We came back to Barcelona three weeks ago planning to do "a little" boat work, and then travel more in Spain. But Berkeley East had other plans for us. We actually have "traveled" a lot though - to and from the boat yard, to and from the marine store, the paint store, and a three-hour excursion to find a hardware store that is ten minutes away. Oh, and let's not forget, to and from the ATM. And there have been a lot of "little" boat projects done on Berkeley East, like squeezing into very small spaces to replace pumps that died for no apparent reason. Or spending hours trying to remove tiny corroded screws from the whisker pole to replace an itsy bitsy block.
BE is a moderately large boat with lots of "little" demands that must be met in order for her to move. So when there is no electricity, we can't just call the power company, when the sewer backs up we are the plumbers on call, and when the engine breaks down, we get greasy.
Since our return, BE has received new bottom paint, new wax, her anchor chain has been turned, the bilge has been cleaned and switches rewired, her rig has been checked, hatch boards are being varnished, several pumps have been changed, electronics updated, systems tested, bimini repaired and installed, canvas and cushions waterproofed, and her cabins have been cleaned and reorganized several times to find a better place for my shoes.
We just spent five days trimming the black caulking down on the decks with razor blades and sanding all 54 feet to smooth out high spots in the teak. It is not technical work, but it is very tough on the fingers and back. We are too old to be bent over for hours at a time, but this would be backbreaking work for someone of any age.
Why didn't we hire someone to do the decks as we did some of the other projects, you ask? One reason is that this is the busiest time of year for boat repair here and no one could do the work in time for us to leave on May 1st as planned. How hard could it be anyway? Another reason we took on the task is quite simply that we had not planned deck work this year and two people doing five days of work equals a lot of Euro.
"A BOAT IS A HOLE IN THE WATER INTO WHICH YOU THROW MONEY"
"B.O.A.T. = BRING OUT ANOTHER THOUSAND"
"IF YOU CAN'T TAKE A JOKE, DON'T BUY A BOAT!"
There are many of these amusing little sayings and they are all true. We both learned to love sailing on other people's boats. Larry's dad allowed us to sail with him whenever we wanted, and all we had to do was bring food and wash the boat after. He footed the bill for the boat, the upkeep and the repairs. Thank's Big Lar, we didn't appreciate how good we had it. While we knew boats were hard work and expensive when we bought Berkeley East, we didn't understand the true scope until now. Things break at an amazing rate on a boat. There are currently more than 100 items on the TO DO list for Berkeley East. So if you are thinking about buying a boat and sailing off into the sunset, consider chartering instead. It is easier on your bank account, and much easier on your back.
We have one week left in Barcelona and lots to do in order to leave, least of which is finalizing our cruising plan. With just one month in France, we are not sure how we will manage to tour Provence, visit with friends/neighbors who live in Provence, wine taste in the southern Rhone (Cahtenuf du Pape), hang out in St. Tropez, see the stars at the Cannes film festival, explore Nice, gamble at the Monte Carlo casino, see the Monaco Grand Prix, and sail to the many beautiful coves and islands in the area. Hopefully, Berkeley East will let us break from boat work long enough to "live the dream" just a little.