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The Mandisa Chronicles

This incredible tale is the first of Mandisa's adventures with me. Please sit down while reading this; it may frighten you.

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2001/08/01Wherein Mandisa is Acquired and Moved to Mission Bay, San Diego
7/20/01, Buying a Big, Scary Boat
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We define big and scary as anything over 10 feet with a permanent keel, and Mandisa definitely meets this criteria. Mandisa is a Robert Perry-designed 30' Baba which is to me a monstrously large vessel.

Of course, the first thing one must do to own a big, scary boat is to buy a big, scary boat, which is in itself a big, scary process in which many people stand around with their palms out, waiting for you to, as I understand it, walk up to one and begin to drop one hundred dollar bills into their outstretched palm until he (or she) smiles and moves some mysterious paper from an in-box to an out-box. You repeat this with the next person in the line, and eventually the sheer weight of the bills will tip some cosmic scale (the workings of which are inextricably linked to your personal karma) signifying that a sufficient number of bills have been distributed to enough people and the big, scary boat is now yours.

You are then given a certificate that signifies your eligibility to distribute one hundred dollar bills to a whole new class of people.

7/28/01, The Importance of a Name
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Naturally a boat needs a name, but what name should she have? Her name at the time of purchase was Benjamin Riley, but it was clear to all concerned (save the previous owner) that she was not a Benjamin, or even a member of the Riley family. How such a tragedy could have occurred I will leave to the previous owners but it was obvious to us that only the name Mandisa would do.

So what does the name mean? I'm not sure. I've read that it is African for sweet but what does that mean? I know there are bunches of African languages, and I don't know to which one Mandisa belongs, but the rythm was good, and we could all dance to it and most importantly, the boat liked it, which I think you can see in this picture, can't you?

A postscript: A lot of people ask me, why Kansas City, MO? Some people even scoff at me for home-porting the boat in the middle of a vast expanse of non-seamanlike dirt such as is Missouri. I frankly don't care. I come from Kansas City, I'm proud of my home city and I like how it looks on my boat. So there.

7/29/01, Taking her home
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Having bought the thing, it was time to take her home. I couldn't afford, nor did I want to keep the boat at Marina Del Rey in Santa Monica. Living in Gilbert, Arizona puts both LA and San Diego at approximately the same distance, and since LA is a major pain in the ass to drive through, I elected to keep the boat at Mission Bay in San Diego, so I made arrangements for a slip at Driscoll in Quivira Basin.

Now was the time to assemble my crack crew. My sister Kelly would act as first mate, while my son Sean would perform the duties of sea-sick auxiliary.

7/30/01, Making Ready
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Everybody knows that you need to get things ready before you take to sea, even if you're only going a mile or two off-shore. Our plan was to take three days to get to a place that takes only three hours to drive to. On the first day we would stop in Newport Beach, a mecca for people with more money than sense. The next day we would stop in Oceanside, a small resort town off of I-5 that no one ever stops in unless they are travelling by boat, and on the final day we would pull in to Mission Bay, assuming that we were still afloat.

So we carefully perused the charts, and scanned our checklists. Cookies? Check. Beer? Check. Chips? Check. Okay, let's go.

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