Our Dream

Today I checked the countdown timer app on my phone – 166 days to go to the event I titled Honeymoon Circumnavigation.

166 days and counting by the minute! So much to do, so much money to spend and so little time to have it all completed.

The past five years have been a whirlwind of learning sailing terminology, learning to sail, and learning sail maintenance. It is a never-ending list of learning new things. Getting around on such a small space, where and how to store things which you may or may not need and so many darn checklists! I’ve been reading lots of information on what you should or shouldn’t do. Some of it very useful, some of it just confuses me more than ever!

The 2020/2021 DBCYA wet season races saw us win our division. A major goal achieved for Emma Ward. She is now emblazoned on the Board for all to see at the club. Such a proud moment and a consolidation of our combined sailing experiences over the past five years.

Emma Ward on the Board

So now we turn our attention to the next 166 days. It’s all about maintenance, maintenance, maintenance. Let’s start with the windows, ‘cause that has been one huge, ongoing drama. We’ve always had issues with the windows leaking from time to time. A few years ago, we had resealed them, which wasn’t overly neat and tidy, but it did the job at that point. Fast forward to now, we decided to go ahead and have the windows replaced as the leaks were still an issue and knowing that our trip was looming, we didn’t want the windows to become a major impediment when sailing in the Southern Ocean. I could go on and write a whole article on the window drama suffice to say, they are nearly complete and looking fabulous.

Having installed new windows, which look fabulous from the outside, then prompted us to contemplate the mess from the inside. We thought about getting frames around them, at a considerable expense. Trying to complete various tasks with the least possible effect on the hip pocket, we decided to have no frames around the windows. This then meant we needed to clean up and sand (oh god), then repaint around them. Cleaning and sanding …. I’m not even going there with the amount of mess that created. It brought tears to my eyes – not due to the dusty windows. Sanding and painting. Sanding and painting.. Task done. The interior of Emma Ward is white. Quite an easy colour to match, you would think? Well not so. We first painted her five years ago upon purchase and took her décor out from the seventies into the modern era. Over time and much sailing use, there was evidence of touch ups which needed attending to. Well, with the left-over paint and the need to have a seamless clean refreshed look, we painted and made good a few extra surfaces. Which then led to having to sand and reoil the wood parts, including the new support beams we had installed.

Tick. Major task complete and looking good. The next major task, cleaning out the hatches. Take everything out, scrub the hatch, wipe down clean each item and only put back what is necessary and useful for our trip, name each hatch and record what goes back inside. Literally, I was head down bum up for about a week contorting myself into various poses which would make a yoga instructor proud.

Bum up

Two weeks of sanding, cleaning, painting, scrubbing every damn inch of our new home, she is just about ready for living aboard.

Then comes the kicker. Due to Emma Ward’s age, she now needs an out of water survey to make good on her insurance. This is most definitely the last thing we need at this point in time. Breathe deep. It’ll be fine. A crazy unaccounted-for expense. However, as the Captain points out, this is a positive as when we set off, we will know she is seaworthy and as safe as can be. Another thing to tick off.

One other thing we have achieved is the use of the starboard water tank.  When we bought Emma Ward the previous owners told us that there had been diesel in the starboard water tank and so it was unusable. 

We thought about this but there was no way to check as we could only get whatever was in the tank pumped out via the main water system.  After much thinking we came up with a plan to install a deck wash pump near the tank, re-route the tank to the new pump and see what was inside.

We had this done at the marina and turns out there was a lot of sludge and some type of cleaner in the tank.  Once this was removed and with a couple of flush throughs the water appeared ok.

So, we put a heap of Milton purifying tablets in the tank, and we are currently flushing this through.  So far, the water coming out looks and smells ok and we have acquired a whole new 260 litre water tank.  We may or may not be able to drink the water only time will tell but we sure can use it for other things like cleaning the anchor when it drags up half the mud on the sea floor.

So, what are the big purchases left to do? Buy wet weather gear and a life raft are probably the two biggies, oh and a laptop. We are still waiting on the bill for the windows.

What’s on the checklist? Organise the house, and complete general scheduled maintenance on Emma Ward.

Will she be ready in 166 day?

Will we be ready in 166 days?

Tick….Tick ….Tick.