Monday, April 18, 2011

Boat Work Boat Work Boat Work

Boat work is our reality. The"To Do" list is forever growing and only slowly, slowly getting crossed off. We keep discovering more things that are broken and require time and money to repair. It's likely that our planned departure date may be pushed back as the engine is still in pieces. Rene has been slaving away at aligning it for days and days.
Such a MAMMOTH job.
Despite the enormity of this task, Rene is for the most part, staying really positive. He still believes that we'll be able to set off this Friday... I'm not so sure!
Rene happy at work (sporting a few hand injuries).
Roger easing the conduit over the stay.
Rene's family arrived here in Townsville this week. Roger has been helping out daily on Anima - trying to prepare her for our voyage. He and I installed the conduit for the starboard stay that we replaced. In the end we bought two new stays - both made from galvanised wire embedded with grease. Most yachties prefer to use stainless rigging (it looks nice and is strong) but some swear by gal (as it's so much cheaper, doesn't snap suddenly and is available everywhere). Rene was keen to try out gal to make up his own mind. On the new port side stay, Rene treated it with linseed oil (which was annoyingly, very messy to clean up after) while the stay on the starboard side was treated with butylmastic. Over the top of this treatment went conduit - to protect the sail and our hands from the sticky mess. Already I prefer stainless!
While Ren was cutting the conduit to fit over the stay, he sliced his hand quite deeply and has had to wear lots of bandages since then. Luckily the knife managed to avoid any major nerves or muscles and he still has all feeling and function. In order to install the conduit up the entire stay, I had to climb the mast. I've only ever climbed it once before (back on Lady Musgrave Island). I remember finding it really difficult last time but this time it was dead easy! I'm sure that it's due to all the Ashtanga yoga I've done for the last 6 months - I actually have arm muscles and upper body strength now! I really enjoyed climbing the mast and have gone up for fun again since (to watch the full moon in the cool night air). 

We bought some marine-grade 6mm ply wood for the new (much cheaper) Aries windvane blades. Roger and I drew up the designs and have managed to get 4 blades of varying sizes from the one piece of ply. I cut the boards out easily using the jigsaw and have sanded them all in preparation for painting which I hope to do tomorrow. The board I'm sanding here in the picture is one of Roger's design - he's hoping it will fit under the mizzen boom. That cheeky boom always hits the Aries blades and breaks them!
Rog with the Icom automatic tuner installed (left)

Roger helped out enormously by wiring together our new (second hand) HF radio and tuner. This afternoon he installed the huge automatic tuner to our chart table area. He and I went out on lots of errands today - buying bits of tools and equipment for Rene and for the boat.
 I mastered the art of sewing with the easy-stitch. The mainsheet webbing is very secure in place on the boom now. This morning Rene and I hauled up the mainsail which is looking gorgeous! The cover needs repair/replacement but not now!
Me using the easy stitch.

As I write this, Rene is still hard at work in the engine room. He has managed to install one engine mount per day for the last three days (one more to go plus putting it all back together). I'm finding myself slipping into feeling negative about the boat. So much has broken and requires repair. We've spent so much of our time, energy, life, love, sweat, tears and money on Anima over the four years we've owned her. Is it all worth it? Would we have been better off just buying an apartment/house like everyone else? Did we make a mistake by buying such an old boat? I look at my friends and family who have travelled the world (by flying) and am so envious. All we wanted to do was travel and yet all we seem to be doing right now is working on an old boat. I could have backpacked through Europe 5 times over using the money and time we've spent on the boat...
But then I notice the way Anima holds herself in the water. I look at all that we've accomplished to improve her. I realise that I wouldn't have found Ashtanga yoga if we'd simply flown overseas. I recall all the gorgeous places we've been so far and dream of the places we have still to explore and I snap out of my pessimism with renewed enthusiasm. Yes, we're working on Anima almost 24/7 but it will be worth it!

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