The other day we went ashore with our toiletry kits and our towels for hot showers in the marina bathrooms. I chose a stall, organized my belongings on the hooks, turned on the water so it would be nice and hot, and took off my clothes. It was then that I discovered I’d forgotten to bring my soap and shampoo. Feh. It was a long dinghy ride back to the boat. I really needed a shower. What to do?
I dug around in my kit. No secret stash of motel soap bars. No forgotten travel-size shower gel. Nothing. But wait! What’s this? A packet of Tide laundry detergent for washing your undies in the sink! It will have to do. I squeezed the minuscule amount on my washcloth, and as advertised, it was low-sudsing, which doesn’t really give you that fresh-scrubbed feeling, but I think I came out of the shower stain- and wrinkle-free.
We had a long-awaited visit from Joe Hanko, who worked in the Manta factory and knows these boats inside and out. We’d asked him to go through Escape Velocity and make sure we’re ready to point our bow toward the setting sun. It was a day packed with new information and tips, along with some good news and some bad news.
The good news is that our rig is fine. There are a few small projects to do to beef up some fittings and replace various parts. He also pointed out areas to watch so we’ll know in advance before something fails and can address it.
The bad news is that our engines need some love and attention and a couple of expensive OEM parts. Other parts can be aftermarket, but all in all, they will require a chunk of the cruising budget just to keep them working as reliably as they have been.
The very bad news is that a previous owner cut a big jagged hole in the main support beam that spans the whole boat from side to side, apparently to vent the new refrigeration system they installed. Any breach of this kind of structural member is a strict no-no.
The beam has started to bow forward and we discussed how best to fix it to restore structural integrity and prevent further bowing or damage. Luckily there’s very little evidence of displacement of built-ins, so if we fix it soon, before we stress the hulls anymore out in the ocean, we should be able to nip this in the bud. And it’s doubly lucky that Jack and I are not one bit daunted by this kind of repair. We’re comfortable working with fiberglass and epoxy, and we used the technique many times on our previous boat when we filled in a bunch of through-hulls we no longer needed. The challenge will be collecting the materials we need on bicycles, and containing the inevitable mess when you grind fiberglass in a living space. Plus, we have to reroute the fresh air intake and venting for the fridge.
The rest of the list consists of smaller but important changes and repairs, most involving correcting previously substandard wiring or “improvements.”
We had a quiet New Year’s Eve, as we always do, with the exception that our friends Gordon, Marylyn and Jeff weren’t with us. We had a nice dinner in the cockpit, FaceTimed with some family and Skyped others. At midnight we stood out on deck and watched dozens of fireworks displays, large and small, all around Sunset Bay. There were boat horns and noisemakers from shore, and the sounds of various parties and music wafting across the water to our quiet island of Escape Velocity.
And so begins 2013. We start the year with a long work list, eager to continue our adventure. We wish you all a year of health, wealth, wisdom and peace.