THE START OF BOATING SEASON – BY ELLIN CURLEY

From New Years on, Tom counts down the days until he can start working on the boat to get it ready to go back in the water. It spends its winters shrink wrapped and up on pilings in the parking lot of the marina, squashed together with all the other beached boats.

The first thing we have to do each spring is getting off the shrink-wrap. This involves lots of cutting and rolling of the large sheets of plastic protecting the boat from the winter elements. This usually takes one day, which is not too bad. But it’s not as easy as it sounds.

Then comes the cleaning, which is a big production. The bottom has to be painted and the hull has to be waxed and buffed. On a 40-foot boat, that’s a lot of waxing and buffing!

It also has to be over 55 degrees and dry for Tom to be able to do this kind of work and this year the weather has not been cooperating.

We had a few warmer days and he got a lot done, but then it either rained or was too cold for over a week. Tom’s brother came down to help him work on the boat, but they only got one good day out of four. This time of year the weather is always erratic, but it seems to be getting more schizophrenic each year.

Big pile of cut plastic rolled up next to the boat

The fiberglass and the metal railings on the inside of the boat also have to be cleaned and Tom likes to get this done while the boat is out of the water. That’s because once the boat is in the water, Tom gets lazy and just wants to relax and enjoy it.

My job is the interior cabins on the boat. While it’s still out of the water, I do the annual thorough cleaning. Everything is covered in black soot and dirt and is disgusting. I throw away a garbage bag full of black paper towels. But I persevere and clean every inch of the boat, including the two toilets, the bathroom floors (by hand) and the shower. This is my least favorite day of the year.

The deck inside the shrink wrapping

Once I’ve cleaned the inside, I take home all the sheets and towels, wash them, bring them back to the boat and make the bed and put the clean towels out.

My pile of laundry for the boat.

Then I have to stock the kitchen. I have to wait until the boat is in the water because the only way onto the boat in the parking lot is by ladder and I don’t want to carry heavy grocery bags up a shaky ladder. Stocking the kitchen is like stocking a house – I have to buy every necessary item in my kitchen, starting from scratch.

I need basics like coffee and tea, salt, pepper and sugar, herbs and spices, condiments like ketchup, mustard, mayo, barbecue sauce, and salad dressings, and items to cook with like butter, oil, vinegar, chicken stock, onions, tomato sauce, etc. Then there’s snack food and company food because people are always stopping by for a drink on the dock. So I need cheese and crackers, chips and dips as well as cookies and other sweets.

The other trick in shopping for a boat, is I have to try and find the smallest versions of everything so I can fit it all in my small kitchen.

When the kitchen is stocked, my last job is to clean the deck and the flybridge. That has to be done last because Tom keeps all of his cleaning items strewn all over these areas. It looks like a bomb went off at West Marine. Once he finishes his cleaning and puts everything away, I get to do the final job.

That’s when the boating season officially begins for us.

Anchors Away!



Categories: Boats, Changing Seasons, Ellin Curley, marina, Photography, Summer, Water, Weather

Tags: , , , ,

25 replies

  1. Sounds awfully similar to caravanning but we go through the whole rigmarole at the end and start of each trip.

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  2. Ketchup. Excellent. LoL !

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    • Can’t have a great grilled hamburger without ketchup! So it’s a crisis if we run out. We actually did run out at home recently so I tried a farm stand, small batch ketchup wannabe and it was really delicious. There is a gourmet version of ketchup and it’s good!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I bought some of the new gourmet ketchup AND avocado oil and olive oil mayo. I used to make my own olive oil mayonnaise and I bet I could. All you need is oil, eggs, and whatever seasonings you want to use and a food processor or a good beater. That’s how come my potato salad was always good. It wasn’t the potatoes. It was the mayo 😀

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        • Homemade stuff is usually better than the mass produced product. And small batch gourmet items are probably as good as homemade. I never felt the urge to make things from scratch that I can easily get ready made. So I stick with Hellman’s or Heinz and still make good potato salad and also Russian Dressing!

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          • I learned to make mayonnaise in Israel because their version of it wasn’t very good. Maybe they’ve improved. But it’s not really a part of a normal Israeli diet. Neither is ketchup. If they are going to slather something on food, it’s usually tahini or hummus. A lot of people used tahini as a dressing, very much as we use mayonnaise. So it wasn’t readily available … and sometimes, it was just easier (and faster) to make it at home. Mayonnaise is REALLY easy. Ketchup is harder.

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  3. Looks like a busy time Ellin, but it must be fun to look forward to this season.
    Leslie

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  4. Sounds like a lot of work, but worth it, I’m sure. Seems like the shrink wrap would keep out more of the grime from the interior, though. Have a good boating season!

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  5. I was wondering that too. I’ve never seen boats shrinkwrapped but I guess with our climate we don’t need to do that.

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  6. What happens to the shrink wrap once they remove it? Can it be used again, is it recycled or just tossed in the near-by dumpster?
    I see boats all over the place wrapped up for the winter and have often wondered what happens to all of that plastic.

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  7. Wow. That’s a lot of work. I hope you get to enjoy lots of good sailing to make up…

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    • When I’m anticipating all the work it seems overwhelming. But when it’s done, it doesn’t seem like it was such a big deal. Once the season starts, all the effort to get there is forgotten and the boat is just a joy to have.

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  8. Let’s hope for some nice weather this year!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The first, Memorial Day weekend has been beautiful but we couldn’t take the boat out because of a fuel leak. So we just hung out at the marina.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hanging out in the marina is fine too. I think just being by the water is what really counts.

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      • Wow, Ellin, so much work by Tommy and You to get the boat ready to be enjoyed. I knew there was prep but didn’t realize the AMOUNT of work you put in. We just show up as guests and enjoy all that effort you’ve put in as boat owners and amiable hosts. We’ll have to toast our appreciation when we visit.
        Looks like you have a nice holiday weekend to relax at the marina.
        ENJOY!

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        • It’s a lot of work to get the boat ready for the new season and to get it ready to spend the winter in the parking lot. But the 5-6 months in between are pretty easy. There are always maintenance issues and repairs but most of the season is pretty smooth most years.

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