The cruising lifestyle isn’t all margaritaville. Like any endeavor in life it requires a commitment of ongoing effort to reap it’s rewards. And this corrosive saltwater water world with its loads and stress on gear cannot be ignored. Our good friend Captain Len Hornick refers to cruising as an “18th century practise in the modern world”. Sailing vessels in those days had aboard a forge and smithy, carpenters, timber, canvas, tar, vast amounts of what they termed as yarn from which they layed whatever size lines they required so forth and so on.
Today of course our sailboats being smaller it’s the crew, usually a couple that wears all these titles. By default and empty pockets, we carry hundreds of pounds of spares and tools and thru OJT ( on-the-job-training ) and help from other cruisers, learn to be carpenters, diesel mechanics, electricians, radio operators, riggers, electronic programmers/technicians, first-aid responders, fiberglassers, epoxy’s, paint, antifoul, on and on. Hopefully there will be more time to learn the finer skills of sailing. We have witnessed first hand that you cannot ignore and neglect this ongoing care. In a short time the boat becomes un-seaworthy. This example is JAGA II’s self steering that bound while working hard in a strong seaway and literally exploded a bronze part and bent a thick walled stainless arm. It’s an extremely heavy bit of gear that required standing in the dinghy to remove to the cockpit to disassemble to have some fabricating and machining work. We then fabricated some timber to modify it’s mounting area to hopefully avoid a reoccurrence. Several days work but in no way unusual with a sailboat. It’s ongoing from such major breakages to simply washing all the blocks with soapy fresh water. Keep her well maintained and the freedom to explore new and interesting landfalls are the magnificent rewards.