English or Metric?

IMG_1705I live on my sailboat in the Caribbean.  Now I am in Panama.

I asked the local maintenance guy to change the zincs (sacrificial anodes) on my boat, a task for a diver.  There are zincs on the end of the prop, the rudder support, the prop shaft and the bow thruster.  The diver was from Spain, and the guy he dives for is from South Africa.  There is an Englishman on the next boat over with an accent so thick, I just nod and agree with him.

I handed the South African boss the zincs and he asked if I had spare stainless steel bolts. I said I did, and fetched them.  He asked if the boat, an Island Packet 445 made in the  USA, used that “stupid American measuring system.”

I replied, “It’s not American system.  The damn English gave it to us before we threw them out. And the bolts are metric.”

The Englishman, who was drinking beer because it was just past noon, jumped in, “At least we had enough sense to get rid of it. You Yanks will never be able to do science as long as you keep it up.”

I made a comment about the French having start it with Napoleon, which starting a series of trading a few more offensive and politically incorrect shots.

The Spanish diver came up, and said one of the bolts he was trying to reuse was bent, and he needed a new one.  He handed it to the South African. I looked down from the deck of my boat, and asked, “Is it an M6?”

He gave me a dirty look as if I didn’t know bolt sizes from afar. “It’s an M4.”

“How long?” I asked.

He replied, “About an inch.”

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