The Infinite To-Do List

Julian solving a rigging problem

Julian solving a rigging problem

Julian makes lists. Jobs to do, repairs to be made, replacement parts to be purchased. I wish we kept all those lists. That way we’d have a better sense of what we’ve accomplished in the past nineteen months. But new lists always replace the old, growing longer and longer until he runs out of space. Julian’s lists are palimpsests, living archives of his endless battle to get the job done.

Recently, we had to renew our boat insurance. The insurer wanted a copy of Carina’s most recent survey and comments on the actions we had taken in response to the surveyor’s recommendations. That proved a worthwhile exercise. I remember when we received the survey report, shortly before we bought Carina in November 2011. That list of repairs seemed insurmountable. When we went through the list a few weeks ago we discovered that we – and by ‘we’ I mean Julian – had set right all but one of the surveyor’s recommendations. And that final recommendation – to repair the heater – will be seen to in July when we have a new heater installed.

Our hero

Our hero

We have now moved well beyond the survey recommendations and there are always new things to do. On July 1st, Carina will come out of the water for one week. Julian will clean the hull and paint on a new coating of anti-foul. The riggers are coming on board to replace all the rigging, which is now twelve years old and has seen a lot of action. The rudder bearings will be checked, the mizen and genoa sails will be sent to the sail maker for repair, and a new mainsail will be made. And the new heating system will be installed.

Besides these very big jobs, Julian spends much of his time making ongoing minor repairs and keeping things in running order – servicing the engine, keeping the sea cocks in working order, ensuring the bilges are dry, repairing ropes, servicing winches, varnishing, oiling, cleaning, checking for wear and tear, for rips, leaks, breaks, frays.

A couple of months ago we bought a new life raft, and on Saturday Julian attached the life raft cradle to the stern. The dinghy had a slow puncture which he located and repaired a few days before. Currently the solar panel works, but the connection to the battery is dodgy and needs his attention. A port-side stanchion is bent – we have no idea how – and will need to be replaced.

Sunset at Baltimore

Sunset at Baltimore

I can almost see the cogs in his brain turning and clicking into place as he prioritises jobs, thinks about what he needs to buy and what he has in stock, factors in weather windows and other time constraints for completing tasks. We couldn’t live on board Carina or sail her if it wasn’t for Julian’s ability to work through problems, devise solutions, and teach himself new skills. In a very practice sense, he makes our life aboard Carina work.

And he manages to do it all at the same time as being full-time stay-at-home parent to Lily and Katie, while I go out to work. He puts all our meals on the table, he educates the girls, and he takes care of all the day to day aspects of life. He’s my hero.


3 thoughts on “The Infinite To-Do List

  1. Dear Martina; What a great diary; and such a delight to read. I eagerly await every new chapter, which gives me so much pleasure; (and, being a Maritimer, makes me homesick and jealous). What a wonderful experience for you and your darling daughters. Bravo, and hearty congratulations to you and your hero xoxo Good sailing and fond regards from Martha’s mother, Joan J.G. Being a ninety year old great grannie, I cannot resist saying BE CAREUL !!

  2. Thank you Joan!! So glad you’re enjoying my blog. It’s lovely to know there are mothers and grandmothers from Ireland to Canada to Japan to Australia telling me to be careful!!

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