Thursday, December 27, 2007

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s off to work we go….

Sailing the south pacific is all rest and relaxation. NOT. Well at least it’s still like that in our dreams.
Some sailors say that cruising (sailing for pleasure) is defined as working on your boat in exotic places. Over the last month that definition has rung true for us. It’s the exotic places that makes it all worth while. For in the exotic place, what is a mundane environment to the local is a fantastic and strange world for the tourist.
So when sanding and varnishing or painting the bottom of the boat, all you need to do is look up for a moment and you see the fantastic fresh world all around. As an example see the photo of a giant 2” long moth that landed on our deck, and 6” long walking stick insect that crawled on our boat while we were on the hard. There are also jewel like caramel scarab beatles and giant menacing looking spiders that would crawl around our boat while we were on land.
The job list had been getting longer over the last year and it is the season to knock off all those non-essential items off the list. Since we don’t see any long passages in our future for awhile the non-essential items had crept up to priority status and the passage critical items and fallen down a notch.
The first week of December we got to work on various jobs we could do while still in the water. As an example, we stripped the varnish off the wood toe rail (trim around the perimeter of the boat) and replaced it with 2 fresh coats of the recommended 10 coats of varnish. We spent about 45 hours of time getting the prep and 2 coats done and had to stop for we had booked to haul Toboggan out of the water to do below the water hull maintenance. The remaining coats of varnish would have to wait. We hauled Toboggan out of the water on December 10th and repaired a minor scratch, sanded off the old antifouling and replaced it with new, replaced the cutless bearing, replaced the anodes, gave the hull a quick wash and applied a new coat of wax and put the boat back in the water December 18th. Since putting the boat back in the water, we have had a lot of rain, and therefore haven’t started back to complete the remaining 8 coats of varnish.
It never seems to amaze me how much it costs to do regular maintenance on a boat. Two coats of bottom paint on our boat uses about 3 gallons of paint. A cost of about $1000 for the paint alone. By the time we were finished with paying for the haulout and the time on land ($50 per day) a bottom paint job cost $2000. That’s using our labour and equipment. The two year ablative paint we had put on in Canada had almost completely worn away over the last year and provided little protection against the barnacles. I guess the cost of bottom paint isn’t all bad, at an average of $5.50 a day that’s less than 2 Starbucks tall coffees a day.
Since I mentioned coffee………thought we should tell you we have discovered a clandestine coffee conspiracy here in Australia. Strange but true our grocery store has about 100 different products of instant coffee for sale, about 10 products of expresso coffee and 3 products of what we would consider regular filter / percolator coffee. Of the dozen coffee shops we visited, we found no regular filter / percolator coffee for sale, only expresso or cappuccino. Many shops with the word “café” in the title don’t sell coffee at all. We are working hard…between boat work…to solve this for you.

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