Bob Goddammit



I knew this wasn’t going to go well. I’d blown the wind instrument by accidentally shorting the wires trying to get a voltage reading and now I needed professional help. John, on the big Sunseeker moored alongside Sänna said “Well, I’ll give you the number of the only guy on the island who can fix that,” he looked concerned, “He’s good but I hope you Brits are tough cookies.” I called the number…

Bob, the electronics wizard said “Nope, don’t do foreign shit.” I couldn’t be drawn because I was desperate. The autopilot had now blown too, we were powerless and stuck here in Honokohau Harbour until it was fixed. “Look, we’re in trouble and I’ve heard you’re the best…” my heart beat noisily as I played the oldest trick in the book. There was a very long pause… “Tuesday,” he replied and instantly cut the call.

Tuesday soon crept up and Marie kept asking why I looked bothered. I knew why I looked bothered. The electronics wiring onboard Sänna functioned well but was a mish mosh of cables fitted at different times by different people in various countries we’d been in. All had their own standards and wire colouring… the problem was familiar on many cruising vessels. I’d since heard more tales around the fishing harbour here regarding ‘Bob’ and I wasn’t thrilled. He stood on the concrete quay behind Sänna, waiting for me to row the short distance ashore in the dinghy to collect him. “So, I’ve gotta goddam swim onboard have I?”…

“Awwww Goddammit!” his long grey hair was wild and his face red. The paper sheets of our wiring diagram were stuck to his sweat covered arms and the wiring cover hatch had slammed down on his hand. “Why do I take this shit on…?” he was exclaiming to himself, “This goddam piece of sailing junk ain’t fit to go to sea,” he was swiftly moving through wires and deftly following their trails with his fingers, dissecting and tracing their connections. Suddenly, he screwed up my wiring diagram and threw it. Bealy leaped and caught it midair knowing it was a vital piece of ships information. I needed to be patient because this guy was critical to us leaving the harbour. Bob stood up and was obviously in pain “Awww, my goddam back, goddammit.” In the corner of the cabin, I could see Marie and Henry were struggling to contain themselves.

“Dave,” I was relieved he’d used my name. Maybe, I thought, we were developing a meaningful friendship, “You’ve got one hell o a goddam problem.” My heart sank for the umpteenth time that morning, “You’ve got goddam Raymarine instruments and goddam Raymarine are one hell o piece of shit.” He stared at me intensely, “You have no goddam idea how much I hate goddam Raymarine,” his brow was oozing sweat, his eyes were wild and his back was clearly killing him. “And your wiring is all screwed up, who fitted this goddam shit?” I tried to explain the problem of different engineers in different countries etc… but he wasn’t listening. “Look, I can fix this piece of goddam plastic German junk,” he was referring to our boat, “But you gotta understand how much I hate Raymarine.” I agreed with him how bad Raymarine instruments were although we’d never had problems with them. I’d always admired their toughness and reliability. It was me who’d screwed them up but I hadn’t had the courage to tell him that bit. Bob looked at me squarely in the eyes… “The Raymarine instrument are fine, it’s just goddam f*****g Raymarine, goddammit.” I could see his mind wandering off to some far off place where he’d clearly been hurt somewhere in his past. “I’ll be back next week with new bits of kit, but it’s gonna cost ya,” he suddenly declared, “But before I come back you’ve gotta get all that goddam old wiring out coz I can’t work with that goddam shit.” I nodded in eager agreement almost hating the wiring too, “Now, have I gotta goddam swim ashore or are you gonna f*****g row me?”

Bob Goddammit, as Marie and Henry had christened him, returned the following week with new Raymarine wind and autopilot displays. I rowed ashore to pick him up with great trepidation… “Well hello Dave, how’re ya you young devil?” I was thrown off balance by this new friendly attitude and stuttered an unintelligent reply, “What? Speak up man,” he smiled a beaming smile, “It’s a beautiful day and the sun is sure shining…” We’d spent several days stripping out old wiring as ‘Goddammit’ had instructed. Everything was ready.

It all went surprisingly well and worked pretty much first time. We got a new circuit diagram, neatly and accurately prepared by Bob. The new instruments, expensive as they were, worked fine and we were ready to leave the big Island of Hawaii for Maui, the next island up in the chain. In the end, we three agreed, if we looked at things in a certain way, Goddammit wasn’t too bad…

It’s now confusing. We have Bob McDavit, our weather guru who maybe saved our lives in warning us away from the savage storm coming up from New Zealand, and now Bob Goddammit, who fixed up Sänna real good. Try repeating their names together quickly in succession.

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