Thursday, May 28, 2015


I don't believe in blogging just to fulfill a weekly quota. Obvious because I haven't posted anything since last fall. But, really, does anyone need a report on how much time I spent practicing on the rowing machine. Did anyone need a weekly weather report as I waited and waited for it to get warm enough for coats of epoxy to cure.

Just as the weather was getting cold last fall, I put a coat of paint on the outside of the boat. I was determined to get the paint done so that as soon as spring came, I could get the boat out on the water and start practicing. The paint that I chose has the name-brand "Perfection." It's a super-gloss paint. Really gorgeous and artificial looking. I want the outside of the boat to offer a stark contrast to the inside with its wood-grain and thousands and thousands of handwritten words.

"Perfection" is an incredibly difficult paint. It needs a dust-free environment and a careful percent of thinner added in proportions effected by ambient temperature. The first coat was a failure. The paint becomes less viscous before it hardens. This characteristic is called "self-leveling." On my boat, it meant drips and droops everywhere. And sanding them off meant fully cured paint. And curing took forever because of the cold. And then it was too cold for the next coat to cure, so I called it a year.

Getting that coat off took two weeks, and then I decided that I should re-epoxy the boats rail. And I got the ratio wrong mixing that. And fixing that error took two weeks. Frustrating to experience and boring to write about. 

And after a slightly better but still imperfect coat of paint, followed by another thorough sanding (3 days), it dawned on me that I can continue working on this paint in the fall. I just needed to get the boat water-worthy. So for the past three weeks I've been focused on getting the boat ready and not worrying about imperfections that can be fixed later.

Multi-tasking is no way to live. I've been building this boat, training, making drawings for a solo show that opens in September, developing a print project for a non-profit, and getting ready to move to Texas for an 11 month residency. So, yes, weekly ruminations about my training successes and failures has seemed gratuitous in the abstract.

Meanwhile, I have also been working on getting people to help me on the day of my row and on getting power-boats to follow me as support. I had one 20' whaler signed on. So really, everything else was just making this perfect.

But things are far from perfect. The boats that I wanted to rent for the day can not be rented. The rental company just sold the boats I wanted to rent (because of insurace hikes), and they told me that no one will rent to me to go across Buzzards Bay because of liability. And today, I found out that the 20' whaler has also dropped out, worried about insurance. Basically, I have to rely on private volunteers who own boats -- and I have no leads as of now.

I've been telling people that I want to row across Buzzards Bay on July 10th. The tides are right on that day. But it's only six weeks away and I have no boats. 

If I don't find any leads on volunteer-boats soon, I will have to come up with alternative plans. I have no desire to pull a Bas Jan Ader and go out to sea alone.

"Perfection" The brand that tempts fate.

This is were my boat was waiting all winter for the thaw.