“A place or state of suffering inhabited by the souls of sinners
who are expiating their sins before going to heaven.”
Well, although we are not the religious type, purgatory is the state we are in right now, after our 8 weeks’ summer cruise. We have been back for two weeks and are working through the unusually long to-do list of repairs and maintenance on Take It Easy. We are ‘repenting our sins’ and doing ‘contrition’ to be assured of future heavenly times. This is particularly the case this year. Firstly because we did sin: there was that unfortunate encounter between our port rudder and a rock at Jibbon Beach. But also because we have grand sailing plans for this year.
2015 Heavenly Plans
- A ten days Easter trip with friends to the small Bass Strait isles around Wilson’s Promontory, possibly extending to Hogan and Deal Islands;
- A delivery trip to Harvey Bay in June for Wade and 2 or 3 mates in preparation for the next exciting adventure up in Queensland;
- A 3 weeks cruising adventure with my sister Véronique and her husband Didier who are coming over from France in July/August to discover with us the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef.
- Since we will leave the boat up north for four months after my family’s visit, we will have a couple of little weekend escapades to visit our boatie and the Keppel Islands;
- And finally, the return trip from Rosslyn Bay in Queensland back to Victoria in December/January, as our next summer cruise.
So with these plans in mind, we need the boat ship shape. The To Do list is a mix of repairs, general maintenance and improvements. Here is what it looks like:
- The rudders! The bent steel shaft needed to be straightened, the bottom of the damaged rudder blade re-glassed and antifouled. This has now been completed, without the need to make a new rudder, much to our relief!
- Haul the boat out of the water to change the bearings on the two rudders and put these back in place, and while we are on the hard again, get a small nick in the starboard hull repaired. All this is happening as we speak!
- Rewire the navigation lights and spot light so the connections are waterproof.
Maintenance is an everlasting activity on a boat. It is just like on a house or car, only more awkward and critical on a boat because it is both our home and our transport, and the environment it floats in is not very forgiving.
- New mooring lines and anchor bridle. The existing ‘climbing ropes’ have done their dash and since the last thing we want is for Take It Easy to go boating without us, we are replacing them all with black braided nylon.
- Dinghy outboard spare parts purchase (carburetor bowl, split pins, shear pins, start pull switch), as we enjoy rowing, but only to a point and don’t want to be caught out.
- Make the boat’s engine lift mechanism easier to use for the weakling one of us two. We lift the outboards out of the water when not in use and one of them is impossible for me to raise.
- Fix the leaky pipe from the washing machine as we really don’t want a foot bath in the bathroom!
- Battery check – we are worried that one of our batteries is on the blink, so we have lined up the electrician to check them!
- We are going to replace the roof lining cloth in the cabin, which is looking increasingly grubby. It started with a couple of annoying epoxy stains left by the shipwrights when they installed the steel rail on top of the cabin, but now squashed bugs and some mould patches are appearing, and the old cloth just has to go.
We are continually making refinements to the boat. The need for these is often identified as a result of an extended cruise. When you live on TIE for 8 weeks, you really notice what works and what does not. We are also doing everything on the boat with an eye on our long term cruising needs, when we eventually live on board full time. So the big thing for us is power production and power usage, and we are not happy with our balancing act.
- Regardless of the battery check verdict, we have to increase our battery bank to cope with running a fridge, freezer and computer at will! The question is whether we add more AGMs or replace what we’ve got with Lithium batteries (ouch! $$$). The result of the battery check will be the decider.
- One of our major bug bears is our power production Vs our power consumption. We spent a small fortune on Ampy the wind turbine, only to find that it really is not that effective outside of Southern Waters and exposed Reefs where it is windy! So we are buying 3 extra solar panels of 100 watts each, to supplement our 2 existing ones and boost our electricity production, and this means also getting a new MPPT regulator.
- One thing leads to another: as a result of buying more solar panels, we are getting an aluminium frame made, to accommodate a total of 5 panels at the back of the boat, and this will replace the existing frame. Instead of being installed lengthways, the panels will be set across the width of the frame and a bit higher, to accommodate the dinghy underneath.
We are slowly progressing through the list, one item at a time. Let’s hope purgatory does not last too long, as we would really like to go back to the boat to play, not work!