I am sinking…

OK, so I have been sinking for the past three years – albeit very slowly. But this morning, the automatic bilge pump started coming on every fifteen minutes…

I wrote that on February 24th.

There was a bit more to it but not enough for a blog post. The reason it never got finished was because events overtook the narrative. I got hauled out – in a hurry. The engineer came and sucked his teeth over the stern tube (it was protruding out the back of the keel and looked, frankly, rather vulgar.)

This was a big job. The shaft would have to come out – which meant removing the engine.

“Availability” was the keyword. “Two months” was mentioned. I decided the whole sorry story could wait until I was back in the water.

So here’s the spoiler: The 48-year-old stern tube was cracked – helped along by the new cutlass bearing being metric while the prop shaft was imperial.

As you can tell, it’s a story which might become rather dull in the telling. On the other hand, those people who heard instalments as it unfolded were as captivated as fans of The Archers the morning after Matt’s hit-and-run.

“What’s the latest?” people kept asking over the phone.

Meanwhile, the engineer’s bill is going up and up – and the longer I’m stuck here, the higher the boatyard charges to match it.

It was just as I was thinking this and wondering whether I could put off re-galvanizing the anchor chain – while checking Amazon four times a day in case somebody had bought another book – that a possible solution began to emerge.

I had responded to a post on a sailing Facebook group which criticised YouTubers for expecting other people to finance their cruising. Getting involved in a bit of Facebook controversy is always a good way to promote the blog, so I threw in my pennyworth and said the Patreon lifestyle seemed to me like begging. For added sour grapes, I happened to mention all those videos of beautiful young people wearing not many clothes.

This, in turn, started the sort of argument you get from bringing up religion, guns and anchors.

Patreon is the purest form of capitalism, said The Community: If you can give enough people what they want, you can have everything you want. Patreon is The Marketplace in action: The “product” being entertainment – of course people should be paid for it.

I deleted my comment. I don’t need to be a Facebook pariah.

But it got me thinking. Maybe I should have a Patreon account. I could provide entertainment surely. Not videos of myself in my skimpies, perhaps; but if people really were interested in the day by day progress of the leak, then maybe they would like to know why the cabin is full of smoke or how a reader came to be so disappointed at discovering I was not a “bumbling naive weekend sailor” after all.

It could be a sort of diary. There’s always something happening. You just have to write about it in an entertaining way. I could do that.

Let’s say I had to write something now. What would I write about? Well, last night, we had the Rival Owners Association Zoom call. Everyone was discussing their plans for the summer, and I started talking about the sort of stuff I wouldn’t dream of putting out on the blog until after I’d done it – and yet I didn’t mind sharing it with a bunch of chums on a Zoom call. So why not confide in a select band of sympathetic patrons?

So here’s the question: If I did keep a diary, writing at least once a week, a catalogue of the minutiae of an old man’s floating (or sinking) lifestyle, would people want to read it?

Let me know your comments. If it appears the demand is there, I’ll see what I can do to meet it.




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