It’s been a while since I wrote an article. I thought last winter was bad, when it was just too cold to get things done on the boat. But the burglary in early May 2014 really knocked me down.
Like many men, I’d been buying tools since my late teens. Most of the early stuff was junk, but as I got older I realized the value in quality tools and started buying accordingly. There was also newer stuff, including some that I bought specifically because I knew I’d need it to complete this refit. Everything that was on the boat got taken, except for a beat up old Skilsaw and a Harbor Freight sawsall. I’m guessing they left them behind because, at a flea market, neither of them would go for more than $5.
Then there were the drills, countersinks and blades, another category of tools where both quality and quantity make the difference between a job that gets done and one that doesn’t. There are few things more frustrating than dull drills when you’re making lots of holes, so I had a Drill Doctor to sharpen them…had, in the past tense. I also finally found a good source of American-made cobalt drills—Chicago Latrobe— and had a fairly new set onboard. But even with cobalt drills, the whole job can come to a grinding halt if a bit snaps…or a counterbore or saw blade dulls or loses a tooth. So, I had multiple spares of all the common sizes of cobalt drill bits I use, plus spare countersinks, taper drills, jigsaw blades, and circular, reciprocating saw blades of various sizes, plus bandsaw blades for resawing, finish cuts, and metal, of course. And they were all conveniently organized in a Blade Runner case. I know…it’s a puny saw blade case, but it really was a great size, easy to carry, the latches were secure, and it was padded inside…and the bastards stole it.
It turns out that having tools organized in bags and containers that are easy to move around the boat or garage also makes it very easy for thieves to walk away with many hundreds of dollars worth of tools and spares in each hand. And there’s been no sign of anything that was taken on ebay or craigslist.
In related news, the Anne Arundel Police Department has been almost completely useless. It turns out that in exchange for the very high taxes I pay, the basic function of the men and women with badges is to initially console victims of burglary and then to file “official” loss inventories that the insurance companies use to settle claims. They don’t actually look for anything that’s stolen unless you’ve recorded serial numbers…which I didn’t.
Fortunately, my insurance policies (homeowner’s for the tools, boat policy for the boat parts that were stolen) appear to be covering the loss, at least partially. Unfortunately, it’s extremely difficult making an inventory list of everything that’s been stolen when it covers decades’ worth of purchases, both large and small. The refit has been suspended while I work on the insurance claims.
The one thing that has finally come together is the alarm system. Without getting into too many specifics, the entire tent envelope is now guarded by many passive infrared sensors, online streaming game cameras, strobes and various noise makers. Since it’s a shrink wrap tent that can be cut anywhere with a knife, like if a sneaky fellow was to try to come in behind a sensor and cut the wire, there are sensors watching the other sensors. There are also redundant alarm systems as you go inside the boat. So if somebody parachutes in and the tent envelope alarm fails to deter, the deck level system is running independently, as are the ones inside. The strobes light up the whole tent, making it very apparent to neighbors, who will absolutely be awakened by the alarm bells, shriek sirens, and/or the air raid siren, depending on which alarm or combinations of alarms go(es) off. And it all runs on a massive battery that has solar backup charging…just in case the bastards unplug the power cords to the tent.
I know, I know… this is analogous to bolting the door shut after the horses have all left the barn. I really feel stupid for having gotten so lax on security. But if the refit is to continue (and it will), I have to assume the worst: whomever did it knew what they were doing. It might even be someone I know or have seen. And they’ll almost certainly be back.
With those new game cams in place streaming images in real-time…I almost hope they do.
Next up in our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: The Swim Platform