The next day Rich restocked The Odyssey. It stood ready to leave on immediate notice. Salty stayed with the Nelson’s and although invited Rich preferred his own bunk on The Odyssey.
Rich ate breakfast on the boat and George gave him a ride to the Nelson’s. Salty sat on the front porch at a card table. Drawings and several stenographer pads laid on the table along with pencils, a ruler, and protractor.
Rich stepped on the porch without Salty’s notice. Rich sat at a chair at the table.
“Weren’t you supposed to sail Jacktar to Antigua today?” Rich said.
“That has to wait. I’m designing a boat,” Salty said without looking up. “More accurately, redesigning a boat.”
“One is already available?” Rich said.
“Sort of,” Salty said and placed his pencil aside. “After the war the Royal Navy gave a torpedo boat to Barbuda to be used for rescues. After it was given the Navy needed the motor from it. So they purchased the motor and removed it. The boat, useless, was purchased by a local fisherman and with great effort dry docked it just off shore not far from The Odyssey. We passed it on the way here, hidden by the trees. The fisherman had the good sense to give it a good coat of paint, but have done nothing beyond that.”
“So that’s going to be the ferry?” Rich said. “That’s great, you already have a hull at least.”
“Yes,” Salty said, “but it has to be modified considerably. In its present condition with adding the modifications it sits too high in the water and vulnerable to capsulizing. The hull will have to be adapted and widened a foot or two.”
“Wouldn’t it just be better to start from scratch?” Rich said.
“It all comes down to materials, tools, and time” Salty said. “It might take six months or maybe even a year to assemble what is needed. Right now I think we have all we need.”
“If anybody would know it would be you,” Rich said.
“Pull your chair around here and let be show you what we’re going to do,” Salty said.
Rich scooted the chair closer to Salty and he unrolled a large piece of drawing paper.
“This is it,” Salty said pointing on the draft. “60 feet stern and beam 12. We can drive a car on it. Here we can place cargo and we will build a passenger cabin that will seat 20. The pilothouse will be above the cabin.”
“What about an engine?” Rich said.
“It seems like the Royal Navy is just as irresponsible with money as the U.S. After removing the engine and placing it in the boat that needed one They gave the new one to the local government who had no use for it. So it was stored. Patrick purchased it yesterday for the price of scrap.”
“What do you need me to do?” Rich said.
“I don’t know,” Salty said. “So many from Patrick’s family has come forward to help now there is too much help. Sibling rivalrys have already started on who is going to do the most work.”
“You’re here a little more than a couple days and you’ve started a local uprising,” Rich quipped. “You better leave before this spreads to other islands. Next thing you know it will be you they’re after.”
“I need an assistant,” Salty said.
“That really means you need somebody to fix blame and yell out,” Rich said.
“Sure,” Salty said, “but I want to show you about boats from the inside. What I teach may be useful some day. I’ve always said what has taken me a lifetime to learn can be taught in a month.”
“Sounds good to me,” Rich said. “Where do I start?”
“Let’s start by working out a problem,” Salty said. “We are changing nearly all the dynamics of the vessel. We must find out how to make sure it will be stable and trim. Let’s start with centers of gravity.”
They worked on through the day only stopping for a brief lunch and a couple of coffees served by Penelope. Frederick spent the day rounding up materials and tools. Patrick did not arrive home from sailing Jacktar to Antigua and back until supper.