November is the time of year when the serious boat maintenance is done. The countdown to our yearly summer cruise has well and truly started, and this provides the impetus to get the boat ship shape. After the major expenses we had last year with re-rigging and two new engines, we are quietly hoping this will be a ‘’minor” service year.
On the slip
The task list is not excessively long this year, but who knows what we will find and need to attend to! The pressure is on now though, since the boat came out of the water yesterday, a few days later than expected. We are now on a tight schedule to get everything finished. Here is what we do know needs to be done while on the slip for about a week:
- Hairy bottom clean up
- Engines servicing
- Hull and deck check
- Investigate crack in one of the stringers and fix
- Repair to a stubborn crack on the edge of the cockpit roof (3rd time lucky)
- Hulls clean and polish, and possibly paint touch up
- Build a new cupboard underneath the hot water service
- Fit and brace our new Ampair wind generator
Although the last two points are not essential and can be tackled in the water, we’d rather get it all sorted while Wade and our shipwrights are working on the boat. And we know from experience that fiddly jobs and anything involving epoxy invariably take much longer than you expect. Then you add variables like the weather and you can see why this is a tense time!
Preparation for the big trip
We are going for 8 weeks again this summer, hoping to return to Lord Howe Island, with side trips to Ball’s Pyramid, the Admiralty Islets, and the Elizabeth & Middleton Reefs. We may have passengers for some of the way. So with the distance to cover and the fact we will be a long way offshore, we want everything to be ship shape.
Six weeks worth of preparatory work
When we compile the list of things we have been working on or are yet to complete before our summer adventure, there is a fair bit to do!
- Servicing of winches – Done
- Mooring permit for Lord Howe – Done
- Access permit for Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs – Done
- Nautical charts for Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs – so we can see where the best spots are to anchor – Done
- AIS system installation – no more freaking out in the shipping lanes – Done
- Next G data aerial installation – for better phone and internet reception – Done
- Purchase and installation of a new Ampair wind generator – to supplement our electricity production – no more power usage dragon on board! – Onto it!
- Installation of a lightning protector at the top of the mast, otherwise known as “Hocus Pocus”, but it can’t hurt – we don’t like lightning – Onto it!
- New dinghy set up on davits – Done
- VIC and NSW fishing licenses – Done
- Food, food and more food – several raids on the local Woolworth are needed here! Will be tackled just before we go, using our trusted provisioning checklist – Onto it!
- Serious fishing rod and assortment of lures for pelagic fish, not minnows – we intend to catch some real size beasties to vary the menu – Done
- Purchase of two new crab pots – with a bit of luck we might catch some sandies! – Done
- Battery check – we thought we might need to replace one, but it is OK after all – Done
- Spare pump purchase – the shower bilge pump is making suspect noises. Better to be safe than risk an unintended foot bath in the heads! – Done
- Fill up the gas bottles – we want sumptuous meals, and the odd uninterrupted hot shower! – Onto it!
- Stock up with fuel – we want to do as little motoring as we did last year, but just in case! – Onto it!
We started preparing weeks in advance, but the to-do list always expands and we generally finish the work pretty close to departure day. We are feeling a bit under the pump as D day (5 December) closes in! That’s boat maintenance for you.