The Boatist

Sailboat Ownership, Translation Work and Tales of Minor Adventure

Retire early, be passionate, don't worry, die poor

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Boat maintenance

Owning an old sailboat can be a curse or a blessing, depending on your personality, your mood at any given moment and on how many things need fixing, varnishing or just plain head scratching.

I've come to the conclusion that if you strive for perfection buy a new boat, otherwise you're likely to become crankier than an old Hurth transmission.

Having finished a fairly large translation on Wednesday, I drove to the marina Thursday morning to do a little maintenance. I could call it "Zen and the art of boat maintenance", but that would be about as kitsch as a flock of pink flamingos on my lawn. Nevertheless, boat maintenance can become a spiritual and liberating experience, to me anyway.

Today I decided to try some interior painting. The bare panel in the picture below has been bugging me far too long. It's also sagging and needs trim to hold the edges firmly in place.
Boat ceiling
Sagging panel with light fixture

While I was at it, why not paint the panel on the portside over the stove and, to get more mileage out of the brush, may as well paint the bare plywood in the pots and pans cupboard.
If anybody is looking for painting tips - forget it. I took the panels down, sanded them with 220 and slopped paint over them, one coat in the morning the other in the afternoon.
Painting a boat interior
First coat
In the interval I made a tomato, pepper, onion, sweet corn and tuna concoction that would have tasted even better if I hadn't forgotten the wine. I also ran the engine for a while in reverse and forward to confuse the barnacles camping on the propeller. Amazing creatures, they could stick to a spinning propeller from here to China and arrive just as sane and healthy as if they had been sitting still all their lives.

That was enough "Zen maintenance" for the day. On the way home, I fed our vacationing friends' 7 cats and took this picture of the coastline.
Cabo Carvoeiro
Coastline view. Click on the picture and you'll see the "Cabo Carvoeiro" cape in the distance and the Berlenga Islands to the left under the cloud formation.


  1. I thought the solution to barnacles in Portugal was to call them percebes and to eat them with a nice vinho verde...

    1. Rhys

      Unfortunately percebes don't grow on propellers...too bad because at the price they sell for illegal divers would be cleaning everybody's propellers. They're very fussy about their habitat - that's why they're expensive.

      But I like your idea, except mussels and vinho verde sounds even better.

    2. That's good, too, as long as they are consumed under an umbrella on a sunny day in Portugal with a parade of good-looking women in front of you...

      I didn't realize they were a delicacy. I had a plate of them in Sines and the cost for five people, plus wine, was pretty reasonable.

    3. A delicacy (the parade of good-looking women or the percebes??). Are you sure they were percebes? Small weird thumb-like creatures.

      Did you have them at the restaurante with a small outdoor patio overlooking the port?

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