Taking care of Galopin and understanding her adventurous potential at sea
I’d imagined things to go faster and would be cruising into the horizon by now. But this is sailing. You don’t hurry a sailboat. That’s the beauty of the sailing life. So day by day life aboard has been slowly evolving aboard Sailing Vessel Galopin.
It had taken already several weeks just to buy the boat. Nearly six months to register it with Swiss maritime authorities. This was in part due to issues which had to be up to code. Like the purchase of an authorized life raft, returning the cooking gas set-up to norm, fix a twisted balcony pole, update the fire extinguishers, seal a vent hole in the cockpit, find or get an emergency tiller. This took some time, as well as The back and forth correspondence we had with the surveyor.
I sorted most of it out, but needed the help of Technique Plaisance, a local naval yard to install a new water heater as well as two new 180amp batteries and re-fitting the compartment access. The engine was thoroughly serviced by local rock-star mechanic David. He didn’t just do a lube job, he performed his skills with empowered enthusiasm and delivered in the most academic form.
I continued to tackle smaller projects aboard Sailing Vessel Galopin, and overall did well. Set up my cool crib interior, changed the head pump, replaced all the bulbs with LEDs. The most challenging job was servicing the 9 winches. A job I estimated to take a couple of days took a week. Once again, you can’t hurry things. But the manly tingle I got back from greasing up them bad winches successfully, was perversely gratifying.
As projects got done more would come. A boat is like the Sisyphus myth. You just keep fixing one thing after the other with no end in sight. I did a bit of cosmetics like replacing the rusted roof dodger snap attachments. What a treat it was to finally put up that dodger. Then the sails. My step-dad Mickey came to spend a few days with me to check out the boat and the area. He was a great help, mainly in the confidence department. He prompted me to get the sails up. Start the engine and get out to sea.
The sails were heavy, and thank goodness Mickey was there. We managed to hoist them and set up the Lazy Bag. He got me silicone spray for the main sail rail on the mast. Cleaned and oiled the teak and patted me cheerfully on the back as he watched me set everything up again and again until it was right. And we were off!
We finally went out, and it was Mickey’s enthusiasm and get-go that sparked my courage. Galopin is a solid 40ft lady. My slip is pretty tight and getting her out of port was more daunting for me than being out at sea. Following Mickey’s suggestion, we did some exercises in the channel and went to get diesel fuel. Our first hiccup, as we bounced into the dock leaving a few stain marks on the hull from the bumpers. Poor Mickey got scalped when scraped his head on the back solar panel support. Luckily, it was only a surface scratch.
What a feeling to be out on the sea. To raise the sails and turn the engine off and quietly glide on the Mediterranean surface. We tacked a bit poorly, but that will improve. The wind meter is not working for some reason now, but I know how to read the wind vane on top of the mast. Another Sisyphus project on the list. The Lazy Bag crimped up because I’d forgotten to secure it to the end of the boom. I made sure all the knots were correct and set up the reefs. I finally snapped on the roof dodger. Those snaps are engineered to release only when you pull them in a particular way. Smart. Figured out what that key/wrench was for on the main sail. It locks the sail guides into the track.
The Lazy Bag just needed to be tied and secured on the end of the boom. The instruments are almost working. My auto pilot compass is way off. Need to calibrate that. Wind meter not functioning. But fixed the speedometer and adjusted the depth gauge to measure from the bottom of the keel. Couldn’t figure out why the windlass was not working. Went on YouTube and figured out a breaker was snapped. Now it works fine.
Galopin is quite the lady. She’s got style, yet everything is functional. Smart and sharp. An angel and a rascal. She needs constant attention, but she gives me back comfort, support and freedom. With all her little faults, she’s just perfect.