July 2021 Newsletter

 Dear Friends:

The loud bang, bang, bang of hammer hitting steel, the shrill screeching of a jigsaw grinding through thick timber, the occasional curse, North Cove isn’t quiet today. Sahula is on the tidal grid for her once every five-year total hull inspection and refit. Not only are my ears assaulted by the noises emanating from inside her, but my sense of organization is shot to h---.  Everything that was inside her 40-foot-long hull, everything we need for sailing, for living, for pleasure, (probably far more than we actually need,) has been removed and dumped inside my 11 meter by 3 meter work shop. Unceremoniously!  No sense of order at all! The pile stretches the length of the shop and stands more than a meter high.

And when will it all go back inside the boat? Not until every inch of the inside of the hull has been inspected, any rust ground away and then the bare spots refinished with three coats of epoxy. That could take a month, six weeks, who knows! A six weeks with my shop in chaos, the boat unusable, my partner grumpy and often covered in either sawdust, rust, or paint. And me faced with the work of encouraging him, urging him onward. Then, when all the paint is set, my work begins. Together we will over each item in the shop and decide if it needs cleaning, repairing and if we really need it to go back on board.

That is the part I least look forward to. I tend to be a minimalist, someone who is willing and ready to throw away anything that has not been used in the past year, anything that can easily be replaced. David thinks everything might come in handy as soon as it has been discarded. So, there will be some grumbling, I’ll try to sneak a few things into the trash can when he isn’t looking. He’ll check the trash cans knowing my penchant for “simplifying.”

I know this is all a necessary part of owning an offshore sailboat. And when I feel at all grumbly about the mess that means we definitely will not be out sailing for the next few months, I recall the highlights Sahula has shown us. There were clear nights when we reached along with the sails filled by warm tradewinds through seas which glowed with bioluminescence, the sparkling green rivaling the sparkling white of stars over our heads: there were special days when we were warmly welcomed by villagers who soon became friends, such as those on the tiny islands in the north of Vanuatu; there was the fun of taking David’s daughters and various friends out for a day of sailing, skin diving, feasting and laughter when we voyaged along the coast of Australia and of course the camaraderie and excitement of anchoring right near the finish line for the America’s Cup races just 25 miles south of Kawau after we returned to New Zealand.

Memories begin to fill my mind as I listen to the racket filtering into my office as work proceeds on Sahula’s outfitting. And promises too. The promise of late winter run-aways on board towards the hidden coves north of Whangerei, a springtime jaunt to the Mercury Islands. My mind slowly accepts that this is one of those “this too shall pass” moments. Though the end of the mess and noise and grumbling is no where in sight, I know that within the next weeks, hopefully not months, I will once again be afloat around Kawau.