Sailing to the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean 1500
Preparing For The Voyage (continued)
|This pile of junk is the old Ford Lehman engine, which will probably be auctioned off on eBay or something similar.
||Like the sign says, "Full Throttle Marine, Yacht Service & Repair, 757-397-7936". This is their floating shed, used to work on powerboats while they're still in the water. I would provide an internet link for them, but they don't seem to have a web site.|
If you read through the items on the previous lists, you may have noticed that they were special one-time tasks to outfit or repair the boat at the start of Jeff's new lifestyle as a liveaboard cruiser. In addition to these tasks, there were plenty of "ordinary" tasks that we did before our trip, some of which are listed below:
- Provisioning and supplies - This was a major task, handled mostly by Greta and CiCi though everyone contributed. Greta made two trips to the boat, each time bringing along a massive amount of food and other provisions. Jeff and CiCi made numerous local trips to obtain additional provisions, supplies, spares, etc. All the items were listed on an inventory sheet to keep track of what was stored where. We left with at least a couple of months of provisions and supplies. The crew split the cost of the provisions that were used during the trip.
- Inspect and test ship's gear - This is a typical pre-voyage task, where you walk the entire boat, on-deck and below, inspecting everything and testing the operation of all the electrical and mechanical gizmos, noting and correcting deficiencies. Also recharge all rechargeable devices, calibrate the barometers and chronometers.
- Safety equipment - Set up the ditch kit, dole out safety equipment (PFDs, harnesses/tethers, emergency whistles), rig the jacklines on the side decks.
- Cleaning - After doing so much work on the boat, everything needed to be cleaned. The deck lockers were problematic, because peeling paint inside the lockers tended to clog the tiny locker drains. We tried to fix this as well as we could, though later in the voyage Jeff would have to revisit this problem.
- Stow and secure - Everything below and on-deck had to be stowed and secured for the voyage. The big cabinet and washer/drier needed some tie-down hardware installed. Just before we left, we removed the dinghy from its davits and stowed it upside-down on the aft deck, tying it down in several places. The outboard motor was stored in a deck locker, along with the shore power cord.
- Trip planning - Obtain charts and cruising guides, do the trip planning, work out the navigation details including waypoints and routes, program the navigation equipment, start a fresh trip log.
- Caribbean 1500 events - We did attend a few meetings, sometimes without Jeff if he was tied up with boatwork. We also had the official safety inspection, which we passed.
- Shakedown cruise - Jeff, CiCi, and I took a brief shakedown cruise on the Elizabeth River to test out various systems on Night Heron. It can be a little tricky traveling on the river past all the Navy docks, since the docks are heavily protected security zones. During a shakedown cruise, you may need to maneuver in circles, or stop and start repeatedly, so you can wind up looking suspicious and attracting the attention of the guard boats. Although nobody bothered us, it was worrisome and we hoped they wouldn't "shoot first and ask questions later". This was when we moved the boat from the work dock to a transient slip, and when we returned, Jeff did a good job backing the boat into the new slip. He figured out how to effectively use the bow thruster to steer the boat while backing, since the helm steering worked unpredictably (or not at all) in reverse.
- Last-minute details - Do laundry, stow all personal items, top off fuel/water/propane.