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To-dos and Honey-dos

by Daria Blackwell

Aleria is resting comfortably in her safe winter quarters, in the yard where her final major refitting will be done by springtime. At least, that’s the plan. 

As with any other year, we have the to-do lists to deal with over the winter.  The lists we started with when we brought her home were daunting.  They never seemed to get shorter, with a new item – or two or five - added as an old one got crossed off, often as a result of a ‘can of worms’ having been discovered while pursuing some seemingly innocuous task. 

Alex and I have done pretty well with division of labor to get the stuff done.  We haven’t always broken it down into ‘pink and blue’ tasks either, although Alex is far more comfortable and adept at the mechanical than I, even though I've taken a diesel mechanics course.  After all, he did grow up on a farm with a tractor, old cars, and multiple boats to keep running.  Nevertheless, we have a general to-do list, and two separate honey-do lists.  We keep our own honey-dos although we occasionally add to each others’ lists as well. 

But one thing that is niggling at me is that it seems by some stroke of unimaginable luck (or hard work) that the lists are getting shorter for the first time.  True there will always be a list, but it seems that this time, there aren’t five things added each time one is checked off.  Perhaps we have looked under enough floorboards, opened enough bulkheads, removed enough headliner panels, and lifted enough chainplates to find the primary sources of evil.  I shudder to think what we may have missed. 

The first year, we spent replacing worn out electrical and mechanical parts – major ones, replacing cushions and canvas, building new sails, and generally completing the ‘must be done for safety’ list. 

The second year, we continued with the mechanical and electrical while tackling the cosmetic work above deck.  I became the sanding, priming and painting queen.  I managed to strip and sand the entire coachroof and cockpit glass area, sand every bit of wood trim that was not deck, and then refinish, alternately with varnish or paint depending on what layer I was working on.  It took all winter but I finished just as we launched for the summer. And she looks beautiful, if I say so myself.

This year, we’ll be replacing the primary 30-year-old Mercedes OM314 marinized truck engine with a shiny new Yanmar, upgrading the running rigging, and painting below decks as well as finishing the topsides coats.  I am gratified in knowing that I won’t have to sand like last year.  I am not sure I could face that again.

So without any real scientific evidence but with a sense of accomplishment mixed with trepidation, I am beginning to believe that we may actually be ready for our world cruise sometime in the near future.  Could it be that our to-do lists are about to transform this winter into to-see lists?

I’ll believe it on the day we cut the ropes. Until then, hi-lo-hi-lo, it’s up the mast we go!

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