Being isolated in a limited space over a long period of time can often lead to feelings of claustrophobia, restlessness, irritability, and yes, even Madness! This condition is commonly known as "Cabin Fever".
Jack Nicholson notably depicts this affliction in the 1980 Stanley Kubrick film, "The Shining". In the film, Nicholson portrays Jack Torrance an unemployed teacher/writer who takes a job as a caretaker at an isolated hotel which is closed for the winter. Torrance pursues this position specifically for the seclusion in hopes that it could cure his writer's block. -go figure-
Over the course of his stay, the isolation starts to take its toll and Jack transforms from an aspiring writer to an ax wielding maniac!
I'll stop here for those of you who haven't seen the film but if you do decide to watch it... leave a light on.
O.K., so why are we talking about Cabin Fever anyway? What could this possibly have to do with the Curious Sailor fixing his boat? Stick with me and I'll explain...
Having repaired most of the major damage on the outside of the sailboat it was time for me to start working in the cabin. The way I see it, the cabin makes up for half of the fun of sailing. It's a safe place to escape from the elements or comfy place to simply sit back and relax or take a nap. A home away from home if you will.
Since this is my "learn to sail" boat and not a live-aboard I do not anticipate a whole lot of cabin time when out on the water but I would still like to have a nice cabin to retreat to when out for the day or a weekend. With that said, I figured Cabin Fever would never be an issue for me but I couldn't have been more mistaken!
Without ever having left the front yard I got the fever! Just like they describe it too... Feelings of claustrophobia, restlessness, irritability, and yes, even Madness!
Well O.K., the madness may be a slight exaggeration but I was definitely going nuts!
I quickly realized that the damage on the inside was just as extensive as it was on the outside. In fact, quite a bit more and I would have to spend a significant amount of time in a cramped space just to make her seaworthy again.
In the movie Jack Torrance voluntarily isolated himself in the Overlook Hotel which in my opinion, was actually kind of spacious.
After moving in to the hotel it only took several weeks for the fever to completely consume Jack's mind and I couldn't help but wonder how long it would have taken if he moved in to my sailboat cabin instead. Granted, Jack's isolation space was riddled with evil spirits and he was also cooped up with a weird little kid who had an imaginary friend living in his mouth- but still... I mean come on... Look at the difference between his space and mine!
Somehow when I looked inside this cabin for the first time, I thought to myself, "Ahh, that's not so bad. I could fix this in no time..."
Some of my closest friends have suggested that I had the "Madness" long before I got the Cabin Fever, but that's still up for debate.
Now, before I could even think about where I was going to start with respect to rebuilding this cabin, I found that I was going to have to do some groundskeeping first. Yes, that's not a typo, I said groundskeeping...
I had to rake the leaves....
And harvest the mushrooms...
That really is a mushroom growing out of the stringer. This is just an example of how neglected this poor boat really was. Since the previous owner had allowed the boat to fill with rainwater, the saturated wood turned into a peat like substance fertile enough to grow mushrooms...
Talk about madness!
O.K., once I cleared the grounds it was time to commence with a controlled demolition.
Even though I was suffering from Cabin Fever I opted NOT to use Jack's repair techniques.
Instead I went with this:
Which in turn gave me this:
Now for those of you who saw the movie, you may remember that really long spooky hallway where the kid would ride his big wheel.
Well I had two of these hallways to contend with one on the starboard, and one on the port side.
Spooky right? I really did not want to go down these hallways and not just because they're very dark and scary. The clearance is only about 10 to 12 inches so it's an extremely tight area to work in- especially with tools and materials. Also, don't forget that this work is taking place in sunny South Florida during the summer months so it's blistering hot! What choice did I have though? I made a commitment to restore this little boat even if it meant that I would have to risk a serious bout of Cabin Fever. She was depending on me to bring her back to life and to rid her of all her ghosts.
So, for those of you who were wondering where I was going with my Cabin Fever analogy perhaps you have a better understanding now. Claustrophobia was immediate, since I could not even stand up in this little cabin. Feelings of isolation quickly followed because no matter how hard I tried I could not convince anyone to give me a helping hand in this dark scary place. Restlessness, set in fairly quickly as the demolition and clean up process were painstakingly slow and tedious. The intensifying heat fueled the irritability.
The Madness... speaks for itself...