Friday, April 3, 2009

Centerboard illumination

In a day of slow and misting rain, fogged windows and damp sawdust carpeting the floor, a lone boatbuilder stood at his workbench and pondered the pieces of steel and wood before him.

A bird sang; a man died; a child was born; a star exploded in the silent tomblike darkness of space.

He reached forward. Bolt and tube; rubber ring; washer and nut. And the solution jolted him with a sudden icy chill.

The tube IS the pivot. It turns inside the board, or inside the well sides, or both; it doesn't matter. And the trick is that it is cut exactly flush with the outer surfaces of the well sides. There is bound to be some leakage around the edges of this pivot ... so you compress a rubber ring and steel washer around the top of the tube. How to compress these? With a bolt through the tube.

The bolt is just there to hold the O-ring and washers in place. Those, in turn, are only there to seal out the leaks around the pivot. And pivot must be a hollow tube so the bolt can extend through it and tighten the washers on each side.

Best of all, because the tube takes the weight, the bolt-washers arrangement can be removed and modified / repaired / slathered with grease without dropping the 80-pound centerboard. RESULT!

Meanwhile I have reached a similar problem with the book. It's embarrassing how unexpected this was, but I've stumbled into a scene that is turning out to be the pivotal emotional moment of the whole thing: an argument between two characters, each of whom is right. They face a bad choice where there is no right answer.

Ha ha, just the sort of thing that makes stories interesting! I wonder what they'll do next. Thank goodness I'm not in either of their positions; I just flutter my hands in the background and act worried.

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