Too much to do? Prioritize!

It happens every time we leave Nine of Cups for a few months and then return. We are overwhelmed with projects, repairs and maintenance. “Just put it on the list” is the Captain's usual response to any problem we discover that requires attention. It's just that the list grows and grows until we feel it is untenable … then what? Well, then we revert to our standing philosophy of life aboard … just a little further. Don't worry about the whole list; just worry about getting one thing checked off and moving on to the next. When you look at the whole picture, it's overwhelming, but looking at parts of the whole is much easier to handle. It's really about dividing big plans, projects or tasks into smaller tasks that are doable and that you can check off after reasonable effort. It's about lists and prioritizing what we really need (or want) before we're ready to head back to sea. Engine, sails, safety equipment all in good order? All those are necessary for prudent sailing. Varnish, microwave kaput, stainless polishing, even refrigeration are not reasons to delay a departure, unless we choose to.

So, as the list has grown, we've started our A, B and C task lists. Some items are receiving priority attention. We had contracted with a local fellow to repaint the topsides. He did as instructed and completed all but the navy shear stripe. Much to our pleasant surprise, he did a terrific job, and I might add, on time. “On time” is not usually part of the West Indies vocabulary. David has work to do on the cap rails and as soon as he completes his part, Rawle can finish painting the shear stripe.

work on caprail

We brought back a new cutlass bearing and shaft seal … priority items. They've currently taken up residence on the nav station midst a jungle of other parts, patiently waiting for David's attention. He figures when the pile disappears, he's finished up using all the parts and it'll be time to go, although he hasn't purchased the engine room through hull valve yet and that's an A-list item. We also need to anti-foul the bottom … currently an issue since bottom paint at the chandlery is back-ordered four weeks. Really? We've got it on order … any color will do ... as long as it's black.

nav station jungle

The fridge is another issue. We haven't figured out what to do about it yet. Currently, there are three options available to us, including living without refrigeration which many cruisers do. We'll figure out our best solution soon. Evenings are spent discussing and figuring out options while drinking slightly warm wine or tepid beer. We always seem to come up with better solutions when a little alcohol is involved.

working on fridge

Midst the prioritizing and actual work, Marcie's sister, Lin, is coming for a visit. She doesn't care for boats much … the seasick thing. Being on the hard will alleviate the seasickness issue, but living on the hard will not be all that pleasant for her. That said, we plan to spend some time touring the island providing time off the boat, some good sister-on-vacation time, and good blog material. The last two times we visited Trinidad, we did mostly boat work and not much land touring.

So we've set a goal. We'd like to have all of our boat work done and splash by the third week in April. With that schedule, we should have enough time to get to the Chesapeake before hurricane season begins, ~2,000nm away. It will not be a leisurely up-island cruise as we originally planned. Instead, a rather direct trip is more likely in the cards, with a few planned ports of call along the way . But you know what? If it doesn't work out, there's always Plan B. We're working on that, too.

plan b?