Cruising Provisions and Preparatory Projects

Now, finally, all the work we’d had to put off until “after the boatyard” could begin.

Zartman- provisioning Ganymede

Jen Brett

I'd like to say that we've accomplished much in the week and a half since Ganymede relaunched and we returned to the marina—and we have, a truly heroic amount, really—but in light of everything we still need to do it seems less than it is. Our return was uneventful, except that the crucial engine shifter part hadn't yet arrived, so I had to Ghetto shift by leaving the engine cowling off and reaching into it's vital parts with an awl to get it from one gear to another. A little further to reach and harder to find than the normal shift lever, so I had to look sharp as we barreled around the corner toward our usual side-tie. I say barreled, because when freshly scraped, Ganymede is uncommon slippery, and taking the engine out of gear does little to slow her down. Fortunately our good neighbor Natalie was standing by to catch a line, and it only took a moment to heave one across the narrowing gap, locate my trusty awl, and fumble the engine into hard reverse. Natalie, who has grown up on boats and seen almost everything, recovered surprisingly quickly from thinking we were going to destroy both her and the pier and got the spring line made fast, though we didn't need it after all as Ganymede came to a juddering halt and I scrambled to put the motor into neutral before she could start making sternway.

Now, finally, all the work we’d had to put off until “after the boatyard” could begin; most importantly, the lifeline stanchions and bulwarks. During the winter I’d unshipped the old Douglas fir ones, and made new stanchions out of Black Locust, a yellowish hardwood endemic to these parts. I hadn’t been able to install them yet, as I wanted to paint the sheer stripe at the boatyard before putting all sorts of bolts on. They went on beautifully, and so did the new bulwarks I made out of African mahogany. I’d gotten a bargain on a few pieces from a fellow I did some rigging for, and the local lumber store supplied the rest. It’s mill-finish 1X4, meant for decking, but perfect for this as well.

While I was happily engaged with screws and glue and all things manly, Danielle caught a ride with Natalie to BJ’s, a sort of Costco/Sam’s Club volume discount place. I had expected her to return loaded, sure, but even I was amazed at how much she managed to buy. Three giant dock cart loads of non-perishable food and dry goods were soon piled in the cockpit, on the pier, and on the decks. The next day, Saturday, was spent from breakfast to after dark stowing all those goodies, as well as our 120 gallons of water, in the big locker under the bed and the under-settee cupboards. We had so many cruising provisions that we had no room to cook or eat, so we munched handfuls of this and that all day as hunger came and went, but mostly came. It seems a miracle, but most of the stuff is stowed, thanks partly to our neighbor’s vacuum sealer, which can turn nice fat rolls of paper towels and toilet paper into tiny planks for storage.

I’ve been tempted to take a day off work to get my projects done, but this being our last week or so to make money, prefer to try and squeeze it all in after hours. So the bulwark is almost done, and then the engine can be looked at, and half-a-dozen little inside projects that require electricity will follow, and if I can get those finished before we have to move out of the marina and have no more electricity, I’ll be content to finish the last bits of rigging and stowing at anchor.

We are the Zartman family: Ben & Danielle, and our three girls, Antigone, Emily and Damaris. We created this blog to chronicle our sailing adventures on Ganymede, a home-finished 31-foot gaff-rigged cutter, which has been our home since 2009, when we sailed from San Francisco, California, to the Sea of Cortez, then down along the Central American coast. Currently in Newport, Rhode Island, we plan to sail to Canada, the U.K., and beyond this summer.