Table of Contents

  1. Moving aboard
  2. Setting priorities
  3. Make it yours
  4. Introduce yourself
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Moving aboard

Over the course of the past few days, we have been slowly moving our gear aboard. This is a challenge in itself without also trying to become ethical sailors, which means the following:

  • eliminating single use items such as Ziploc bags and investing in food-grade silicone storage bags
  • using reef-safe cleaning products (sunscreen, shampoo, soaps, detergents)
  • making use of whatever Bill has left behind (tools, plates, rechargeable batteries)

Countless decisions are being made as we merge and edit, purge and wedge, rinse and repeat. In other words, we are continuing what we started with our home in 30-weeks to minimalism and applying it to our boat, hopefully within a week or two.

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Setting priorities

When we were in Florida, we had a few days and a lot of boat to clean.

Andrew and I approached this much as you might when moving into a new apartment or house. We wanted to have a place of sanctuary so that even if the entire place is in chaos over the span of a few weeks, we’ll have one room that we can shut the doors and escape from the mayhem.

Our sanctuary was the aft cabin (or master bedroom). We vacuumed and wiped down what seemed like 30 years of grime. Practically every surface was made of teak, so we wiped with a wet sponge followed by a dry rag. This approach would have to suffice until we could locate Murphy’s Oil Soap and lemon oil as suggested by Cruising World to do every six months. Sailing Eurybia prefers tung oil finishes and provides a comparison of the properties of tung, teak and walnut oils. The Boat Galley also has a two-parter on cleaning teak and finishing teak, which we may tackle further down the road.

Speaking of teak, we also discovered that a half inch of rod was protruding from the hinge and scraped jagged lines into the wood as the bed was being raised by the hydraulic thrusters.

The next room to tackle was the head (or bathroom). Imagine laboring in sauna-like conditions for 8 plus hours and not showering. In the past, we have relied on baby wipes while camping, but I think even this is too much to expect from a baby wipe.

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Make it yours

Buying a used boat “as is” means not having a blank canvas with which to work. While the color palette has been chosen (a classic forest green), we have an opportunity to soften and personalize the space to suit our sensibilities with neutral tones, declutter the sightlines and update the look while complementing the significant investment already made in long-lasting Sunbrella fabrics.

Maintain comfort
Sleep well

Andrew believes airflow and firm support is paramount to restful slumber. Since people spend a third of their lives asleep (one quarter for me), it makes sense to focus some effort to improve or replace a 15-year old foam mattress. So he will tackle a DIY upgrade to the heavy, one-inch plank as well as the mattress, which comprises our bed.

As we go through this phase of moving in, I am reminded of the whiteboard and the goals we listed. We made a conscious effort a couple years ago to change our life and to fill our time with what is important to us. The whiteboard has become our touchstone that allows us to keep ourselves focused as you have witnessed these past few months.

Photo by Touchstone Pictures
Photo by Touchstone Pictures

The trick to overcoming buyer’s remorse is to have a plan. Pick one room and make it yours. Go slowly through the house. Be polite, introduce yourself, so it can introduce itself to you. ~ Frances Mayes, Under the Tuscan Sun

Introduce yourself

I am reminded of the scene from Under the Tuscan Sun, when Frances (played by Diane Lane) decided to buy and restore a run-down villa in Tuscany, where she has inherited ten thousand empty wine bottles, one grape, every issue of La Nazione printed in 1958, and assorted previous tenants.

As I wipe each surface, I take my time imagining the stories these walls could tell. With each layer of crud that I scrape up, I appreciate the craftsmanship and detail underneath. But when I vacuumed the carcasses of assorted previous tenants, I blanched at the sight, blasted a cloud of diatomacous earth, and imagine future critters shriveling up within their exoskeletons.

Never lose your childish enthusiasm, and things will come your way. ~ Katherine, Under the Tuscan Sun

I must admit that I have a tiny bit of new-boat envy. Instagram snaps of sparkling brightwork - varnished wood, polished exposed metal - are not my reality, at least not yet. And then I assure myself, we will get there one day.

With patience and a little elbow grease, the wood will be revitalized, the rust will fade, and Rachel J Slocum’s glory will be restored.

Thanks for reading!

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