Monday, March 15, 2010

Getting The Boat Ready

A lot of the people I have talked too, who dream of sailing and cruising as a lifestyle, seriously underestimate the amount of time and money they will need to maintain their boat in a “ready for sea” condition. I am flabbergasted at the constant repairs and maintenance our boat requires. It is almost a full time job just to keep up with it and requires a full time job to pay for it.

We have set our sights on Hawaii for next winter and the boat needs a bit more attention than normal when facing a non-stop offshore passage of 4800 nautical miles. Here is our list:

- Haul Out with bottom Job, new zinks, and cutlass bearing

(we will do this in Trinidad it has been 2.5 years since our last bottom job)

- Rebuild fuel pump and new seals on engine

(though it is still running there is a small fuel leak that would not be prudent to have for long)

- New mainsail

(we have needed a new main for years but with our smallish passages we have put it off with 4800 miles ahead in one leg we know it won’t do)

- All standing rigging checked and replaced as needed

(I suspect we will need some of the rigging replaced)

- Replace liferaft

(we are in the process of checking our raft to see if it will be Ok but suspect we will need a refurbished used one to replace the one we have)

- Bow pulpit repaired

(In November a boat dragged down on us and damaged the bow Pulpit it will need to be repaired or replaced in Trinidad)

- Solar Panels installed

(because we will be sailing NOT motoring a solar panel will be essential to keep the batteries charged so that we can use our auto pilot)

- New Galley stove

(our old 1989 stove is down to two working burners and no working oven the rust has eaten through the oven wall)

- New Batteries

(we replaced our batteries just 2 years ago in Oriental but with our alternator failure last summer they took a beating and are now refusing to hold a charge.)

- Recharge Iridium Sat Phone Sim card

(on a passage of 30+ days we will need our sat phone to send and receive e-mails and in this day and age it is my opinion that a sat phone is required safety gear.)

- New RO membrane on water maker.

(Our boat carries 160 gallons of fresh water in 3 tanks + 30 gallons on deck in jugs but with 7 people on board we will need to be able to convert seawater into drinking water. Our water maker makes 1.5 gallons of water every hour but only draws 4 amps so it can be run using the solar and wind power alone. We also have rain catchers that are very efficient when it rains.)

This list may seem daunting but believe it or not I have a list almost as long as this of things I have finished in the past two months. And as you can see from the picture above, today I am rebuilding the water maker and replacing the membrane. So I will be able to scratch that off my list.

These constant repairs and little fixit jobs can really get you down if you let them. I started cruising with a little bit of a fixityourself mentality, living on a farm in the middle of Montana 100 miles from town will do that to anyone. Now I find real satisfaction in taking something that is broken and making it work again. I think anyone who aspires to live this life either has to start with that mentality or develop it… or be rich enough to pay someone A LOT to work on your boat… a LOT. If you are waiting to cast off the docklines AFTER the boat has EVERYTHING fixed you will probably never go and just as soon as you make your first passage you will be putting back into a marina to repair something yet again.

Toolin Around,

Captain Tofer

1 comment:

  1. Capt'n,

    Is it any more work or money than you would have with a house and a car or two living on Terra Firma?


    PS Long time reader. First time poster. I love your blog. Thank you for the hard work you put into it.