They say that cruising is boat maintenance in exotic locations. Maintenance is just life when you own a BOAT (Break Out Another Thousand). Others will tell you “Oh yea, that hole in the water that I throw money into?” Then there is the one about boat ownership being like standing in a cold shower, fully clothed tearing up hundred dollar bills. Well, it’s not that bad, but its not that far off either!
When we purchased Banyan, one of the things that was so attractive about her was that she was ready to go. “Cut The Dock Lines and Go” I think was how the ad read. In fact she was very well equipped and is a very well built boat and we are really happy with her, but there were several little things that needed doing, updating, worked on and purchased. It turns out, several little things can really add up…
The list of chores we have decided to tackle has gotten a bit longer as things have unfolded, but that is just the nature of the beast. Here is a very partial list of things we are doing in order to prepare for our journey:
New single sideband radio installation, New life raft and mount installation, New mainsail and boom, New GPS devices..a few of them, New satellite phone, New glass for the port lights aka windows, New paint in the interior, New port of call on the back of the boat, New shaft seal, New deck, steaming and mast lights, New steering vane (thing that steers the boat using the wind so we don’t have to), Re-galvanize the anchor, New diesel tanks, New backstay chainplate (titanium baby!), New LED bulbs for the interior, Getting rid of the dry rot in the coach roof – the thing that started it all…, Fix the leaky windows and hatches, Take down the mast, double check all fittings and pull all new wiring, Cut the corrosion off the bottom of the mast and build up the mast step, Lay out all the anchor chain and mark it off so we know how many feet we are letting out, Replace some shelving, Re-bed and repair a few wobbly stanchions, Re-build the head, Put up life line netting (monotonous), Bottom Job (I know, I laughed the first time I heard that too)
There are several other things that Cameron is working on that I don’t truly understand. Suffice to say, the real list is about 5 times longer than this one and much less intelligible for the average human.
Since Cameron had his last day at Dana Estates, he has been working beyond full time on the boat. There have been many late nights and a few frustrating days when things didn’t happen the way he would have wished. His Dad, Doug has been his constant companion and helper through all of this, helping with every down, dirty and cramped activity as well as driving to far flung locations to pick up specific pieces of gear. The men (as we call Doug and Cameron) have been working their tale ends off in order for us to meet our move date. In fact, at this very moment, they are down at the boat putting our head (salty term for bathroom/toilette) back together. They will probably not be home until 11pm or midnight.
To give you a little taste of one of these projects, I have written down the fun we had replacing our diesel tanks. This is followed by an update on our move!
On inspection of the leaking problematic diesel tanks, a massive amount of corrosion was found. Considering that the tanks are as old as I am… well, lets just say that I have aged more gracefully. Out they came!
It was an incredible job and I was ready to throw in the towel about 10 minutes in, but Cameron insisted that we persevere and we did. With pulleys, leverage, ratchets and lots of sweat, we finally got the darn things out.
Getting them out of their homes under the aft cabin beds was hard, but when we tried to get them out of the companion way and off the boat, it was literally impossible.
Cameron enlisted my Dad on a different day and they had to cut one tank in order to get it out, the other one just barely slipped through.
We replaced the steel tanks with polypropylene tanks that were made to measure in Maine. I can’t tell you what a relief it was when they slipped into place.
A few more detailed write-ups of our projects will follow, but for now, I want to update you on our plans.
The Quick Update … or theSkimm for those of you who skimm
Moving out!! Today was our planned “move-onto-the-boat” day, but fortunately the people who are moving into our house are not quite ready and, we could use the extra time too, so! We move tomorrow. I am READY! Banyan went back into the water Thursday morning (only 1 day later than anticipated).
We anticipated moving onto her in stages, going slowly and taking our time to stow all our things. But it doesn’t always work out that way. Tomorrow we are going to pile all of our stuff and ourselves onto her then probably pass out from exhaustion.
We have been working hard at getting rid of all of our things – dressers, washer/dryer, couches, clothes, you name it… if it’s not going on the boat, and not absolutely necessary (like the wine cellar), it’s gone.
I’m amazed how much unnecessary stuff we had in our house, bags and bags of it. Every item has to be touched and decided upon – what camp is this in; to the boat, to store, to keep at my parent’s house, to stay with the house, to the goodwill or to sell? Needless to say, I have been consumed by it and my Mother-in-Law has been my constant companion in helping me deal with it all. As well as helping shuttle kids and make dinner for us almost every night, if I set her to a task, she tackles it with abandon. She even managed to squeeze a few more bucks out of a craigslist deal… nice Mimi!
This process is turning our little family into minimalists by necesity. I was always baffled by the biblical passage describing how the disciples sold or gave away all their belonging and followed Jesus. We are called to do the same. I’ve always thought – “well that’s not happening”. Until now! So I’ve tried to think of it in the same terms, living simply and prioritizing the important stuff.
And in the mean time life goes on. We had a huge wine auction in the Napa Valley last weekend – Premiere Napa Valley – and two of my wines were in the mix. They both did very well and I did a little dance in the middle of my messy chaotic house in happiness for their success at Auction.
Tomorrow my parents come up and help us with the big move, shuttling stuff and people from one end of the Valley to the other. We will also say goodbye to Cameron’s parents who have been with us since Christmas and Harvest before that. I will miss them! But it will also be fun to snuggle up with our little family and make our boat a home together. We plan to stay in the Napa Valley Marina for a few more weeks, maybe even a month in order to get the little odd jobs taken care of before we head south.
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The Vawters on the Water