The Stewart family buy a boat, jack it all in and go sailing!

More setbacks

Matt and I both know that pretty much anything to do with boats gets delayed, takes longer and costs more than you expect.   So we  were  annoyed – but not surprised – when the boatyard called this week to say we weren’t being hauled out next week as arranged.

The yard lady was apologetic but adamant, and duly noted Matt’s reasons why we were so keen not to lose out spot: we had a surveyor arranged for the Monday as soon as the boat was on the hard,  Matt had taken leave from work to get the boat scrubbed and painted in the allotted 4 days, we currently still have an alternative place to live (which we won’t very soon) and, most important, his dad and mum were driving the 10 hours from Hervey Bay to help us that week!

Hope we get this many helpers

Apparently this is happening all the time at the moment; people are being bumped and schedules being hastily rearranged.  Cyclone Debbie has a lot to answer for.  There are mutterings of unscrupulous owners stretching things out while on the insurers coin, but I can’t see how; surely insurers are even more careful with their money that the rest of us?  Anyway, I offered to phone the yard and add my two-penn’orth, but Matt hastily declined.  Hmm, not sure why!  So next week we suddenly have a whole 4 days stretching ahead of us with, luxuriously, nothing to fill it.   Of course, we have plenty to fill it, and jobs have rushed in to fill the vacuum, but it gave a brief illusion of breathing space.

The most important of these is to finish packing up the house.  We currently have an awful lot of cardboard packing boxes around the house (mainly in places where you fall over them at night).  These boxes are split into 3 categories, stuff to give to Vinnies (St Vincent de Paul Charity Shop), slightly better items to sell at our garage sale in a couple of weeks, and finally, stuff to store.  So that if/when we come back in 12 months, we don’t have to start totally from scratch.  This last category is piling up as we have nowhere to store them.  The plan is that Matt will partition off part of of our 4-bay shed so we can use one bay for storage, and hopefully this is something he and his dad can do next week.  Then we can get the boxes out of the house, and move from room to room in a direct line and without navigating a waist-high cardboard maze.

Our packing up has been further delayed by the fact that I’ve been working.  I work occasionally as a casual in our two local libraries.  Sometimes it’s extremely busy and we’re rushed off our feet: still, I struggle to see it as work.  It’s a joy to be surrounded a) by books and b) by people who want to talk about them.  As I used to work fulltime at the school library, my casual work was limited to the occasional Saturday and holiday cover.  The gap between these stints would usually be just long enough to ensure I’d have time to forget everything I learned the previous time I worked.  But happily, all the regular staff at the two libraries are fabulous to work with, and kindly overlook my errors and fumbling with the computer system .  So I worked 3 days in the first week of the school hols and 2 days this week, the last week of the hols.  I love it, plus it tops up our sailing fund (“cruising tokens”,  as Lin and LarryPardy call it).  However, working 8-5 doesn’t leave much time for doing jobs at home, as I’m sure many a working parent would attest.

These two factors – the yard postponing and me working – have left a bit of a question mark over our departure date.  Although we are still planning to have the house available to let on the 1st August (it’s now 8th July).  We’re not in a hurry to go anywhere once we’re on board, so that’s ok.  However, the biggest setback is we had the rigging checked this week., and it was bad news.  Expensive news.

Iron Will is an older boat (launched in 2001 but the build started in 1981!).  A boat’s rigging is constantly working when it’s in the water, lots of constant tiny stresses even as it rocks in a marina berth.  We knew one of the swages (where the wire shroud, holding up the mast, joins the deck) had a crack and needed replacing.

This is one of the reasons we didn’t sail, only motored, on our inaugural family passage to a local anchorage.   However, the riggers report shows we need to replace ALL the shrouds.  They’re too busy with cyclone work, and it is something Matt and I can do.  The trick is to replace them  just two at a time apparently! However, even without the labour costs of taking off the old and installing the new, it’s going to set us back $10,000 to have the replacement shrouds manufactured.  That’s a lot of money for us.


(No not our actual rigging.  Thankfully.)

It seems crazy that we’re rushing, rushing to move on board so that we can do nothing!   Our priority right now is to get the house earning its keep.  And we know that once we’re on board, we want life to slow right down so we can just enjoy our life, our family, for one precious, fleeting year.We are quite philosophical.  We got this beautiful boat for a very fair price, and this just effectively bumps up the price by $10k.  Boats are beasts that need constant outlay.  The delay?  Our marina berth is booked until 15th August, and that’s when we’re leaving it.  It’s been awesome having Iron Will in the marina while we move stuff off the boat, tinker with systems, clean and move our belongings on.  But we have no desire to sit in the most expensive marina in Australia for a day longer than we have to.  So there’s a good chance we’ll sit at anchor in the little bay in front of Airlie Beach for a while, til we get the rigging sorted.  But that’s ok.