In the past, we've talked about our A, B, and C lists. These are our perpetually updated lists of repairs and things to be done on Nine of Cups, and are separated into categories.
Things that are mission critical go on the 'A' list. These are the things that affect the safety and seaworthiness of Cups. For example, a cracked forestay fitting or a leaking thru-hull would definitely be on the 'A' list.
'B' list items are important repairs or maintenance issues, but which don't affect safety and seaworthiness. If the freshwater pressure pump goes out or the refrigerator dies, we can live without them if we have to – we still have a foot pump at the galley sink, and between what fresh veggies we have, the occasional fish and our canned goods, we won't starve (although there will definitely be some grumbling amongst the crew). This list always has items on it, and which ones get completed before a passage is a judgment call – and always subject to negotiation between the captain and first mate. How important is the item, how long will it take to repair or get the parts versus how long before we depart and how much time should we devote to local travel and exploring.
'C' list items are things that should get done when and if we have time. I really ought to replace the watermaker discharge hoses – they're starting to look a bit grungy ... the varnish on the deck boxes is looking distressed … the stainless on the swim ladder needs attention. A lot of these items do get done, some eventually move to the 'B' list if left unattended long enough, and some stay on the 'C' list for a long, long time. (Those watermaker hoses have been on the list for a couple of years now – I really ought to get to them).
Replacing the anchor chain last week forced me to climb into the forepeak locker, then wriggle my way into the bow locker – not one of my favorite activities. I was amazed at how much extremely valuable stuff I had collected over the last 17 years that had made its way into the bow locker for storage. This particular locker is located above the chain locker, and is home to the windlass motor and electrics and is sort of a final resting place for stuff that doesn't have a home elsewhere and is too valuable to throw out. There were short sections of rusty pipe; several 3” PVC elbows; several old lines that were too short to make into rugs, too frayed to use for their original purpose, yet too good to throw out; oars from a dinghy we tossed 15 years ago, but which might be needed someday; innumerable short sections of hose that could be used for chafe guards; and so on. Perhaps now that we are back in the U.S. for awhile and it is easy to find replacement parts, I could part with some of this valuable stuff.
Marcie likes to call this a 'D' list project. It's a new task that wasn't even on the radar yesterday, but now that I've discovered it while working on something else, it makes sense to take care of it. Unfortunately, 'D' list tasks often grow into major projects. While I was pulling all that old stuff out of the bow locker, I noticed some of the wood underneath was in bad shape – better replace it. When I removed the wood, I discovered that the supports underneath were breaking away – better re-tab them. The entire locker has a lot of mold and peeling paint – now would be a good time to scrape, prime and repaint the area, and as long as I was doing that section, I may as well … you get the point. The project went from a simple task of a couple of hours to a new occupation.
Working in the bow locker is uncomfortable and claustrophobic. I literally have to wriggle my way over the chain locker and two bulkheads to get to it, then lie on my back or side while working. Think of restoring the inside of a coffin while lying in it with the lid closed. I usually ended up with as much epoxy, primer or paint on me as on the locker walls.
But eventually it all got done, as did the entire forepeak locker. It looks great – as forepeak lockers go. Since I had everything out and was repainting anyway, I also had the opportunity to reorganize all the lines stored there and tidy up some minor electrical issues.
My 'D' list is now empty of tasks ... temporarily. But I was thinking about those watermaker hoses – I really should get to them, and I was noticing that the locker under the settee where they're routed could use a fresh coat of paint, and as long as I'm replacing those particular hoses, there are a couple of others that are looking a little fatigued ...