Prior to a new sailing season the owner of a yacht inevitably makes a list of jobs to be done before the ‘treasure of his heart’ can be launched. One such job must be the application of antifouling paint, unless the yacht has been previously prepared with an expensive, but effective 10 yearly antifouling system. However, even such a luxury generally requires burnishing.
Having placed ‘antifouling’ on his list, the prudent owner will want to add a host of other items under the heading Maintenance Work, which could be anything from replacing the malfunctioning fluorescent light in the main cabin to cleaning out the fixed water tank under the starboard cockpit seat. In my case, having already carried out tasks such as fitting a brand new saloon carpet, installing a super gimbal cooker and repairing the upper washboard, there are yet a further seventeen jobs needing attention!
Some of these maintenance tasks require considerable physical effort, for example, removing numerous layers of encrusted paint from twin bilge keels before applying insulating paint, or sanding teak rubbing strakes, hatch surrounds and grab handles prior to an application of teak oil, but even before attention can be given to them, the materials and tools have to be acquired and assembled.
There’s a law requiring the addition of further jobs to a list, even before items on it have been crossed through. It’s not surprising on occasions there’s a reluctance to even look at the list. Now and again circumstances seem just right for action: no funerals or weddings, no shopping excursions, no appointments, no reason to go to work, the weather is fine, one is feeling fit – then a commitment is made - tools, bits and pieces, food and drink are thrown into the car. If you are in too much of a hurry, the ladder is left behind, which means surreptitiously finding a spare one which has not been locked under the yacht of an unsuspecting owner.
Then comes the nitty-gritty, getting down to detail with whatever preparations need to be done, whether it be chiselling out fine crazing in gel coat before infilling and putting unsightly imperfections to right, or lovingly sanding bright wood prior to applying the first coat of varnish which has suitably been thinned with turpentine.
At the end of the day, a rumbling stomach is a reminder of the need for replenishment in the form of a hearty meal. While driving home, a glance in the mirror brings a shock of horror; hair is uncombed and full of sawdust; the brow is streaked with gel coat, and a further examination reveals trousers stained with varnish.
But when the meal is finished, there’s a glow of contentment and a twinkle in the eye. It was all worthwhile and when shall I do it again?