s the deal. While I cer­tainly wel­come the prospect of fi­nally pol­ish­ing the project off and be­ing able to re­ward my wife, my friends and my­self with some real, wa­ter­borne re­lax­ation on the week­ends, I si­mul­ta­ne­ously feel just a tad sad about the con­clu­sion of it all, a lit­tle nos­tal­gic even. And what’s more, the nos­tal­gia seems to per­co­late up from a sur­pris­ingly odd and un­ex­pected quar­ter.

The fol­low­ing two tales may help ex­plain. The first one dates back to the very be­gin­ning, when I had the bright idea of us­ing gi­ant plas­tic garbage bags to con­tain all the com­po­nents of Betty’s old san­i­tary sys­tem as I re­moved it, the point be­ing to care­fully avoid con­tam­i­na­tion of my hands, feet and torso with an­cient, resid­ual ef­flu­ent. Did this stroke of ge­nius ac­tu­ally work? Lord, no—in fact, it mor­phed into one of the most sor­did, dis­gust­ing bathing jam­borees ever to be­smirch a boat­yard. But get this. When I look back upon this grue­some episode to­day, I get fond amuse­ment, not horror. Then there’s the time, much fur­ther on, when I was in­stalling

Betty’s new air-con­di­tion­ing duct­work; an en­deavor that en­tailed, at one dicey junc­ture, en­larg­ing an ex­ist­ing cir­cu­lar hole at the rear of a deep, nar­row locker us­ing a pow­er­ful, right-an­gle elec­tric drill turn­ing a mon­ster six-inch hole saw. Drama en­sued, I can tell you. I mean, when I pulled the trig­ger on that high-octane drill and that gi­ant hole saw grabbed hold, my en­tire body, which was squeezed into the locker like a hot dog in a bun, at­tempted to ro­tate with all the oomph of an Air­bus 380 at take­off—thunk, YOW, thunk, YOW . . . bam!

When it was all over, I, of course, turned the ether blue with a ven­omous slew of re­marks that are not re­peat­able here. But still and all—and weirdly enough—I now look back upon the af­fair with a faint smile, see­ing a halo of hu­mor around it, de­spite all the moolah I’ve since had to shell out on pricey chi­ro­prac­tors and mas­sage ther­a­pists.

See my point here? Yeah, I’m very happy about com­ing to the end of Betty’s re­hab—the project has de­manded a level of ongoing com­mit­ment that’s of­ten skirted the dark depths of lonely ob­ses­sion. But hey, at the same time, I look back upon the en­tire thing with good hu­mor and fond ap­pre­ci­a­tion. And what’s more, the stuff I en­joy re­call­ing the most is the stuff that, at the time, seemed to be flat-out, freakin’ de­plorable.

So, here’s my plan. Over the next few months, as I chug along our na­tion’s water­ways in the ol’ Betty Jane II, or maybe just kick back for a week­end in her cock­pit with a good book, I’m gonna be care­ful—I mean, re­ally care­ful—about us­ing my flair for sim­ple-minded good rid­dance to dis­miss the dif­fi­cul­ties that seem to arise. In­stead, I’m gonna try to en­joy ev­ery­thing, in the mo­ment, both good and bad.

And by the way, I’m re­ally not hall­mark­ing the end of an era at this point. Since I’ve de­voted the past two years to Betty’s sys­tems and in­te­rior al­most ex­clu­sively, I’ve still got lots of top­side chores to per­form, like fix­ing the stress cracks on her fore­deck, re­plac­ing the worn-out bed­ding com­pound un­der her stan­chion bases and paint­ing the … oh well, you get my drift!

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