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06 December 2013

Getting The Boat Ready For Cruising: Our Checklist

Scott gets back to New Zealand next week and the first thing he is going to want to do, after taking a nap (those 28 hour flights are exhausting), will be to go see the boat. Because I like to be super organized (but rarely put any of my plans into action), I've put together a handy-dandy checklist for getting the boat ready to start cruising full-time this summer.

1.  Check that the dinghy doesn't have any holes.

The dinghy has been sitting in the dinghy racks all winter and looked a little sad and deflated last time I saw her. So we'll need to blow her up again and hope that she stays inflated. It would be a real bummer if our summer plans were held up because we couldn't actually row out to see our boat on the pile moorings. It is a new dinghy so it shouldn't be a problem. Unlike our old dinghy which tried to drown itself by letting air out of its seams. Leaving the bung out of the bunghole out didn't help either. There was rum involved. That's all I'm saying.

2.  Check to make sure the bad guys haven't broken in and stolen anything from our boat.

We've heard that there have been problems with this in the past at our marina, but as ours isn't the flashest boat in the marina, hopefully, if there are any bad guys out there (or gals - I'm all for equal opportunities, even for criminals), they'll have skipped right over Rainbow's End and targeted a flash launch. For the most part, we did take anything tempting out of the cockpit lockers and from inside the boat before we put the boat away for the summer, so fingers crossed what we did leave in the boat is still there.

3.  Check the mooring lines.

This is assuming the boat is still attached to the mooring lines and hasn't drifted out to go say "hiya" to the neighboring boats. I imagine the marina would have contacted me if our boat had gone rogue? I think we're responsible for our mooring lines, so we should do a once over and make sure everything looks secure. Mooring our boat when the wind isn't in our favor is hard enough as it is (which seems to happen 80% of the time when we come in), the last thing I want to worry about is that our mooring lines are shot and we don't have any lines to pick up to moor our boat.

4.  Check the bilge for water.

Maybe this should be higher up on the list as water inside your boat is bad. Basically you take up the carpet and the floor boards and have a peek inside.

5.  Check that the engine turns on. 

Please let it turn on. We really don't want to put any money into this boat as we'll be selling her at the end of the summer, so fingers crossed the engine enjoyed her winter slumbers and is ready to come out and play this summer.

6.  Check her bottom and get her cleaned up.

I've already got the boat booked in at the Floating Dock at Westhaven marina next weekend to get her hauled out and cleaned off. I'm sure everything is fine down below, but it is always comforting to have a look and make sure some naughty dolphins didn't swim by and chew a giant hole in the hull. And it is just way too cold here to dive in and check ourselves.

7.  Check our LPG tank and connections.

I can't remember when we last topped up with LPG and if we need more. Maybe Scott remembers. I think last time we just waited until it ran out and that was our clue that we needed more. We probably need a better system. Because a morning without coffee on our boat is like a little glimpse into what hell must be like. We'll need to check to make sure the LPG still works and I think you're also supposed to check the connections to make sure there aren't any leaks as this stuff is dangerous. Apparently, you make up some mix of dishwashing liquid and water and paint it on the connections. I'm not really looking forward to this as it requires crawling into the quarter berth area which makes me a little claustrophic. But as Scott is the one that has to carry the tank to the petrol station to get it refilled (we don't have a car), then I guess I have to do some icky jobs too. {Sigh}

8.  Check to make sure the systems are working.

We aren't a high-tech boat, so we just need to check the VHF radio is still working and that the Navman chart plotter and fish finder are still operational. We had some problems with VHF reception in certain areas last summer which we'll need to do something about. And the transducer for the Navman is a bit fiddly and Scott will need to give it a once over. We have it in a plastic ring in some water set on some rocks in the bilge. Quite a bizarre set-up but it works (most of the time anyway). And probably most important is checking the CD player. The boat actually came with a pretty good sound system and cockpit speakers which was a super-duper bonus.

9.  Check the water bladder and pump.

We'll need to fill up our water bladder and make sure everything is working okay with it and the electric pump which pumps water to the sink. I actually have no idea how we would get water from the bladder to the sink if the pump broke down. Must investigate.

10.  Repair the mainsail.

We have a small tear in our mainsail so I'm going to try to do some patchwork on it. Requires a lot more research on my part as I don't have a clue how to do this. But I figure rather than pay someone a lot of money to put a patch on for us (and we're definitely not buying a new sail), I should at least try to give it a go.

11. Check for funky smells and clean the boat.

When we bought our boat she had been sitting for quite some time unused and it was a pleasant surprise to find that there wasn't any problem with mold. Hopefully, it is odor free again. But I'll do the usual cleaning routine with vinegar and bleach.

12. Check for ants.

We had ants last year. We killed them. Hopefully, they haven't returned. At least they don't have cockroaches here. I hate those. Ants are positively delightful in comparison.

I'm sure there are a million other things we should be doing, so all suggestions welcome.

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This is our old dinghy - the one that tried to drown itself. It had a hard bottom which was nice and made it easier to row. Not that I know anything about rowing. But that's what Scott says. He also says things like, "Don't you want to take a turn rowing?" And then I say, "My, what strong biceps you have. You're so manly. Must be all that rowing." And then he happily rows me around. A little flattery goes a long way. By the way, don't be deceived by the outboard on the dinghy. We rarely use it. It is a real pain to lift down from the boat.

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