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

The Never-Ending Story

I thought we’d left “To Do” lists behind in our land-based, 9-5 jobs. Nope. Boats have to be the WORST for generating endless lists of Stuff To Do.

We generally have a few on the go; Matt’s To Do List, Bel’s To Do List, Things When At Anchor, Things When Next In Port, Non-Urgent Things For Next Year … you get the idea.

We’ve currently been working through the Things To Do in Port list. We’ve been looking at power issues, getting the generator exhaust machined/repaired (we ended up having a whole new one fabricated), picking up the mainsail with new sliders sewn in plus the repaired mainsail boom bag, procuring and fitting a new starter motor to replace the worryingly erratic old one, and finally, finally, getting our rigging finished.

This is a biggie for us: we may, at some point in the very near future, actually be able to sail.

The old standing rigging was the original from when the boat was built and was probably about 20 years old. The shrouds and stays were getting a bit long in the tooth and, when we had the rigger over for a look when we first took delivery of the boat a few months ago, had him shaking his head and sucking his teeth. Not fit for purpose, quite possibly dangerous. And this from a specialist who didn’t want the business, was completely maxed out following Cyclone Debbie and was also a friend. So we listened.

Insurers also usually require rigging less than 10 years old, so we set about replacing it, plus fixing and replacing some cracked and dodgy bits on the mast and spreaders. Plus new deck lights on the spreaders. Plus new nav lights. Plus new sheaves (the wheels at the top where your ropes go through). Plus some new halyards (the ropes that pull your sails up the mast). Plus quite a few things.

All that had to be done and now we have a beautiful new rig.

Facebook followers have seen A LOT of photos of Matt or A. N. Other at the top of the mast, frowning with concentration and clinging on with their knees.  It’s all been worth it – we hope.

Matt was heard singing around the boat recently: “Start spreading the news … our rigging’s finished today …” to the tune of “New York, New York”.

This is in addition to all the other Jobs To Do In Port that we – well, mostly Matt – have been working through. My jobs often consist of keeping the kids occupied and keeping the crew fed and watered.

The kids have been helping too – they’re saving up for a Lego Amazing Dragon Designed To Harness Pester Power To The Max and have been running extra jobs to make money. Tilly has been spending time crouched in the door to the engine room as Matt’s (TA) Trade Assistant and learning her adjustable wrench from her needle-nosed pliers.

Sasha, much to her disgust, has been pressed into service washing up and putting away and has also been learning how to do laundry.

We had a barbecue with another family recently where the 9yo boy was cooking – Sasha thought this was marvellous and got stuck in with him; they wielded tongs and produced the whole meal while we grownups sat and chatted.

It’s felt like quite a family effort, tackling the latest To Do list. We have no doubt that the lists will continue to be generated – we live, after all, on a boat . One that is a) a steely and b) no longer in the first flush of youth.

But we’re quite happy plugging away and live in hope that the lists may grow at a slower rate as time goes on.