Sunday, 6 January 2008

Repair and Replace.

Getting ready to set off on a new journey always raises mixed emotions in me. On the one hand the excitement of seeing new places, sailing, being on the move again whilst, on the other, the trepidation of preparing, provisioning,sailing, seeing new places!
I know! It doesn't make much sense to me either....

Today I guess we have started the countdown to departure for real. As we start to go through our list of things to do I am depressed by the state of the boat. Not that there are any radical problems but she is just so DIRTY. Six months in this wet tropical climate are hard on anything, let alone an object that has sat in the water all the time too.

Yesterday it was the turn of the wet locker. Everything out. Lifejackets, wet weather gear, grab bags, flare container, all the usual string bags containing courtesy flags, hats & gloves, bits of useful string! I had thought there would be lots to throw away but of course you always think that there will be a reason to hold on to those 'vital' bits don't you?

The final count for the bin was two hats, baseball type with rusted size adjusters(only cost $1 each in Panama), a watersprayer with broken nozzle(touch and go there as I may have had a spare nozzle!), and a couple of empty 1 litre coke bottles. The biggest fight on board is over these`damn bottles. TBH hoards them in preparation for oil changes and the like until we are wading through small mountains of the things...he didn't notice these being ditched though...hah!

Checked the gas cylinders on the auto-inflating lifejackets, they are still showing a green indicator and no signs of rust or corrosion around the inflating mechanism! We have five on board, spares are for visitors and are looking rather smarter than our own these days! Checked and cleaned the safety harnesses and tethers. I must say, considering we use these a lot, they are standing up very well. The stitching is all in excellent order and there is no corrosion whatsoever on the clips and hooks. that's pretty good as we wear these regularly and they get pretty salty.

We will need to replace some flares as soon as we get to somewhere that actually sells them! Our stock of out of date ones is growing and sooner rather than later we will have to dispose of some of the older ones. Authorities around the Caribbean seem to be getting keen on inspecting the flares and handing out fines if they are not in date!

The wet weather gear has held up well for the main part. TBH's Musto jacket is showing signs of mildew but there is a lot of white fabric on it! Not a helpful colour...note to myself to buy red next time. I'll have a go at cleaning it off but am not too hopeful.

So that's one major-ish job struck off the list.

Today we have unfurled the Yankee and the Staysail. Apart from some withered insects dropping out they look in good condition. we had the Yankee restitched in Panama and the guy, from ABC Sails, did a really good job. We replaced the sheets to the Yankee, not too keen on the new lines but it was all we could get. The old ones have been up for 5 years now and were beginning to show signs of wear. Not too serious but we have end to ended them once and felt as we had some new ones we would give them a go. The old ones are currently languishing in the bottom of the dinghy covered in fresh water and detergent having a good old agitate!

The real challenge is going to be preparing ourselves physically for 1000 miles to windward sailing! Six months of computer bashing, inactivity and good food has played havoc with our fitness. What fitness TBH grunts! So we are making an effort to take more exercise and will start our new passage slowly not over facing ourselves till these aging bodies catch up with a reasonable level of performance! Having said all that I just baked a huge chocolate cake....

And the next job today is making a big list and planning the order of attack! Boy that's a lot of stuff we need to get going on but most of it will be dealt with once we get to St Maarten's. Just need to do the bits that are vital to the boat's safety and integrity. The main job is replacing the bilge pipe...not looking forward to that one....

No comments: