There is a wry joke among boat owners: BOAT is an acronym for Break Out Another Thousand. I’m finding that out every trip I make to the marine supply store. Everything for boats seems to cost 5x what you would expect. Even special “marine” toilet paper cost over $6.00 for 4 rolls. This is because it is made to dissolve rapidly so as not to clog sensitive plumbing on the boat. The past two weeks I have had to purchase a number of one time items, and they add up:
— Climbing harness and equipment to climb the mast
— A second anchor and 100 feet of chain
— Extra fenders
— Foul weather gear
— A handheld VHF radio
— An inflatable life jacket
— special straps that I clip into when on deck so I don’t fall overboard and watch helplessly while my boat sails away.
— Glue and patches to stop the leaks in my inflatable dinghy
— Fishing rod and reel plus lures
— Miscellaneous hardware such as shackles, hose clamps, nuts and bolts
— Special markers to put on my anchor chain so I know how many feet I have let out.
— 7 gallon emergency water jug
— odor neutralizer for toilet holding tank
— Teak cleaner and brightener
It goes on and on. This is not to mention the cost of an oil change, electrical repairs and the cost of fuel and a sailing instructor. I may have to go back to work!
But it’s worth it. I managed to go out sailing a couple times and not crash or sink the boat.
But it is stressful, especially docking the boat into the slip. Imagine parking your car except it is five times longer and you have 1/2 the control.
When not sailing there is plenty to do as I have mentioned. One day I decided to clean the teak benches in the cockpit. Many sailboats use teak because it has some unique properties. First, the physical: teak is a remarkable wood. It is quite hard, dense, and strong. It is also resistant to most rots, fungi and pests that usually attack wood. Since wood on boats us usually in damp, exposed conditions, this property makes teak an outstanding wood for almost all marine uses.
But that’s not all: teak wood is also relatively easy to work and finish, even with hand tools. This made teak ideal for both exterior applications requiring close fitting tolerances (e.g. planking) as well as interior trim.
Finally, the politics: In the 19th and early 20th century, Britain was the undisputed maritime power of the world, and also the greatest shipbuilding country. Not only did it need a wood like teak to maintain that power, it actually conquered parts of India and Burma specifically to get access to teak. Once Britain had essentially unlimited access to teak, it not surprisingly used it for nearly everything.
Here is one of my teak benches before and after cleaning. Quite a difference.
I am staying near a grocery store so its easy to ride my bike to stock up on food. But due to this darn virus, the shelves are almost empty, as I’m sure you are aware. But I have a back up plan: Catch my dinner. With a dead shrimp on the hook I have managed to catch a few catfish. They look disgusting, and I threw the first couple back, thinking they were not edible. But then I did some research and found that people do eat them. So I found a recipe online for southern fried catfish. The next one I caught I filleted it and fried it up…it was pretty good!
I got two good fillets from this guy.
Well that’s it for now. The world seems to be going crazy with this virus. Stay safe everyone. I will self-isolate on my boat for the time being.