Recently I’ve been playing the game of watching the weekend weather. Around Wednesday I’ll start checking the Plymouth forecast on the BBC website. If I don’t like that I’ll try xcweather.co.uk. And if that weather forecast doesn’t satisfy me, I’ll go to the weather app on my phone. The annoying thing is, they all tell me the same thing. I’m hoping the ‘rain and drizzle, heavier bursts at times, showers or longer spells of rain, locally heavy’ of one website will be contradicted by ‘endless sunshine, light breezes, prepare for get-out-there-and-sort-your-boat-out weather’ on another website.
Wednesday morning, no joy. Perhaps the updated afternoon forecast will be better. ‘Rain rain rain’. Ah well, it is only Wednesday. No point getting too wound up, it’s not going to be too accurate anyway. Thursday morning – ‘rain, rain and more of the same’, Thursday afternoon ditto. Need I go on? You get the picture.
Julian’s ‘infinite to-do list’ grows longer, as he sits in Exeter each weekend, longing to be down in Plymouth, tackling jobs on Carina. Right now there are jobs on deck that need to be dealt with. But he needs at least one dry day to complete them. It’s January, so he’s fighting a losing battle against limited daylight hours and typical south west of England winter weather (I wonder has he read my Humility post?). And because I’m working, the only time he’s free to go to Plymouth is at the weekend. So I can’t even enjoy my walk to work on those crisp fresh frosty mid-week mornings, because those are days when I want Julian to be at the boat, if I didn’t have to attend to the small matter of working and earning money! (I’m reminded again of Inuit hunters I’ve worked with, many of whom encounter one of two problems when planning to hunt – they have the time to hunt, but can’t afford to; or they can afford to, but don’t have enough time)
But despite that, work aboard progresses in fits and starts. At the end of the year the engineer was aboard to fix the heater. He installed the new heating system at the start of last summer, but it had only been trial tested. When Julian tried to use it in December, it failed to work. The engineer repaired a seal on the fuel line, and when Julian visited Carina in early January the heater worked a treat, keeping him warm and giving the boat a much needed drying out.
On that January visit, Julian attended to all the usual jobs – keeping the sea cocks moving, checking the bilges (which were remarkably dry, considering the weather we’ve had), and emptying the moisture traps (also reasonably dry). Having removed one dead battery, we’re now running on two domestic batteries. We’ll either buy a second-hand battery to replace the dead one, or at some point we’ll replace all three with new ones.
He tells me Carina’s looking a bit green, so her decks are in need of a thorough scrubbing – something that doesn’t require dry weather, but if far more pleasant to tackle when it’s dry. The foresail and mainsail need to be taken off and cleaned, and the running rigging removed to be brought back to the house and washed in the washing machine.
In September, the electrical socket in the cockpit broke and, although Julian replaced it, he didn’t have time to install it neatly. The temporary set-up needs to be made permanent, and that is a job that requires dry weather. We have a broken stancheon amidships to port that needs replacing, a job made more difficult by the netting that prevents kids, adults, screwdrivers and winch handles from falling in the sea. And there’s the anchor windlass that needs servicing.
Will the weather gods smile on us this weekend? I’ve just checked the forecast. Tomorrow’s to be dry. So perhaps if he goes to Plymouth this evening, he will be ready to jump into action at first light, to make the most of those short hours of sunlight on a rare rain-free Saturday.