Monday, August 24, 2009

Saint Tony

Every once in a while a little ray of sun shine comes along in your life, not just a morning beam of light but a glorious and magical beam of light that permutates everything.
For us here on Xplore, that is dear "Saint Tony" (Antoine in French).
For the last six weeks as Audrey and I have been busy with a huge work list of tasks to get Xplore ready for this next summer season, Tony and his wife Celine have been here in Piriapolis with their yacht Shana.
Shana is a French design aluminum yacht of 14 meters which Tony and Celine built there in France and are currently doing their second circumnavigation.
Tony is a professional yacht builder who over his life has built seven yachts for himself; he just loves building yachts ! He obviously loves sailing them as well, as his first circumnavigation was for seven years and this one that they are doing may be around the same length, time will tell ?
When we met Tony and Celine they were making desions about whether they would stay here in Uruguay for a bit more time or move over to Argentina and lift their yacht out there for cleaning and painting.
Well a few days went by and Tony and I kept talking about projects and what we were all up to, so over a drink Tony informed me that he was bored; they had decided to stay here for a month more, but because his yacht was all in excellent shape and didn't need any repairs or maintenance, and that he would like to help us with our work list.
I said to him that I would have a think about some small projects that he may be able to assist with, and would let him know on Monday ... well that was six weeks ago.
At first I was a little bit reticent to ask someone else to help (because I don't like to impose, and secondly that we don't have the budget to pay someone) but Tony on the first day said to me when I told him that we didn't have much $$$$$ that he was just happy working away and keeping busy on a great boat without being paid.
The friendship and his total devotion to helping us get through the mountain of tasks has been amazing, Tony just keeps turning up for something new to do. During our time here, we have tackled a vast array of jobs, cutting new windows into the navigation deck house, fitting new lexan windows, a newly designed stove lock, forepeak hatch surround improvements, forward bulkhead trim, cabin bunk modifications, advice and help on rudder bearing re-fairing and the list goes on ...
Luckily we have been able to help them in a few very small ways in comparison to all of his help, but for me having someone else around me who is soooo "Boat Savvy" and motivated, this has also helped me to remain focused, fast and to methodically work through the tasks and projects at hand.
I know that their time now is limited here in Piriapolis, and now that spring is showing its signs then Tony, Celine and Shana will be moving on. For me I know that there has been a very kind, generous and hard working French man who's standards of work is the same as mine "Do it Right, Do it now, and Do it fast"
He has left a quality mark on Xplore, and that where ever we sail we will think warmly and fondly of Saint Tony.
Hopefully we may see them in the south this summer, but we may just be passing ships in the night; however if you every meet Tony and Celine on Shana give them a warm welcome and a glass of red wine (but don't give Tony any jobs that you KNOW are going to be a pain in the ass!).