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Cruising Life through the Eyes of Tom Neale

Every little thing’s not gonna be all right

All is well when everything on a boat is in working order.I’ve been amazed over the years by boat problems caused by the tiniest of things. I know about the big things — the bottom falling out, the engine quitting in the middle of the inlet, the mast coming down. We know these things are happening when they do, and we know it’s going to be a big deal. In a way, it’s less frightening. “Oh, well, my oil pan just dropped out of my engine.”

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To sink or not to sink: Expect the unexpected

Tom NealeHas your boat sunk yet? Fortunately, none of mine have. I did have one boat that was sunk when I got it and which, despite my best efforts, never floated. It was an old rotten three-log fishing boat that washed up in a storm and, after my best efforts, washed away in another storm. So that doesn’t count.

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Phone calls in the islands: goats, pigs and ‘foxes’

Can you hear me now? Making a routine business call used to present some interesting challenges.Standing in the island’s only telephone booth back in the day and making an overseas call didn’t present the greatest atmosphere for conducting business. However, I was lucky to be in there because usually there was a line of frantic “cruisers” outside trying to find out why their credit cards were no longer working or what to do with their latest stock deal turned sour or “Whaddaya mean, alimony?”

Once your turn came, you winced when the guy before you closed the door as he exited.

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My fascination with shipwrecks

The New Orleans survived a perilous maiden voyage in 1811, only to sink in an accident later.Shipwrecks make good stories about bad things. And they don’t just happen to others. They can happen to any of us. With most shipwrecks there’s a lesson to be learned. In some, the only lesson is that the sea is master or that stuff happens no matter how hard you try to keep it from happening. With others, it’s that there are too many people on the water that shouldn’t be there. And then there are plenty in between.

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5200 and my tight bond with boat work

Tom has a love-hate relationship with 3M 5200 adhesive.The day Mel got 3M 5200 in her hair wasn’t a good day. Bad hair day, yes, but I’m not talking about bad hair days. I’m talking about bad boating days, the kind that have nothing to do with the weather or even paying the boat bills. They’re what almost always happens when you take on any boat job to make things “better.”

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