Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I’m back on Andante after a nice holiday at home. Santa was very generous this year.
There are only a few more jobs to complete in the yard before getting underway early next week. The weather forecast for the next couple of days looks pretty sloppy so we’ll most likely stay put until Tuesday. Then we’ll relocate to an anchorage a few miles south of here in downtown Beaufort for fuel, water, and last minute supplies.
After that we’ll move to Cape Lookout to wait for appropriate weather to head south. At this point the first anticipated stop is about 85 miles away in Southport, NC at the mouth of the Cape Fear River. From there its another easy sail to Charleston, SC. That seems to be the best location for a jump to the Bahamas — but the Covid situation is changing rapidly.
The initial to-do list created just after we brought Andante home was pretty overwhelming. The list was huge and there were numerous jobs that I didn’t yet know how to even begin. And just when it seemed like things were going well, tasks were added to the list faster than I could cross them off.
Over the past couple of months notable progress has been made. I’ve been able to complete most of the significant structural, mechanical and safety items. Now the focus can shift to helping Andante look her best and making her as comfortable and livable as possible. Fortunately most jobs of that flavor can be done away from the boatyard at a more leisurely pace. I’m looking forward to that.
Many of the remaining jobs can be divided into inside and outside work. So on a recent sunny day I stripped and sanded and varnished. And when it rained over the weekend I repaired some canvas and worked on a few galley projects. And I’m constantly rearranging things below to maximize storage space — and trying to keep a list of where I hid everything so I can find it again later.
I do my best to take care of Andante because I’m counting on her to take care of me. For whatever reason not every boat receives the same level of care and attention. In fact, walking around the boatyard can be a bit depressing sometimes. Mixed in with boats that are clearly headed for sea are an astounding number likely headed for the scrapyard. I’m not one to get emotional over a junkyard full of cars — but its sad to think that each of these old boats was once somebody’s dream.
I’ve been terrible about posting while ashore. Perhaps its because I don’t anticipate the mundane yard work is of general interest. Or maybe I’m just exhausted every evening. Regardless, I haven’t been doing a very good job of sharing information.
I could probably fill you in on everything that has happened until now but that would be too much information. So this entry will share a few highlights from the past month and I’ll do my best to post more frequently going forward.
Probably the biggest highlight for me was flying home for Thanksgiving. It was nice to see Nicholas and those other people. I was particularly thankful this year for carbohydrates and cranberry sauce.
Much has been going on in the boatyard over the past month. The removal and application of bottom paint went smoothly. A full strip to bare gelcoat and epoxy barrier coat and fairing may still be in Andante’s future but that would have been overkill this year. Thanks for your input on colors: She looks great with her new green bottom.
The two other big jobs I was looking forward to were the replacement of the steering chain and cable (and two worn sheaves) and installation of new engine control cables. The steering work was much easier to accomplish on land than in the water. But boy was it messy. And cramped. And did I mention messy?
But after dreading it for months it was strangely enjoyable to do and very satisfying to complete. And given the critical importance of both steering and engine control and the unknowns of 30+ years of stainless steel crevice corrosion, getting these jobs done is a real confidence boost as I contemplate heading further offshore.
Every day here is full of little jobs too numerous to relate. For example, today I climbed the mast (twice) to fix a navigation light that was acting erratically. And replaced screws in the starboard chainplate covers. And prepared to sew new zippers on the bimini. And inventoried the supply of flares and smoke canisters.
A few of the more notable jobs over the past month (defined as those for which I took photos) included removal of a 25 gallon water tank to free up some prime storage space, cleaning and polishing the prop, and installing a new seawater foot pump in the galley to save water when washing dishes.
Schedule update: I’ll be in NC until a few days before Christmas and will return to NC a few days after Christmas. Weather permitting, I hope to cast off and begin heading south again shortly thereafter. There will be a few days of fueling and watering and provisioning in Beaufort before we head out into the Atlantic.