Winter To-Do List

Teresa Carey Words 13 Comments


Sailboats require a lot of work to maintain, upgrade, and keep in working condition. I think it’s fairly typical for a liveaboard sailor to spend only ten percent of their time on the boat actually sailing, and that figure might even be generous. The rest of the time is spent living, doing things such as sleeping and cooking. It appears as though I spend a lot of time keeping things organized. And, of course, a significant amount of time is spent working on the boat.

Winter is half over and I haven’t made a dent in my project list. Every weekend I am doing something. I’ve maintained a steady, but slow, pace as I progress through one project then the next. Not only am I working on the boat, but I am also getting an education in the process.

I wish I had a video camera running when I was changing the engine oil. Somehow, and I still don’t know how, but somehow oil ended up on the cabin ceiling as far forward as the salon. It was splattered everywhere, but miraculously not a drop landed on anything fabric, so the cleanup was simple.

I think I have a boat angel on my shoulder. As a newbie liveaboard, I can honestly say I have made many successful improvements to the boat, but (fingers crossed) no set backs…yet.

I met Sara when I first arrived here. Sara is an excellent sailmaker who is teaching me her craft. She has a chilly loft situated right on the ocean above a wooden boat building shop and only a quick bike ride from my boat. When I walk in the door I am always greeted by a bowl full of sweets and a welcoming, sing-song “Hello” from Sara. Sara and I spend our time together listening to the radio, chatting about this or that, and working on our projects.

I enjoy sewing and making things with my own hands, useful things for my boat. But even more, I enjoy sewing with Sara, like I enjoyed shoveling with Grandpa. This is what I see as two important aspects of simple living: sharing time with good folks and learning skills that allow you to be self-reliant.

Here is my most current list of projects I would like to do before I sail this spring.  

Fall/Winter/Spring Boat Project List:

1) strip and Cetol the teak on deck

2) change engine oil

3) winterize engine

4) lower mast and rigging

5) cover boat

6) wax the boat on deck and the topsides

7) take apart and clean the winches

9) sand and varnish wood bookshelf rails

9) fix the head

10) angle the cleats on the boom to have a fair lead

11) make the forward berth cushions

12) replace the broken diamond pad eye on the port quarter

13) repair canvas tears and zipper in dodger

14) replace window in dodger

15) remove extra holding tank and plumbing

16) build secondary anchor chair locker and deck spill pipe

17) connect forward and aft cabin with a tunnel for Dory the cat

18) make a kitty door in the door to the head for Dory the cat

19) make companionway drop screen

20) sew canvas cover for aft cabin companionway

21) make companionway step in aft cabin

22) install clear panels in canvas hatch cover

23) varnish tiller

24) measure and mark anchor rode

25) wax in the swages on the standing rigging

26) sand, paint, name, and install gunwales on dinghy

27) purchase and install solar panel, and build stainless steel tower for them

28) purchase and install monitor and wind vane

29) replace anchor rode with 180ft of anchor chain

30) install two new batteries

31) cover mast with a tarp for winter storage

32) sand, varnish, and install compass rack

33) insulate the lockers for winter

34) split aft cabin cushion into two cushions

35) make and install book shelf rails

36) repair hole in rubber boots

37) varnish interior

38) install battery monitor

39) make shelf in aft cabin

40) cover aft cabin foam cushion

41) install forward shelf

42) make forward berth cushins

43) install and wire inverter

44) install propane sniffer

41) sail south for next winter!


Comments 13

  1. Pawel

    I’m not exactly sure how you got into my RSS reader… but now that you’re here, I will say that your posts are a refreshing break from my usual reading material on start-ups, etc. In fact, I’d say you have your own little start-up going, and I enjoy reading about your adventures. Thank you.


  2. Stuart

    I would say you are right about 10% sailing time being generous. I think 5% would be closer to the mark.

    One of your tasks says, remove holding tank & plumbing. What do you intend on doing with the head?

    Another task, ensure dinghy is working and not leaking air. Are you rowing to and from your boat in an inflatable? I would find that to be somewhat demoralizing. A two sheet plywood dinghy like Phil Bolger’s Tortoise would make life much more pleasant and is very small, when needing to stow on deck.

  3. Douglas

    Ahoy Teresa, Gosh , what a list of things to do !

    At least you are fortunate, to be able to create a list like that, because even that through of list making, is hard to do .

    For your own reasons, you chose a very capable and sea-worthy boat, which if you can complete all those things on your list, you will be sailing into the “Blue Yonder” , and enjoying all that has to offer.

    Unfortunatly , I was not able to complete all the items on my list, before I had to depart, before the weather window, would close.

    As an after thought, I had wished, that I had completed more on the list, before departure, but that was not to be .

    There is a “heap of world” out here waiting for you, and lots of help to get here .

    You, just have to want to do it, more than anything else, and put forth the effort.

    Hope to see you getting your “hit” , and enjoying the “out there” , when summer comes, your way .


  4. Steve

    Hi again Teresa, looks like you are staying pretty busy. Alot of the things on your list you will be able to do even while you are cruising, there is always times at anchor or docked at a marina while waiting on weather to make a passage, or just a cool place that you decide to spend time at. Oh well guess I’m just going on about things you all ready know, I really just stop in to say hi. I hope you make it to a warmer place before next winter, I think you would injoy it alot more, but then what do I know anyway huh lol. Take care silly and stay warm. Fair winds to ya.

    Steve on Sasi.

  5. Post

    Thank you all for you encouragement. My list is long, but I don’t expect to get it all done, and I’m sure my priorities will change as new things arise. Not everything is necessary for me to go cruising. In fact, almost none of it is!

    Oh yea, Stuart…about the dinghy. I don’t have enough money to buy one right now. The inflatable that I have is a hand-me-down and I’m grateful to have it. When the time (and money) comes for getting a new dinghy, I’ll look into the one you suggested. Thank you.


  6. Stuart

    Teresa, the dinghy that I mentioned is usually home built and only takes two sheets of 4×8 plywood to build. The designer Phil Bolger lives in Gloucester, Mass.

  7. matthew

    A lot of those projects really need to be done in warmer weather.
    Unless you have access to a heated garage, shed etc, you don’t want to be sanding or varnishing now.
    The canvas work seems like a good winter project.
    The rest can wait for longer and warmer days.

  8. Lee

    I am so jealous of your Sara! I need to find someone with a loft who will teach me the fine art of sail and canvas making and repair. Guess I’ll have to find them somewhere along the way.

  9. Money Funk

    You really have your work cut out for you! I’ve never seen such a long list. But I think you are living a wonderful life experience. I think you do have a boat angel sitting on your shoulder. 🙂

  10. Bethany

    I’ve recently discovered your blog and, as my family is interested in both simple living and offshore cruising, I was fascinated to read your entries. I’m curious though…where are you? Where are you headed? (just general info is fine…I’m not wanting to stalk you:-)

  11. Post

    Stuart! Thanks for the dinghy tip. I’ll see what I can find out about the boat.

    Lee, perhaps we can swap experiences. I can show you sewing, and I’m sure with the experience you are having now that you can teach me many things.


  12. Stuart

    Teresa, if you want to check out the plans for Tortoise, go to the library and check out the book “Different Boats” by Philip C Bolger ISBN 0-87742-134-X. It is the first design in the book. Be warned though, his books can be addictive. We had four of them on the boats I grew up on and I still peruse them fairly regularly, over twenty years later.

  13. hahsee

    Don’t know how you appeared on my screen Teresa because I was searching for info on a Bolger Tortoise but I guess there are references to Tortoise and that would do it.Anyway love your blog so will Bookmark it.Keep with the dream.

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