28 January 2016 | Hemel Hempstead
This was supposed to have been my last year. My last year of responsibilities and work; my last year in the rat race I have grown to loathe (with a vengeance). But it seems we live in an era of moving goal posts.
Not so long ago, we were encouraged to bugger off/retire sooner rather than later. Manpower overheads had to be reduced so the navy could invest in more all singing/all dancing military hardware. And I was not opposed to this, on the contrary. I was (and remain) ready to welcome early retirement with open arms.
One offspring is about to leave home, and the other one is not lagging far behind, and last but not least: I want to go sailing! I have spent years/a decade preparing for it and I am ready to go. I enjoy foreplay, but at some point I do expect to fuck.
I am probably lumbered with one extra year, but after that... I'm not staying - come hell or high water. By and large I have enjoyed what I did/do, but lately it is having a detrimental effect on my health. I still have lots of ambitions, but dropping dead on my job isn't one of them.
With an imminent departure on the horizon, what about the boat? One reason/excuse I keep dragging myself out of bed for every working day was this: 'the boat isn't ready yet'.
I will never sail my perfect boat - it would take too long. What good is my perfect boat to me when I am too old and too decrepit to enjoy her once she is mine?
Instead, I am now focussing on my 'I'm going sailing boat' and what does she really need? Two things really: an electric windlass with assorted new ground tackle and a new starboard water tank.
- The lumps of rusted metal hiding in the anchor well aren't really up to the job. We plan to live off the hook most of the time and I'm not about to put our floating home at risk. The current manual windlass is still in working order, but I risk a heart attack every time we weigh anchor. The old CQR is also being replaced by either a Rocna or a Manson Supreme.
- The stainless starboard water tank has a leak. It's beyond welding. And even if it could be welded, there is no guarantee another seam will not need welding at some time in the future. It's coming out and being replaced by a moulded plastic tank. We are not fitting a water maker (these things seem too expensive and too prone to mishaps to me), so just the port water tank of 200Ltr is insufficient for ocean crossings.
If - BIG if - funds allow, I will have the fridge looked at (and serviced) before we leave. At the moment it's still doing what I expect of it and it will have to do - for now.
Quotes are being sought and yards are being talked to, but I am confident the old girl will be ready to go by early May (of this year!!).
'Then what?' I hear you ask. Well, this may not be the year in which we leave these shores of work and responsibility behind us forever, but it will be a year in which we move the boat as far West and as far South as possible.
Biscay this year!!! Where there is a will, there is a way.