Monday, December 31, 2018

And there you have it.

The day after Thanksgiving festivities in St. Louis, I made my way back to Kintala to begin the long month of small repairs, cleaning, and packing to prep her for sale and our move to an apartment. A two day drive turned into three after stopping for a short visit with the crew of Blowin' In the Wind where they were docked in St. Simons. Pulling through the gate at Westland Marina in Titusville, FL the third day and after 1200 miles, it was hard to deny that it was going to be a very long month.

I can't say enough good about the staff at Westland Marina. Dave was unbelievably pleasant and helpful on the phone before we even got there. Once we arrived, he did everything possible to make our transition to the hard a painless one. Patricia, the office manager, is the definition of efficiency and got us checked in post haste. And Angie? She's my new hero. She and Dave run the best DIY yard I've ever been in. It's clean, well organized, and well maintained. The bathroom, laundry, and lounge facilities are top-notch and always clean. Trash is emptied frequently, and all of the machinery is clearly well-maintained. The month would have been much more difficult had it not been for this group of helpful people and their dedication to running a first class facility.

The odd thing about time is that it can simultaneously drag and fly by. The 14-hour work days allowed a lot of time for reflection since polishing stainless and cleaning and oiling interior teak don't take a lot of concentration. The individual days seemed endlessly long, but the days left on the calendar were dwindling rapidly. I had the truck reserved for December 16th and after spending 24/7 with Tim for over five years I was missing him terribly and was highly motivated to get back to St. Louis to see him before Christmas.

The hardest thing about making a move off a boat is the actual logistics. In order to clean properly, I needed to empty lockers and cabinets. In order to do that, I needed to pack, but where to put the boxes while still leaving room to work? Even with our bulkhead table and resulting open floor plan, there's not a lot of room for boxes. It was a bit like a 3D puzzle. A short discussion with Dave and Angie and my job became much easier. They have a system there at Westland where they put a pallet on the forklift, raise it up to the deck gate, and hold it still while you load your boxes. I packed up enough boxes for one pallet and offloaded it the following day. I wrapped the pallet with mover's shrink wrap and Angie hauled it to the boat rack building where they put it in one of the racks up high.

A few days later, pallet two joined it, leaving only tools, cleaning supplies, and my last minute galley things and clothes.  I couldn't pack up the tools till I was done with the small repairs, something that couldn't be completed yet since I was waiting on a part to arrive. I needed to figure out some way to get the tools off the boat but to still have access to them without breaking the bank. I thought of renting a car to store them in or getting the truck earlier, but both were cost prohibitive. I briefly considered just loading them on a pallet under the boat, but the weather was supposed to fall on its face so that idea was discarded rather quickly.

Photo courtesy of

I finally decided on getting some really large plastic storage tubs and putting them under the boat. Fortunately, Lowes was kind enough to put their largest storage tubs on sale that week, presumably for people to store all of their holiday decorations in. The clerk that checked me out said that she moves a lot because her husband is in the military and she went out and bought 22 of them so she just packs them instead of using boxes. They stack easily for storing so I could see the benefit.

Once the tools were off the boat, I was able to start at the bow and work aft doing that deep cleaning that you can only do when cupboards and lockers are completely empty. It was so nice to finish the V-berth and be able to look at as I finished the rest of the boat. I needed the motivation to keep going!

One by one the lockers were cleaned and freshly painted, ports polished, the deepest depths of the fridge were cleaned, the teak cleaned and oiled. Kintala was sparkling and I was ready to go home. Exactly three weeks to the day from my arrival, Angie was kind enough to give me a hand on Sunday, loading the pallets directly onto the U-Haul with the forklift so I didn't have to load the individual boxes. The whole of our five years cruising fit on three pallets, 4 x 4 x 3, including a lifetime of aviation tools. Not too bad for a couple sailors aspiring to minimalism.

The very last thing to leave the boat was the grandkids' mascot, Bean the Bear. He had the honored place of shotgun on the trip back. I'm waiting to see if he can endure city life or if he's going to sneak back with the kids when they visit to head back to sea...

As I worked along over the three weeks, some disconnected observations about the experience floated through my head. I offer them to you here as they appeared, in no order.

  • When we get the next boat, I told Tim we are going to put it on the hard for two weeks every year and empty every cupboard, locker, and cubby so I can discard junk, clean and paint the interiors, and restock in some orderly fashion. Really. I'm serious.
  • Cleaning brass really doesn't take much time or energy and the results are so immediately and completely satisfying.
  • Right after you finish oiling the teak, a huge cold front storm will find another leak so you have to do it again after fixing the leak.
  • Moving off a boat after five years was way more difficult than moving out of a house after twenty years.
  • Why do we wait to fix that small annoying thing until we're selling something? I had intended to modify the mainsail cover slots for the lazy jacks for the last year. I have absolutely no idea why I waited.
  • It's fun to see how long something lasts in the boatyard free pile after you put it out. The record goes to some fiberglass repair components - they got snatched up before I even finished getting them out of the dock cart.
  • First Place in cleaning supplies: Miracle Cloth. Someone mentioned these on one of my Facebook forums. I'm a skeptic by nature so anything called Miracle Cloth in my mind probably isn't. I was so very very wrong. This is the most amazing product to come along for boaters in a long time. It's a heavy duty rag saturated with some sort of cleaner combination that includes coconut oil. It smells great, but boy oh boy wait till you wrap your hand in it and rub that rusty stanchion. The rust just wipes off. One cloth did over half the boat and probably would have lasted longer but it was totally black. I'll be doing a detailed review in a separate post, but in the meantime here's the link on Amazon.
  • Runner up in the cleaning supplies: Mother's Mag and Aluminum polish. I ran out of Prism and couldn't get any delivered in time to use so I found this stuff at the local auto store. It's a completely acceptable metal polish. Miraculous on our aluminum backsplash and did a good job on brass. Prism is my go-to polish for metal, plastic, fiberglass, pretty much anything but, honestly, it's been going up in price so bad that I've been looking for alternatives.
  • It's amazing how many meals (although odd) that you can squeeze out of what's left in the pantry when that means you don't have to pack the food, carry it, or move it into the new place.
  • If you absolutely need something to fix or clean something on the boat it will absolutely be in the box you just taped up.
  • When the people at Enterprise start calling you by name and asking you how the boat is coming along, it's long past time to be gone.
  • A piece of dark chocolate is good any time but it's especially good when it's the last piece you have and you just found it in the fridge.
  • The love of bacon is relative. When you just finished spending several hours cleaning the stove, it's easy to ignore the package in the fridge.
  • There is simply no greater pleasure than a long hot shower after a long dirty day of work.
  • No matter how long the project list is, there's always time to stand and chat to your neighbor about where they've sailed.
  • The easiest thing to leave: the 12-foot ladder.
  • The hardest thing to leave: Tim's custom bulkhead table.
  • As I sat resting one afternoon, I looked around and realized that there is simply not a single component, system, or piece of Kintala that we haven't laid hands on to do something to: maintaining, customizing, cleaning, polishing. As I looked at it all, my only goal was to leave the boat in the condition that I would want to find it as a prospective buyer. Whoever you might be, I've accomplished that goal. And there you have it.


Rich Sutorius said...

Sounds like a very bittersweet moment but I'm glad to hear you say "The next boat". Drop by sometime and we'll go sailing (once I get all my boat done and get her launched).

Deb said...

Hate to tell you Rich but the only time your boat will be "all done" is the day you walk away leaving her for the next owner.

The Cynical Sailor said...

Wow, so much work goes into getting a boat ready for sale. I really enjoyed your observations at the end, especially the ones about cleaning products and chocolate.

Unknown said...

Great insight into the process! Thanks.