The Return to Sailing Season!

It’s finally here!  Time to return to Europe and get Zoe ready to be dropped back in the water.  We’ve been given a splash date (when Zoe will be hoisted up by crane and set back in the water) of April 24th.  There is much to do to make sure she is ready for the next 6-7 months of sailing.  We got this!

Ha!  How quickly that warm, fuzzy feeling has been beaten down.  We have now completed our first full week of work on the boat, and I can tell you that along with the blood, sweat and tears (literally) there have been extreme emotional highs and lows.  To begin, the exterior of the boat was absolutely filthy after sitting for 5 months in wind, rain, and a hail of bird poop.  As we entered the inside, my heart sank even further.  Just to refresh your memory, shutting down the boat at the end of last season required the following tasks:  All clothing was removed and stored in vacuum pack bags; all bedding, pillows, and towels  were removed and vacuum packed; all remaining food and spices were taken out and placed in air tight containers; all cushions and mattresses were up-ended and stored away from walls and windows; all sails and canvas were stripped from the boat; all lines were removed and stored. So this entire mess, was now sitting inside the boat, along with the contents of 5 large duffles worth of supplies that we ferried over from the U.S.  I think I felt a panic attack coming on 🙁

Where to begin?!  I figured the quickest way to make the biggest dent was to unpack all the sealed bags and containers and put the stuff away.  That relieved some of the debris and allowed me to get the guest cabin made up and ready for future visitors. 

Guest cabin ready…

At this point, Dan and I decided to take a break and go in search of a new mattress for our bed.  We had decided to purchase a memory foam mattress which turned out to be quite a challenge.  Knowing that it would need to be cut down to fit the unique shape of the bed in our cabin, we could not buy one that needed to be contained within a cover.  We finally decided on one that we found at IKEA.  The trick now was to get it back to the boat in our tiny, little clown car.  As the pictures will show, we managed to wedge it into the car with me fighting to keep it off the steering wheel and gear shift. 

Next was hauling it up 10 feet to the deck of the boat, down the stairs into the hull and our cabin.  I think you are starting to get the “sweat” part of where this story began.  Have you ever cut through 8 inches of foam with a box cutter and a serrated bread knife?  I’m here to tell you, it SUCKS!  Not only did it take forever, but left a barrage of foam snow all over our cabin.  Great!  I now created a new mess to clean up!

All done!

With the inside starting to show signs of improvement, we decided it was time to tackle replacing our trampoline.  The trampoline on the front of our boat was really showing it’s age and had a lot of sag making it super uncomfortable.  We purchased a new, tighter woven trampoline.  After receiving a $800 euro quote to install it, Dan decided we could do this ourselves.  At this point, picture my eyes bugging out of my head.  Step number one was to soak the trampoline in water for 24 hours so that we would be able to stretch it into position.  We put it into a giant, plastic tub and filled it with water.  Being on the hard, our boat is not resting level.  So, the water in the tub was about 2 inches lower on one side of the bin.  My very helpful husband (he is on the ground manning the on/off knob of the faucet) tells me to put something under the low side to level it.  Did you know that those big plastic tubs are not meant to hold 100’s of pounds of water (ok, it wasn’t quite that much)?  As I went to lift up one side, the plastic broke slicing through my finger and palm in two separate places.  Yep, it hurt like hell and now I’m bleeding (I told you there was blood, sweat and tears).  The tears came next as I sat down to wrap my bloody wounds, feeling totally defeated by my boat 🙁

If you know me very well, you know that my pity party was short lived and I was back at putting the boat back together.  I forgot to mention that during this entire week it has been cold, windy and rainy.  Fun times, right?  It was finally time to install the trampoline.  The dealer told us it would only take 5 hours….uh yeah right!  I know how this goes.  There are 60 lash down points to secure the trampoline to the deck, and every one of them requires gorilla strength (and pulleys, winches, and pliers) to stretch the trampoline to each point and secure it.  At this point, my hands are raw and my body is broken.  Let’s just say there have been some contortionist moves required.  After 5 hours on day one and 4 hours on day two, we are still not done :(. We are getting closer though, and it looks amazing so far.

Old trampoline on it’s way out.
12 feet off the ground and tying knots…60 of them!

Well, our 5 hour trampoline job took us days and 16 hours.  It nearly did us in :(. On top of that, we winched too hard on one corner and tore a hole in it!  Add another job to my list….attempt to weave the hole closed (which I did and, it doesn’t look too bad). 

All done!

Fortunately for us, putting the sails back up was a much less painful job.  We managed to get the mainsail back up in about 4 hours after watching the videos we took at the end of last season to refresh our memory of where everything went.  The genoa was up in about an hour. 

Trying to remember how to rig a square top main sail…
Genoa sail on it’s way up…

Score 1 for team Muzich!  Over the next few days, we got the leak in the dinghy repaired, dinghy scrubbed, chaps back on, and back in the “garage.”  We got the cockpit enclosure put up, have begun the clean up, and got my cilantro planted! 

Starting to look like a sailboat!
Dinghy back in it’s garage.

Hopefully we will have homemade salsa before time to leave the boat at the end of the season…!  At this point, Easter weekend has arrived, and we have decided it is time for a boat/work break.  We are heading to the mountains for a little play time before the final push to get Zoe ready.  It is now T-minus 4 days until launch!  I promise our next post will be more fun and a lot less drudgery….but in all fairness, I did promise to bring you the good, the bad, and the ugly of life on a sailboat!

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