The weather is good now, many bright days with fresh breezes, so we are selectively moving stuff from our winter millennial apartment, where we are considered ‘Village Elders’ to our floating full-time home at Herrington Harbour North. The word selective is important as we’re in the apartment until June 20th so we can’t move our belongings, ‘lock stock and barrel’ as homesteaders used to say, yet. And, we don’t want to buy duplicates, which would be easy but costly to do, when we have perfectly good stuff in the apartment. Therefore, before packing up an item for the boat, we solemnly ask, “Is this item sacred to our apartment living?” For example, cooking spices are sacred to living in the apartment, especially for chef John. Therefore, on the boat we’re using just a few spices which proves the adage that ‘simpler is better’. The down side is that we are constantly asking ourselves, “Where is it?” Too often, what we need is always in the other location. Just a few more weeks and this logic test will finally be over.
It’s been a productive time these past two weeks. First came the new helm wheel, a surprise find at the famous used marine store, Bacon Sails in Annapolis as recommended by our live aboard dock neighbor next door, Peter. It’s the same style and structure as the old one, but 12 inches smaller all around. With a 36″ diameter instead of 48″, I can now easily reach the bow thruster and engine controls, critical when maneuvering our 46′ hulk of a boat in close quarters as I did on this Saturday’s sail, our second of the season.
Second, came our grand success in replacing the crazed, cracked lens on one of our hatches. Thanks to a recommendation from the seasoned sailor and DIY guy, Jim, we found Annapolis Maritime Plastics that fixed it in just a few days. Looks good with the fully polished and cleaned port lights that I finished last week. While the hatch cover was out for repair, another dock neighbor and engineering genius, Roger, gave us a hand-made clever cover to keep the rain out. We’d like to pay it forward so if you’d like it (covers an 18″ x 12″ space), just let me know.
Third, after our umpteenth Internet search, we found the correct lock handle to replace the broken one on a hatch in the aft cabin. Our only problem was that we ordered the ‘Right’ turn instead of the ‘Left’ turn — silly us for looking up instead of down on the hatch cover. We sighed, re-ordered, and John will install it upon arrival. Luckily, the little parts were not expensive.
Dolce Vento is running well now, so as you can read from the previous paragraphs, our project list is focused on finishing touches and preparing for long-term living aboard. We just finished replacing the 15-year-old faded and ripped fender covers with nifty navy blue ones. Slipping them on is like putting on a corset — much grunting and squishing, but eventually the look is worth it.
Projects on the list are many, some larger, challenging and expensive and some smaller, easy and cheap, but the projects are never-ending like adding a latch to a persistently opening cabinet door, replacing the slippy strut on the top loading frig door, refurbishing the bow thruster motor (it’s lazy not perky) and installing a water purifier at the galley sink.
In a class of its own is the project to replace the original sadly, sagging and thread bare cockpit canvas — an investment that requires some thought, as it’s an expensive undertaking (think redoing your porch). We’re adding removable screen and vinyl side panels so whether we’re at anchor surrounded by armies of mosquitoes bombarding us on a windless night or enduring a chilling rain as we motor down the ICW in October, we can sit comfortably in the cockpit. Until then, we rely on the 303 Fabric Guard Spray to keep the rain from dripping through the canvas and the roofing tape, recommended by my grammar school pal, to replace the disintegrated stitching.
So as you can see, it ‘takes a Village’ to prepare a boat for an adventure. People sharing information and experiences leads to surprisingly pleasant results. Also, once again, our belief is reinforced — boat life is like life was in our 103 year old row house in Baltimore — there will always be a constant stream of small and large projects to keep us ever busy and satisfied.
The advantage of living on a boat is that it’s the cheapest waterfront property you can own and you can move the home — if you don’t like the view.