Chainplates - An Excuse for Chaos

Nine of Cups was looking pretty fine below decks. I'd scrubbed and cleaned and polished and felt good about my boat, knowing in the back of my mind that all hell would soon break loose. Eventually, the installation of the chainplates would begin and absolute chaos would ensue. The nuts and washers that secure the chainplates to the hull would penetrate through eight separate lockers and bookcases, the contents of which would be … everywhere. We were anxious to get the work done as soon as possible, but I was dreading the process. At the moment, however, Cups was a calm, peaceful, neat and tidy boat. calm and tidy

Initially, all we had to do was empty part of the forward bunk for the first chainplate pilot hole and measurements. Out of sight, out of mind ... I ignored the initial mess as I walked past the series drogue on the saloon floor next to the mast and extra storm sails in the forward head and the bins that were now taking up part of the port settee. The pilot hole left a little mess, but nothing major, easy to vac up. I was dealing with it quite admirably, I must say. Then the project work finally started in earnest. First, an untidy boat drives me to drink … luckily we have lots of wine aboard. Second, I really hate loud noise … it drives me crazy. We've gone way beyond messy and noisy. We've entered that netherland known as chaos.


I had in mind that they would do one chainplate at a time … or maybe one side of the boat at a time, but I was absolutely wrong. I realize that's not efficient, but I like living in a pipe dream world. I think David let me believe it as long as possible to minimize dealing with my angst and complaining. Of course, they're doing all the chainplates at the same time, so all areas had to be cleared at once. Books are piled high … on every flat surface. There are more crates and bins and plastic tubs lined up on the port settee with stuff piled on top of them. David's nav station has disappeared. Our tidily, folded t-shirts and clothes are stacked up haphazardly on the aft berth and we have to move them to get into and out of bed. Locker doors are off their hinges and hidden somewhere in the mess. My sunglasses have disappeared and there's not a snowball's chance in hell of finding them anytime soon. I have maintained a small space on the port settee for us to sit and eat though the mess threatens to encroach upon it.

more chaos

In addition to the usual Cape Town dust and grime, we have fiberglass and sawdust all over the place. The cockpit is full of David's varnishing project tools and supplies and chemicals … a project which is on hold at the moment till the chainplates are finished. In addition, the new chainplates and hardware line the cockpit benches. The worker guys tramp in and out of the boat, up and down, all day long, hollering back and forth through the hull, over the sound of drills and Fein tools and saws. The decks are filthy grey. At the moment, there are 45 holes drilled through the hull, but no chainplates yet installed. There are more holes yet to be drilled and the saga continues.

even more chaos

Luckily we have a double-wide berth and no neighbor. In order for the workmen to work on each side of the boat, we hand-line it from one side of the berth to the other … sometimes several times a day. And then, there's the stern-to and bow-to maneuvers which occur every couple of days and take a bit more effort. It takes me a minute to figure out  which side of the boat to step out of in my first, hazy-minded morning run to the clubhouse each day. Obviously, the side with the finger pier works best.

and more chaos

I'm in the way no matter where I sit or stand or try to work. Someone always needs to be in my space. We thought it would all be finished in a week … scout's honor. I was geared up for that, but it's dragging on and on. David will fill you in on the latest delays and screw-ups. Yes, things will eventually be back to normal. I can hear all the other yachties reading this thinking “Get a grip, Marce. You live on a boat for heaven's sakes. Quit your whinging.” I know … I know. We've had much worse chaos aboard, on many different occasions ... though David usually convinces me to visit my sister when the projects get too out of hand (remember the fridge redo?). I just thought I'd share a day when things aren't so nice and neat on Nine of Cups and instead of calm, chaos rules. If you're OCD or ataxophobic … this is not the life for you, trust me!