Entropy is one of the laws of the universe and it most certainly applies to boats – the more you don’t use them, the more they fall to bits. The reverse doesn’t apply however, if you do take them out and use them, then they wear out! There is no escape. The only part of your boat that these immutable laws don’t apply to, is of course, the “to-do list”. If your boat sits out on the mooring, or in its berth for weeks on end, the to-do list just gets longer, and if you boat gets out to your favourite anchorages on a regular basis, the to-do list also gets longer.
Only two things can change the length of your to-do list. Time and money. Throw enough time and money at your boat and it not only gets cleaner and shinier, the to-do list shrinks somewhat. Money, of course is a finite resource. There is only so much of it left after all the bills and living expenses have been paid to go toward boat maintenance and boat enjoyment. Paradoxically, the more we work to earn the dollars to fix the boat, or to improve it, the less time we have to actually spend aboard fixing things, or enjoying the boat.
I have reached the stage of life where money isn’t the big issue that it used to be. The credit card is still a bit of a thorn in my side, but it’s not the mill stone that it once was. The cruising kitty is steadily getting fatter and the bigger projects on the to-do list such as a spray dodger or solar panel arch will be definitely be achievable when the time comes. It’s funny that you when you have the money, you don’t have the time, or you have the time but don’t have the money. At the present time, I don’t have the time and I am sitting here scratching my head wondering why.
The big project at the moment is to get my gearbox fixed. The old Yanmar YSE8 is 40 years old, and whilst it starts first go, everytime, the gearbox isn’t so good. A few months ago, we took it out for a weekend on Brisbane Water and on the way home going up Paddy’ s Channel, we started losing weigh, despite the engine thumping away. Increasing the revs made no difference and La Mouette just ended up drifting along with the tide. Central Coast Marine Rescue ended up towing us back to the marina, and subsequent investigations revealed that the clutch cones were slipping. The telling factor was that the propeller wouldn’t go in forwards but everything worked ok in reverse.
I made the big decision to pull the engine out of the boat to get the gearbox sorted. Whilst it was out, the engine bay could be cleaned up as it is quite grungy at the moment with mould, oil and dirt everywhere. It is also time to clean up the engine bay wiring as it was a mess also, just barely held together with poor crimping. A coat of paint in the engine bay, replace anything that resembles a hose, a coat of paint on the engine plus a service and we would have a near new looking engine bay. That was the plan. Somehow, just trying to find a few weekends in which to get this done is near impossible. So far, I have got a lot of the removable bits on the engine out, such as the starter motor, exhaust elbow etc and it really just needs the prop shaft to be disconnected and lifted out. The gearbox may have to come off to lighten it a bit to get it out of the boat and up onto the dock but that won’t be a big issue.
If we get a free weekend, the weather is so bad that nothing can be done. Did I mention a free weekend, whatever that is. Somehow, the Gods, or Goddesses are amusing themselves by stealing my diary and loading up the weekends. You look ahead to the next month and it looks clear but by the first week of the month all the weekends have been booked out with stuff. It’s time to get ruthless and learn to say no. it’s the only way that the boat is going to get the attention it deserves. Either that or give up work so that I can spend all this glorious time with La Mouette, but then I won’t have any money to get that pesky to-do list shorter. Reminds me of those scams that was going around a few years ago, send $50 for a fool proof method of cutting your electricity bill in half. You send off your fifty bucks and they send you back a pair of scissors!