When we first bought Kate in 2008 I had no expectations about what life onboard would be like. I hadn’t been dreaming of sailing the world since childhood, hadn’t furiously read any and all books related to sailing and I wasn’t an armchair sailor who leafed through a pile of sailing mags every month. I didn’t know anyone who’d tossed it all in and gone sailing, Facebook was in its infancy and if there were sailing blogs out there I didn’t know about them.
I wasn’t (too) worried.
I had enough experience sailing dinghies that I knew the pointy end was called the bow (thank goodness we didn’t buy a double ender!), the difference between a tack and a gybe and basic reefing techniques. I had been working on big boats (30-50M) for four years so I had done ocean passages, sat watches and tried to learn as much about navigation and radar as I could.
Besides I had Steve who had tonnes of sailing experience, who drove high speed catamaran passenger ferries for almost a decade, who had racked up more sea time and miles working on those big boats then I could count. I figured we’d make it through the 18 months we planned to take off work and find ourselves on solid ground in Aus ready for the next adventure.
But then things changed. We fell love; with our home, with our life, with sailing. 18 months floated by and we hadn’t even left Panama. It was obvious we needed to rethink the plan. And it was more obvious still that we would need money to fund our new plan. So when Steve got an unexpected offer of 8 weeks work we jumped, carefully, at the opportunity to fill the coffers. It meant I would be left taking care of the boat. A proposition I was a little nervous about but a challenge I agreed to face. Continue reading
Some people like to call it a “Shake down cruise” but I think that sounds too nicey nicey. There has been nothing “cruisey” about the last two weeks on board Kate. The term “Sea Trial” seems much more appropriate.
As is the norm before a passage and after a long period on the hard we took the boat out for sea trials. It is a chance to test new equipment, check existing systems, find faults and set up gear. It is a chance to re-familiarize ourselves and the boat with the business of sailing and living on board in the harsh environment of the ocean. Breakages are expected, even preferred at this point. After all it is easier to fix things when you’re only miles from the nearest chandlery or town than it is when those resources are literally days away. They might say that bad things come in 3’s, but after a couple of days it was starting to feel like we are getting them in 3’s3.
So while I have been playing around in the galley Steve has been doing all the real work.
The shiny new diesel tank came back and after a minor modification (the addition of a couple tabs welded to to the top so it could actually be secured beneath the floor, who’d have thunk!) and it was successfully re-installed. Over the last couple years it seems like we’ve repaired or replaced almost every major system on board. Hopefully this is one of the last big hurdles so in commemoration we decided to sign and date the tank, literally putting our personal stamp on things. And with the newly varnished floor boards put back down, and the game of ‘don’t fall in the hole’ over, things inside are almost back to normal.
Delivered, Sealed and Signed
They say there is no rest for the wicked. So we must be getting penalized for having a bit of a cruisey first week home because nothing has gone to plan since we started back to work.
I had noticed a couple months back that the cupboard under the galley sink was looking rather lopsided inside. Steve brought it up again when he was considering the re-plumbing job he’ll be doing on the water maker system nearby. We agreed it was pretty rotten and that it could replaced and made larger, giving us some much needed storage space in the galley. So this week we ripped it out, and in the process broke the bottom fitting on the fresh water hand pump for the galley sink.
Thankfully we had kept the old hand pump and I was able to cannibalize it and fix our mistake. But the thing with the hand pump is that it constantly drips and leaks, leaving the newly refinished ebony counter top wet. Besides the fact that you need one hand to operate it, which makes doing dishes a bit of a pain. Now that we had the cupboard ripped out we saw potential room to install a much lusted after foot pump. The chandlery at the marina happen to have one in stock, and was willing give us a nice discount. After double checking space and clearances we decided to buy it.
When we got it home we realized all the hose needed to install it was a completely different size than what was already in place. But of course. So, after a day sourcing hose and bits in Lautoka and another morning cutting holes and blindly pulling hose through the bilge Steve had the new foot pump installed. I happily dirtied dishes just so I could wash them in a constant stream of water with two hands. What can I say, sometimes it is the little things that make the big difference.
Look Mom, no hands!!