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Monday, September 28, 2015

Summer Full of Saturdays --- HAH

 posted by Ardys

My husband likes to say that "every day is Saturday, right?" now that we are retired.  UH-uh.... "Saturday" to me, means taking a break from your usual routine.  Frankly, I've worked as hard or harder nearly every day since retiring, even though the year prior to retirement was spent cleaning, painting, packing, moving, moving again, cleaning and the final move onto the boat.  Getting one's belongings crammed into small spaces and learning new ways to do what was simply habit on land is work.  

Scrubbing the Force 10 stove
There is a popular notion floating around out there that going off to live on a sailboat means relaxation, lounging around in skimpy swimsuits on deck and drinking little froofy drinks with parasols.  With tongue in cheek, we are indeed "living the life."  I think those who already live on sailboats know that that is a facetious statement. Phrases such as "fixing your boat in exotic places" and "a sailboat is a hole in the water into which you throw $1,000 bills."  These more accurately describe life on a sailboat.

Don't get me wrong--I am not backing out of this adventure of ours, which thus far has only taken us to the Chesapeake Bay and Florida by car.  But I am still looking for the time when "every day is Saturday."  Does that come after we get to the Bahamas?  Does it come after we've proven to ourselves that we can handle anything that weather, the boat and fate can throw at us?  Does it come when we no longer are throwing fistfuls of perfectly good money into projects that the untrained eye will not even notice?  Just wondering.
New Quantum mains'l and stack pack

We moved onto NORTHERN STAR with a planned list of things to upgrade or replace---three new sails, lifeboat, bimini repair, replacing all lights and any other electrical things that could possible be switched from 120 to 12 volts.   My husband wanted a new anchor, a radio upgrade and to add AIS, both receiving and broadcasting.  We would feel safer being able to identify whatever "speck" of a boat we see on the horizon.  
It's good to know where these "big guys" are on the water

Well, after being on NORTHERN STAR for another two months, the list had grown to include work on the head (toilet), water filtering system, new bosun's chair and body harness for going up the mast, replacing the stereo (VERY important--gotta have MPR and music), having the MOB (Man Overboard) repacked, electric winch issue diagnosed, some means of shading the cockpit and the dinghy outboard  needed repair.  We proceeded with those things, as well as ordering a new EPIRB, and learned a lot about our "new" sailboat. 

By August, we still were not successful in getting a workman to actually install the AIS for us but we had a solid plan to achieve that goal.  Then, a few weeks ago, the autopilot stopped working, thus requiring repair or replacement.  We know we can't use the auto-pilot going down the ICW (Inter-Coastal Waterway) anyway but in all other circumstances possible, we use the auto-pilot.  (On our previous boat, the auto-pilot was named "Otto."  We had not settled firmly on a name for THIS auto-pilot.  That "oversight" has been suggested as the reason that it "decided" to call it quits, although I don't tend to buy into sailors' superstitions.)  
Projects often involve twisting one's body awkwardly

When we lost the auto-pilot, the conversation took a nasty turn, meaning, many more fistfuls of dollars began limping slowly into our discussion.  The conversation went something like this...."As LONG as we've got workmen tearing into the boat to fix the auto-pilot, why not go ahead and spring for the new Garmin chart plotter, new Garmin auto-pilot, and new radar now (rather than wait until next year) and then all those instruments will be able to talk to each other."  I hadn't been aware of a rift in our instruments' communications; now I am. "Since we haven't been able to get anyone to install the AIS yet, they can do that too.  And while they're running lines for those instruments, might as well have them run the lines for the Wirie." A Wirie is a little box mounted on the boat which extends the range of Wi-Fi signals in the area and can act as a mobile phone with a SIM card installed.  We bought the Wirie several weeks ago and my husband was planning to mount it himself. 
The old electronics, soon to be replaced
So our list of upgrades being expanded rather late in the season, means we are now especially eager to get this work done as quickly as possible, so that we can start heading south.  As we were motoring to the marina last week, where the electronics work will be done, our freezer was giving up the ghost as well.  Sigh.  Freezer repair was added to the list.  The plan has been to head south after the SSCA (Seven Seas Cruising Assn) gam this next weekend.  The week after that is the Annapolis Boat Show and while it would be fun to attend that, if we wait until after that to start south, we are apprehensive about being clumped up with caravans of boats heading down the ICW.  We thought we'd try to get ahead of that group.  

Today we  learned that our entire battery bank needs to be replaced,  too, another major expenditure.  Sigh.....My fingers had been crossed to start moving south by the end of the week, but that is unlikely at this point. 

We probably should have named the auto-pilot.

1 comment:

Mark Bennett said...

Hi Ardys. Just remember, you don't actually need most of that stuff to live happily and safely on a sailboat. It's easy to get caught up in having all the neat systems, and they are nice, but most of them aren't truly necessary. Everything electronic (e.g. AIS, and even the radar and chart plotter) is strictly "nice to have". The freezer likewise, and the dinghy outboard. It's amazing how well you can live and sail without all that stuff.