I love waking up on the boat. It feels special, like having waterfront property only better. I’m surrounded by water!
It’s a warm, slightly humid morning in Wickford, Rhode Island. The sun has been up for a good ten minutes now. I feel its radiant rays on my bare arms as I sit at the salon table. As usual, I’m awake before my wife. I like that; it’s a quiet time to sip coffee and be with my own thoughts. Today is my birthday, so naturally, my thoughts are of my life as a whole. Don’t worry dear reader, I won’t bore you with any of it, except to say that I consider it a good one. Sure, there were peaks and valleys, but none too high, and none too low. I’m not rich. I’m not poor. Just thankful for what I have, happy to be alive, and respectful of my position in the universe.
It’s late morning and I’m messing about the boat. There’s a guy in a small Boston Whaler slowly circling Ginger Lee.
He seems to be taking an interest in our vessel. After his third loop he drifts closer.
“What the heck is this dude doin’?” Finally, he gets within speaking distance.
“Hey. How are those diesels treating ya,” he says with a friendly smile.
“Wait a sec, how does he know I have diesels?” I say to myself. Old Trojans like Ginger Lee are all gas-powered. Very few people know about the conversion to Lehman 120’s. Just a few close friends, two guys at the marina where I put her up for the winter, and of course, the previous owner who actually installed them.
Oh duhhhh. I look at the tidy old skiff, the deadpan clean-shaven face, and the can of Coors on the seat. Of course!
“How’re ya doin’ Mister Skerry?” I say, trying to sound like I knew who he was all along. “What’re you doing in Wickford?”
“I live here,” he says. I was just taking a little ride and spotted this old Trojan. When I got closer I realized it used to mine.”
She looks great! Mind if I take few pictures? My kids will love it. We had some good times on this boat.”
As John circles the boat snapping pictures, I think about what a huge undertaking it must have been to do what he did: remove two Chrysler 318 gas engines, and replace them with two Lehman 120 diesels. These engines aren’t small or cheap; each one is the size of a large desk and a new one will run ya ’bout ten grand. Granted, since he’s a real working captain, and hangs around docks, boats and mariners all day long, he found a deal on the Lehmans, but the incredible amount of work needed to overhaul them, fit them in, hook them up to the transmissions, running gear and controls, just boggles my mind. This guy did what no one has ever done before. Ginger Lee is unique, the only twin Lehman powered Trojan in existence. He didn’t pay someone to do it; he did all the work himself.
“Hop in, I’ll show ya around,” he says.
Since I’m not driving, I grab a cold one, put it in a coozie, and proceed to climb into Johns old skiff.
“Hey what’re ya doin’? he said loudly, noticing my drink.
“Oh. Sorry,” I apologize and step back, thinking I’ve overstepped my bounds by bringing alcohol onto his boat.
“This is two beer ride!” he says.
“Ah. Okay then. Sorry man.” I pull another Bud out of the cooler and off we go.
It’s nice to be driven around. Our knowledgable “tour guide” showed us the whole beautiful area. We end up at his new boat: an awesome 12 meter Trojan with twin Caterpillar diesels.