Living on the Learning Curve!
18 July 2015
I knew, when we were left back in February that taking over the management of the boat with the children was going to be a steep learning curve.
I thought back then that all the learning was going to be about the sailing and travelling. It turns out that the biggest issue relates not so much to the sailing aspects of the cruising life but the maintaining of the vessel!
It seems since February that well over half our time has been spent working on the boat – and the other half writing about it! One day we might even get to sail again!
It’s a steep learning curve, all this work, because so much of it has either not been done for a long time or done ineffectively meaning that it looks good temporarily but needs to be re-done properly.
We knew when we bought Argos that she had been sailing around the world and was well up to the kind of sailing we had envisaged doing. We also could see that she hadn’t been lived on for quite some time and attended to a lot of repairs in the plumbing department and general live-ability of her. I remember when we first arrived in Albany to collect her, we had the idea that she was ready to go and so were we! Oh dear! We were incredibly naïve.
She was nowhere near ready to cruise and we were even less ready to sail the Southern Ocean in her!
To a certain extent I think we remained very naïve.
We spent most of the last 3 ½ years doing more sailing than maintenance and while we thoroughly enjoyed the travelling and the places we went to, the fact is, Argos has suffered hugely as a result.
Because I know that there is so much I don’t know about the boat, I find myself asking a lot of questions. Watching other people doing jobs on their boats and asking why they do things the way they do, why they use that particular tool, why that particular paint etc.
I am so glad that we ended up coming back to Boatworks to get the repairs done and once again I find myself to be like a dry sponge, soaking up all that I can! It’s like when we were here before except that this time we are at stage two of our learning rather than stage one and we are able to add to the skills and knowledge we gained last time!
This time we have added skills like sanding and really good surface preparation to our repertoire and have learned so much more about painting techniques that I have decided to repaint the hull while we are waiting for the parts to come that we need to repair the boat.
There is so much to learn and so much to do and I must admit that there are times when I feel a little overwhelmed. One thing I am appreciating is that when so little maintenance has been done for so long that we will, for a while, have a great deal to do. But in time it will ease off. There will come a day when the big and small jobs will have been done and there really will be only every-day maintenance tasks to perform, regularly.
The verdict on the boat by the way was that the prop shaft had been bent by the pressure put on the prop. A new shaft had to be ordered and we await its arrival. It will need some machining and then we will be able to have it refitted.
There was damage to the hull and that has been repaired, and we will have the electrical systems, house battery bank etc work begun tomorrow.
In the meantime we have completely restored the shower base and sides. I stripped it back to the base with my new orbital sander and resealed and repainted. It’s been a big job but it is looking awesome.
Erina has been painting all the woodwork on deck – of which there is a great deal. She got some advice about how we had been doing it all these years. We ditched the old method which wasn’t achieving the results we would like and she has stripped things back, sanded, sealed, and varnished the wood so that it is all looking so beautiful. We had only just re-oiled it all two months ago – so the hope is that this time around the work will result in loveliness that actually lasts.
One thing we are learning is how important it is to know what we can learn and what jobs need to be done by a professional. With the electrical system I am happy to defer to someone who has spent years learning and equipping themselves to know what is right and what is good. Likewise with the engine. These are areas I am happy to let go of the need to manage myself. I know what I can learn and I happily am managing painting and taking care of a lot of the maintenance.
I am also happy to have been able to get another solar panel installed while I have been here – and have been able to have a frame made so it will sit safely out on my davits. This new panel means we are very self-sufficient and will rarely need to run the generator.
We expect to remain at Boatworks another week. We do feel rather like we have moved in! We have made some lovely new friends and built on some old friendships.
We continue to live and learn and love our life on Argos even if it is sometimes hard climbing up the learning curve we have been on! The results are most definitely worth it.
Argos does require a lot of work but she is so worth it.