The Grand Plan

© Kate Zidar
© Kate Zidar

Slowly, thoughts about the future arise from the fog of the present. It is a real fog, like the one that surrounds the Golden Isles during winter. From our boat we observe the foggy mornings and evenings, these interstitial moments that keep on hold the passage between nights and days.

We are recovering from our trip. It’s not a physical recovery I think that has already happened. I am talking about the recovery from escaping winter and from our first cruising together, me, Kate and Tranquility.

This trip was very demanding. We sailed in cold weather, on a boat we have never sailed before and that we fixed all by ourselves. We also encountered challenging moments onboard as running a boat depends on a good interpersonal coordination and this is also something we are finding along the way. Everything went extremely good but the trip took its toll.

The fog is where we are hiding now, resting and meditating. Gathering all the resources to open a new chapter. Tranquility is patiently waiting for more upgrades to come. She is also probably tired of us too and we avoid touching her. There are budget restrictions of course, as we are still doing it on a shoestring and that’s also why the work has not happened yet. But it’s true that after the hurry to launch and get away from the cold weather we have the chance to think more deeply on what we need to happen to improve Tranquility. When the wind blows away the fog we start to see a Grand Plan and we are struggling to catch it before it vanishes again.

Storage

This is Tranquility’s Achilles heel. We are carrying too much stuff and at this time we don’t have good storage solutions. We hope that soon we can let go of very bulky winter clothes that literally saved our life but that are becoming less and less necessary.

The V-Berth became our throw-in space but now we need some serious carpentry work to lock objects in place and allow easy access. We are envisioning two long shelves that run on both sides on the V-Berth and that can accommodate storage boxes and light objects. We can dig more storage spaces adding a shelf on the quarter bunk and opening areas in the dinette, as well as reconfiguring the navigation desk. But the key would be to get rid of unnecessary weight and redistribute it along the boat. Keep it simple.

Electrical system

I am reconsidering the idea to step down to a single battery bank that operates both the engine and the appliances adding voltage converters. This will reduce the number of batteries from 10 to 8 without losing too much power. Thanks to the donation of a solar tracker mount we will be able to fit a 60W solar panel on the stern rail.

Plumbing

The repair of the leaky water tank under the v-berth is now a priority. 25 more gallons will give us at least one week of basic autonomy during passages, extending considerably our sailing range. The hook up of seawater in the plumbing system it’s another upgrade we are expecting to complete. Even if it’s not a priority right now that we are in a marina, it will be crucial when we sit at anchor for long periods.

Sails & Rig

Our sail set performed very well in the North Atlantic. Our sail wardrobe is suitable for medium to strong winds, but we lacking in the extremes. We need sails for lighter winds (Code 0 and Asymmetrical Spinnaker) as well as storm sails for extreme conditions (you never know). To accept this upgrade we have to rig up a trysail track and a whisker pole on the mast and place a mini-bowsprit on the bow.

Self-steering gear

We can’t do a long passage without a self-steering solution anymore. It’s too tiring and unnecessary.  A good wind autopilot it’s a lot of money but sooner or later has to land on Tranquility’s stern, we hope we won’t leave Brunswick without one. It will couple with an electronic tiller-pilot when we need to motor or when the apparent wind is not enough to operate the wind vane.

Safety

Our stanchions and lifeline need a proper reinforcement at the deck level, as well as most of the deck hardware. We are also designing modifications that will  transform our dinghy in a lifeboat, adding closed cell foam collars to increase buoyancy and prevent capsizing.

Comfort

We ordered new “luxury ultra-firm” foam for our mattresses. We decided to leave Fairhaven with the old set but the foam lost all the firmness and sleeping is not very comfortable. We understand now that small luxuries make a huge difference on a boat, especially when they concern health and comfort.

kunaya
© Fabio Brunazzi

This is the Grand Plan as it’s forming in our minds. The details are not revealed yet as they unveil as we proceed. We hope to conclude these enhancements before the end of the summer, to have some buffer time for tests and further adjustments. The list seems pretty small but as we know it will expand in endless tasks, tedious preparatory work and sure annoyances. At that point, if we survived we should be ready for the wind and the ocean.

4 thoughts on “The Grand Plan”

  1. Your blog convinced me to buy a Columbia 9.6 which I love. Thank you
    After spending one too many nights sleeping on the lumpy mattresses I have decided to replace the cushions. Are you still happy with your delux firm foam? If so who supplied it?
    Happy sailing
    Jeff

    1. Hi Jeff, I am happy you love your boat. I believe I got the foam from this website:
      http://www.foamforyou.com/

      and that was almost one and a half years ago. I was happy with the price and the quality. I used a cheap electric knife from Walmart to cut the foam to the desired shape.
      Good Luck!

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