One hand needs to know what the other is doing?

Several old clamps (table by Jimmie Arkansas)

I managed to get out without having to call the fire rescue or screaming like a banshee for some help. I was worried that if rescue came they would cut a big hole in the boat to get me out. Perhaps I should start at the beginning…

Yesterday the replacement hose clamps arrived. 70 plus or minus shiny new 316 Skandvic hose clamps. Big ones, small ones and medium sized ones. All I had to do was find all the old ones, remove them and replace them. Sounds easy doesn’t it. They are all on a boat and hidden under floors, behind cupboards and stuff.

Why are there so many hoses? The purpose of a boat is to keep the water out. We buy a boat and then we drill holes in it for the rest of its life. Apparently we run hoses and more hoses to transport water and other stuff around the boat all at the risk of sinking said boat. Jeezuz Murphy…

A Scandvik 316 clamp. No holes to cut the hose and bevelled edges to avoid the same. Not cheap

The good part of this clamp job is that you see everywhere on the boat and find things you’ve been missing. Round one is to replace all the clamps on hoses that could sink or contribute to the sinking of Fracas.

I worked my way from the bow back through the engine room. It was 4:00 and time to quit. I decided to do one more before the end of the day. This was the least accessible of all the clamps on the boat. As it turns out they were also the best looking (least looking like needing replacement) on the entire boat. Access to these clamps is through a five inch access plate. I could easily get one hand in and managed to remove the old clamps.

Several times the tools in my hands would fall out and I would have to go fishing in the bilge with the most valuable tool on the boat. It is a flexible 30″ grabby claw thing. It has saved my bacon on more than one occasion. You should have two. At the very least you should put a string on the one you have…

The fast job to end the day was consuming the last of the day quickly. It was starting to get dark outside. The hard part was starting the thread on the clamps with one hand. Suddenly without any thought, planning or consideration my left hand dove through the hole and joined it’s cohort through the five inch round opening.

I managed to get the threads started on the first clamp. I tried to remove my hand to find that they would not come out. I tried several different strategies all leading to a lot of scrapes and cursing. I knew the most important thing was to not panic. Panic was also the easiest thing to do. Being a man of physics I knew that what went in easily should come out easily. I began to experiment with all sorts of contortions to get that sinister hand out.

I began to have visions of the fire rescue arriving and cutting large holes in the boat to pull me through the hole completely. I also envisioned being the daily stupid guy on the local news. No, not today.

I tried to remember how my left hand got into this mess. It was no help to me and my other hand was sticking up for the left. I managed to rotate my left hand 180 degrees and suddenly and not unlike shit through a goose my hand came out without even scraping the edge.

I scampered up on deck and took in several big gulps of fresh air. Free, I was free. The clamps were beckoning from below. Jeezuz, round two…


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