Tuesday, 29 January 2013

is it warm in here, or is it just that fire blazing under my butt?

Written by Rick

The race is on. Two months from now, we will go sailing, sailing, over the bounding waves. Now, we need to make magic happen. We have a lot of tasks on our project list. A couple of them are very important for us to complete before we head off. Most of them are important because we will be leaving resources when we haul up anchor and make our way into the tradewinds.

Bits and pieces
We have owned our boat for six years. We started the refit on the day we bought her and we have no idea when we might finish. We prefer to tackle boat jobs in manageable chunks. It is important for us to be able to use our boat, when we want to. So we try not to take is so far apart that we can't quickly put it back together again to go sailing. Our priority is to make improvements to our boat, and to go out sailing. It sounds like a conflict, but it doesn't have to be.

The first expensive gear purchase we made was a 2000 watt pure sine wave inverter-charger. We knew that there would be times that we would want to run A/C devices, namely power tools, while we were at anchor. We have a large (440 amp/hour) battery bank, but even so, we find we need to run the engine to charge the batteries when we are doing power tool projects.

There aren't many projects we can't tackle while out on the hook. Doing boat projects at anchor is a habit we got into while we were still in Victoria. Weekends were the time we had to do boat projects but it was also the time for us to go sailing. Eventually, we realized that we could sail off, drop the hook, and pick up the tools. It was a good way to have it all.

We are trying to accomplish great things. Several of our objectives are simply expensive. Many are things that have been on our project list for a long time. Then, there are the items we add.

Some of the additions are for improvements we just think of. Then, there are the things we discover while we are working on another project. Each day, we add something to the list that is more important than what we just crossed off.

Measure twice, cut once
In the mad panic of leaving our homeport of Victoria, there were several wood projects that got set aside. Cruising for the past 18 months has refined the wood project list. We decided not to build propane lockers on our aft deck, and opted for an outboard rack instead. We chose to install some horizontal rails that tie our aft stanchions to our solar panel arch and aft pulpit. These have a variety of benefits, not the least of which is providing us a place to sit where we can see over the bow.

We found a carpentry shop and got them to mill up a bunch of mahogany to our measurements. Now old projects and new ones are being taken care of. Sawdust and varnish are flying. Kyra finally got her stove bar. She has been insistent on that for the past 2 and a half years. It is a rail that goes in front of the stove. it prevents you from falling onto a hot stove and gives you something to grab, so you don't fall away from it either. I started it before we left and am happy to say that after only 2 years that project is done.

Keeping things in
Kyra has taken up the sewing baton. Among other things, she re-stitched and patched our sail cover. And she made a lee-cloth sort of thing that contains our shoes (and other stuff) from spilling out from under our berth. It has bungee cord in the top hem, so you can pull it down to add or remove something small. Or, it can be unhooked in order to get at something big, like the sewing machine.

We have categorized our tasks. There are plumbing tasks, electrical jobs, mechanical maintenance, and sewing projects. There are dinghy duties, rigging responsibilities, stuff to install, paint and varnish to apply, and wood to shape, sand, and fit. And the rest, we call organization. That includes everything from provisioning to getting evacuation insurance.

Of all the things I am trying to accomplish, a shorter list is what I am striving for. While I am thinking about it, I'll just add make list shorter to the list.


  1. I think we need to add a line item named "make list shorter" to our list too! Starship is totally torn apart and Chris is swearing like mad....yep, we're in project mode!!!

    1. Haha - yep that sounds familiar - we gauge how well a project is going by the amount of swearing coming from wherever the other is working... Keep the eye on the prize! :)P.S. Are you practicing your French?



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