Prepare to Set Sail

Obviously, I’m backtracking a teeny-tiny bit…but we couldn’t have skipped across the Atlantic Ocean without being prepared and despite Detour‘s impeccable condition (hopefully fellow boat owners are having a good laugh here), there was a tremendous amount of preparation necessary for boat and crew.

When boat priorities come spewing forth, remember, it’s all part of the journey!

Detour is in constant maintenance mode (sailing the world is all about completing boat projects in exotic locations). We’ve got big ticket items that require planning and often major changes such as our newest gadget, the SSB radio, which has pretty much been in progress for the previous nine-months and continued in progress right down to the wire…

     SSB Radio – opted for an insulated back-stay when we replaced the rig in the Netherlands (Mar2016); pre-ordered used parts from USA (Feb-April2016) which were hand delivered, thanks Bruce & Kath, to us while in Norway (May2016); the radio was installed while in Scotland and England (Sep-Oct2016), then tested by receiving weather faxes en-route to Portugal (Oct2016); the SSB needed a new antenna tuner, special order of course, while in Portugal (Oct2016); while in the Canary Islands we acquired a used pactor modem, thanks S/Y Isabella, which needed special order cables to be correctly installed (Dec2016); registered for SailMail simultaneously while installing pactor modem; set sail with a hopefully working SSB – we continue to learn and troubleshoot; during the passage the SSB provided weather forecasts and email connection to the outside world.

As for the ever-present minor boat items, the ongoing short list; here’s a little sample of what the Atlantic short-list entailed:

scrub/inspect the hull (first use of dive gear prior to Caribbean), inspect rigging (always pre-passage), safety gear (ditch kit, cable cutters), review medical kit, review vaccination records, oil change, transmission fluid change, fuel filter change, install lee cloths (netting) for newfound interior storage spaces, fishing lures, gaff, rod for our reel, spare cooking gas, back-up electronic charts, reactivate SPOT, per insurance requirements install faster gal/min electric bilge pump, repair galley hand pumps for salt and fresh water, dry-erase whiteboard, check the weather!

I group provisioning into boat preparation although it doesn’t require any maintenance, provisioning is a huge time commitment and a huge readjustment of interior spaces to ensure all the new food will fit into the boat.  We’d never fully provisioned Detour because since we’ve moved aboard we’ve never been far from a supermarket.  Now, we had to provision for the Caribbean (knowing from our previous experiences what we’d need on the boat for staple items) and we also had to provision for a month’s time at sea with two additional mouths to feed.  Brian and I had spent hours creating menus, listing ingredients and guesstimating quantities, listing luxury items we’d miss once landed in the islands, listing household cleaning products/paper products/toiletries, and finally executing the provisioning with multiple trips to various supermarkets in various countries with or without the use of a car.  When our crew of Bmac and Bruce arrived, we sat together and created a passage menu, then listed ingredients and quantities, then spent two hours at the supermarket.  We’d bought so much food the supermarket was able to deliver, thank goodness or we might have needed a fleet of taxis!  Provisioning is a story unto itself.

And then, there were crew; flights to arrange, packing lists, arrival/departure locations, and that was just the beginning.  Our friend, Bmac and Brian’s father, Bruce would be moved aboard for the transatlantic passage and we had to prepare ourselves and our living space for two crewmates.  Again, Detour‘s interiors were rearranged to clear the aft cabin and clear a few shelves so each crew member could have his own spaces.

When Detour was ship-shape, full of food, and we’d successfully lost many of our personal items into new spaces we were ready to set sail!  Well, after a bit more exploring too of course because the Canary Islands are just too fun to even want to leave!