This will be our second trip south. Our first was in 1995-1996, from Detroit, Michigan, to Georgetown, in the Exumas, Bahamas. Then, we were aboard Victory, an aluminum Shore 41, with our children, aged 8 and 11. Now we are retired and it’s just us, Goldie and Nancy.

We purchased our Camper Nicholson 31 last fall and have been getting her ready ever since. She was in very good condition, but still needed some work to be cruising-ready.  A lot of time was spent repainting the bottom and topsides.  Here’s what she looked like when we bought her:


As it turned out, she had many, many blisters, mostly small and not deep, but in need of repair. Here’s a video of Goldie doing blister repairs. The blisters were ground out and repaired with epoxy; then the bottom was barrier coated and painted with bottom paint.

Next, we painted her topsides with white Interlux Perfection and detailed her with bright blue trim and a white cove stripe.  Here’s a video of our painting work, in a nearby boatyard.

This is what Motu Iti looked like just before we launched her a few weeks ago.  Hurray!!!


Now we are wiring, installing the electronics, windvane and solar panels, making screens and cushion covers, arranging storage compartments, loading anchor chain, provisioning, collecting necessaries for the head and galley, and generally loading her up. My chores tend to include: How many cans of mandarin oranges? How much flour and what kind – white, wheat, bread flour? How much tea? Can I find a collapsible salad spinner? (Yes, but how essential is that on a 31’ boat? Really!) Can I design and sew a companionway screen with a zipper? (Eventually, but OMG, it was painful).  A Sunbrella cover for the inflatable dinghy?  (Not sure yet.)  Here’s my sewing room – note the miles of velcro.


How long will it take to remove all the paper labels from the mountain of canned food currently on display in what used to be my living room, (papers with glue can become homes for bugs), and then use a Sharpie to write the contents on the bare can?


Goldie’s chores tend to include: How to mount the solar panels – what kind of solar panels? Wire the instruments and arrange them in the nav station. Make the inverter work. Install reefing lines. Repack the liferaft. And on and on. I believe he could repair and redo everything on the boat forever.

And the kids are helping as well: designing the graphic for the name on the transom, teaching us how to become bloggers, setting up our wi-fi and making sure we can run our computer stuff (very patiently trying to teach us how it all works). They will be our ground crew and computer advisors during our trip.

Right now, the boat is mostly a discouraging, overwhelming mess. Each project takes 10 times longer than planned and costs 100 times more than anticipated.  Time is slipping by – we would like to leave already, but still have many chores. Here’s what the boat looks like so far:

7There’s a chill in the air and it’s time to move south.

2 thoughts on “Getting Ready To Go

  1. That is a pretty good description on life, whether working or going on vacation. Think how many days you will enjoy each of the projects you have completed. Just think for a moment on the amazing skill set you have as a team!

  2. u call this a mess. wow
    don’t look at my boat. U are right about time and money. I know u have already left but I had to make some comment on ur mess.
    Fair winds and following seas!

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