The article has been automatically translated into English by Google Translate from Russian and has not been edited.
Переклад цього матеріалу українською мовою з російської було автоматично здійснено сервісом Google Translate, без подальшого редагування тексту.
Bu məqalə Google Translate servisi vasitəsi ilə avtomatik olaraq rus dilindən azərbaycan dilinə tərcümə olunmuşdur. Bundan sonra mətn redaktə edilməmişdir.

How I washed the yachts in California, and how it ended


The season in the Santa Cruz Yacht Club lasts from summer to winter solstice. Once a week, on Wednesdays, yachtsmen go to the Monterey Bay for a regatta. You can easily get on board, putting the captain half a dozen beers. The owner strictly ensures that no one with black soles gets on board - the white fiberglass will be white, no offense. On board is going to the company of all stripes - blatant men in vests and old baseball caps, dry women, as if from a herbarium. Half of the bottle in the hands, someone dives down, and from there comes a hiss of flying traffic jams.

We get out of the harbor, to the sound of diesels. A couple of dozen yachts and catamarans pour out into the ocean, past the Walton Lighthouse, like from the neck of a bottle. The wind is fresh today, we are going side-hauled, towards the pier, two miles to the north. Every ten minutes, when changing tack, the skipper yells: "Tacking!" - and the whole company bends down so as not to get hit in the skull.

A geek rushes over our heads and, firing a sail, freezes in the opposite position, the crew crawls to the other side to counterbalance. The yacht almost falls on board, I stand, resting on a wooden side, almost vertically, water rushes under me.

Photo © Kolya Sulima

At the Santa Cruz Pier is always full of people, down on wooden bars, a colony of sea lions. There they are apparently invisible, giant males have such ligaments that angry cries can be heard in the center of the city. I can see their suede backs, on a wooden patch they lie in bulk, like boiled sausages on a tray.

From the pier, the Mexes with fishing rods are waving to us and the children scream enthusiastically. The catamaran is rushing, it seems that its sail is about to burst from the strain, the blue silhouette of a man spinning a winch is visible. From there we are whistling and waving. We cool down on the opposite course, the air is full of spray. Downstairs, someone uncertainly comes out of the latrine, holding the folding table, someone from the deck drops the smartphone directly into the bag of trash.

Photo © Kolya Sulima

It is much easier to go in the wind, the bottlekeeper is shoved into the hands of the skipper, he spreads his eyebrows. On both sides, at the throat of the bay, the giant scattered concrete breakwaters, similar to molecular models. The skipper starts up the engine, handles crack, sails die. Persons are burning from the wind and the sun, worth the clatter of empty bottles.

On the occasion of the regatta in the yacht club, drinks are ranked on the top five, and yachtsmen eat up a string of hummus and chips. Above the bar the full length of the wall hang standards yacht clubs. The familiar bar hubbub begins: if we speak a little louder, in ten minutes no one will hear anyone in the roar.

Once I spent the night on a friend's yacht. I lay in the very center of the darkness, water smacked around me, bird's moans and frog's rattle came from the shore. The current nailed my kayak to the boat on the long end, and he began to slowly knock on the side like a stray dog.

In the morning I decided - here it is, my love. Yachts.


The first washer bought on the Amazon was rubbish — when I collected it and turned on the water, it flowed in three places at once. Gasket is no good. I spat and sent the car wash back to the Amazonian break. The second time, I was smarter and bought a “carcher”, twice as expensive as the first, cursing myself for the stingy thing that cost me a week.

"Carher" was not perfect, but coped. I also needed: a liquid detergent for washing the deck, a paste against the black stripes from the soles, a fiberglass cleaner, a Friend of the Bartender abrasive emulsion, a carpet cleaner, PVC shampoo and a galley degreaser. Clear vinyl protection and vinegar based glass spray. Telescopic brush, small hand brush, navy mop, vacuum cleaner and ten-meter hose. Adapter for 25 amp for marinas, for a wild price of fifty dollars.

I sat and pondered: how to move this belongings from the car to the pier? I was looking for trolleys online, but I came across or look like monster tanks for three hundred dollars, or Chinese noobs for products that last two weeks. In the end, I bought a barrel of leatherette for cleaning the foliage: it was shaped like a hat-cylinder, it could hold almost everything and it had handles. I filled it up to the top and walked to the pier, staggering like a convict in a mine.

The first woman was called "Santana-22", I will never forget her. “This is Uncle Santana,” said Brett, “he asked to be washed, but my hands will never reach.” After a couple of hours, I realized why.

Uncle was a gultam and treated the yacht like a pig. Apparently, the bristles did not touch her for five years, not to mention the polish - 22 feet of dirt, mold and fungi. The gelcoat wax came off completely, the deck was overgrown with the smallest algae of light green color. In the corner, near the scupper, a dead swimming beetle, the size of a baby's fist, lay upside down.

Photo Marine Products

For eight hours, I resurrected Santana. At first, I drated it with a brush with liquid soap until I realized that it was not helping. Then I took the Friend of the Bartender, and rubbed them the worst pieces by hand, standing on all fours. The rust driers removed the fiberglass cleaner well, but it was so powerful that it left light spots in contrast with the rest of the deck — so the battle could be endless, and it also had to be postponed.

I cleaned the scuppers so that they would drain the water again, clean the rust on the standing rigging and wash it, wash it, wash it. Towards dusk, I was standing on the deck with my trembling knees, holding a mop and a bucket with a burst handle. My pants were smeared with chemicals and mold.

That day I learned what a “sailor's walk” is - remember Captain Blood? This is when you go ashore, and the vestibular apparatus thinks that you are still on a shaky deck.

Until late at night I was wobbling, as if slightly contused. In the bay of Santa Cruz - yacht parking for a thousand places. The audience there is very different. Aunts in kayaks, with scared spitz on their knees, near the port refueling man wipes a solarium with a napkin from the board of his beloved boat. I bet that he washed his asses more hasty to his children.

Pensioners walking Labradors, leaving the polished ships a length of fifteen meters. Poorly dressed men who look like burnt crackers live on board to not pay the rent. At the bay itself, at anchor, there are ships of oceanic homeless people - a tribe of people without an address. So you can live for nothing, but water and food will have to carry on board yourself.

In addition, you can drain the latrines only five miles from the coast and, God forbid, the coastal patrol will catch you somewhere closer! Not everyone can enter the harbor world. In order to get a place in the parking lot like Santa Cruz, outsiders prove loyalty for years: they pay fees on time, clean the yacht and the pier, report on incidents - and all in order to find an envelope from the port manager once in the box with permission to stay.

Deciding to wash the boats, I started a Facebook account and email, and a friend drew me a blue and yellow logo. For three months I roamed the harbors of Santa Cruz, Moss Landing, Monterey and Half Moon Bay, hanging posters and stuffing business cards under the windshield wipers. I washed all the boats of the university yacht club for free, even the tiny pelvis "quartz" - for recommendations.

He stood with a poster about unprecedented discounts, but it became interesting only to a couple of compassionate pensioners who never called. But they called me from the port director’s office and said that people are complaining that my business cards are sticking to the glass and it’s impossible to tear them off. It was the last straw.

I quit washing the boats and started writing.

Kolya Sulima

Blog printed with permission Author.

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