Every cruiser-to-be has got one of these: the List. The list of things to get done on the boat. A copy of our list hangs next to the computer where we sit several times each day. Of course, in order to fit it on one printed page the font is 1.5 pt or something like that which renders it virtually unreadable. But if we squint we can remind ourselves of how close — or how far– we are to setting off in a year. And there is nothing more satisfying than taking a black pen and drawing a line through a finished to-do. Well, maybe except for drawing a squiggly line across it, which means it’s been scratched as a to-do entirely.
On our list, these items are given one of the following priorities:
1 – safety issues that must be done before takeoff
2 – high priority maintenance/improvements
3 – general maintenance/improvements
4 – would be nice.
Up at the top there we have items like “replace seals on windlass,” “purchase life raft,” and “install new non-skid on companionway ladders.” Our #2s are things like “replace wooden blocks” (charming, but heavy as bricks), “rebuild head,” and “sea water foot pump.” #3s are things like new canvas, and #4s are items such as “VSD water pump.”
Of course, these priorities change constantly; for example that VSD fresh water pump just got moved up to a #2 while we’ve been getting ready to live aboard. Our older water pump sounds like a jack jammer has been set loose in the bilge so we’ve decided it’s worth the extra $200 right now for nice silent fresh water delivery like we installed on Rivendell. And other items get moved around too like this.
Our goal when planning our projects for the month, also taking cash and time flow into consideration, is to tackle the jobs at the top — the #1s. For instance, we have “Install new 55lb Delta anchor” up at the top; but our 45 lb CQR is more than adequate for our easy NW summer cruising we’ll be doing this year so this one will wait until next year. Next up in line is to haul all our chain onto the dock and use florescent paint to mark it into 50′ sections (we have been just guessing how much is out by checking how much is left in the chain locker but this probably isn’t a great long term solution). “Install netting on lifelines” is likely the next to get checked off as this will offer up more security for our two very mobile and active girls.
That’s the plan anyway. The two projects currently underway are replacing a bit of rot on the under side of our bowsprit with West Systems epoxy and installing a new holding tank for living aboard. Michael had discovered some rotten wood underneath the bow roller which got top priority as replacing the whole 8 foot sprit didn’t sound appealing if we ignored it. And the marina wasn’t on board with our “removable” holding tank (i.e. the 5-gallon gas can the head drains into) that some creative former owner thought of. So these two projects got pushed to the top.
The problem, as seems to happen with every to-do list I’ve ever had, is that these two items weren’t actually on the list.
So, when we sat down to review our boat to-dos last night, joyously checking off a few items that had been completed last month, we really didn’t want to add these items and actually bring the list to page number two.
The answer was simple: “install pencil holder” got squigglied.