Having a boat that is 'ship shape' is only part of the adventure.
Kerri and I both took this past week off. The objective was to take care of some of the finer details that require our presence.
Insurance. We all know how much fun insurance is. Naturally, it got shoved to the back burner. But, the time has come and it is all taken care of now.
OHIP (that government provided health care that we all take for granted), well it turns out they are a lot more flexible than I ever gave them credit for. And, thanks to a very knowledgable, pleasant and easy to understand Customer Care Representative at Ontario Services, I was soon on my way to printing out the required forms and applying for my 1 year out of country coverage. It turns out you can apply for up to 2 years of out of province coverage as long as you meet their exemptions list and maintain a primary residence in Ontario.
Travel insurance was just as easy, thanks again to another very knowledgable, pleasant and easy to understand Customer Care Representative. Life is not always this easy and that is why it was worth noting. My union provides it members with a policy that allows 60 days per trip, out of country travel insurance. I called them up and coverage was a simple as paying the difference to extend it for a full year.
Vaccinations. Don't put these off! We have just enough time to get ours in before we leave.
Now that that is out of the way, how about some fun stuff.
It is time to turn the fishing boat into a cruiser.
Davits. New dinghy davits are on order. After much debate, we decided on St. Croix Marine Products Model 820 roll-on davits. http://www.davit.com/roll-on820PullOn.html As Macara grows bigger, the old 9.8hp complains more and more about putting the three of us up on plane. (Mom and dad haven't changed a bit, it is all the kid's fault.) A new engine is in our future. So, we wanted a davit system to match. Roll-on seemed to be the answer, but I didn't want a system that would launch from only one side. I guess we will soon see if I am happy with my choice.
Anchor system. The windlass has a new wildcat (chain) capable of 3/8" rather than the wimpy 1/4" chain that the boat came with. Last spring, I purchased a very pretty 55lbs stainless steel Delta FastSet anchor, but it doesn't fit the bow roller properly. I am currently getting that rebuilt. The original 22lbs Fortress anchor has been demoted to a second anchor. Sleep is easier with better ground tackle.
The head. As a fishing boat, you are either at the dock or out in the ocean fishing and as such the boat's head system has only two choices, to the holding tank or direct discharge with each flush. The Great Lakes and Intracoastal Waterway are No Discharge Zones, so during that period of the trip we will be valved directly to our holding tank and seeking pump out stations as we get full. The Bahamas are a different story, pump out stations are few and far between. The accepted practise is to pump overboard. I don't want to do that at my anchorage. I have no interest in swimming right beside were I just flushed. The plan is to re-plumb the boat so that the only choice is that every flush goes to the holding tank. Only then I will have the option of pump out station or to go out to sea and 'take the dog for a walk'. For those that know me, I have a very weak stomach when it comes to this subject. Watching me work will be quite entertaining (if you enjoy watching a guy suffer).
Communications. We are having a Wi-Fi and cellular amplifiers installed. Extending the range of the comforts of home will make the trip more enjoyable. She is already equipped with satellite TV, I just need to reopen an account.
Making her all pretty.
Taps. I have always hated the galley taps. I could never understand with all the appointments this vessel has that it was built with such ugly taps. This is no longer a problem.
New bolster cushions. 10 years of Florida sun and salt air have taken their toll on some of the exterior fabrics.
A full hull buff and wax. I used to take great pride in this job on the 30' Sea Ray. I am going to get Knot Yet professionally done once and then see if I can't keep her up. She is significantly more fibreglass and on plenty more inconvenient angles.
We should be on the water sometime in April.
As I write this our count-down timer keeps on ticking. Only 120 days until this is all real.