Tag Archives: Preparing a sailing boat to go cruising

The art of multi-tasking


The Skipper up the mast, checking everything is ok and replacing bulbs in the navigation and steaming lights

Preparing Medina to go cruising has given our multi-tasking skills a really good work out this week, physically, mentally and emotionally.

Even though we have crossed a lot of things of our to do list, there just didn’t seem to be enough daylight hours, hours without Orbit on Medina, hours when there is little or no wind this week. So it has been a case of making the most of each situation we found ourselves in. If the wind was calm we were doing things up the mast or taking the tinnie for a run with its new outboard. If it was too windy for tasks on deck, we were doing things below and making the most of wind by washing those things that take a while to dry. If Orbit wasn’t on Medina I was cleaning, sorting, ordering or provisioning and the Skipper was servicing the engine or installing new equipment.

There was also all the ‘administrative’ tasks to sort out, everything from organising our mail, insurances, cars, Orbit’s daycare and activities. And of course, the passage planning – watching the weather forecasts, planing where can we anchor/which marina to go into if we needed water, filling up with fuel (and having spare jerries – just in case), checking our safety equipment, planning menus and what is our plan B in case something goes wrong etc.

Medina's matching boom cover and UV strips on the head sail and stay sail

Medina’s matching boom cover and UV strips on the head sail and stay sail

Despite all the rushing around or because of it, our to do list is much shorter. Either by achieving the tasks (which is the majority), postponing them till we are on the way (mainly little tasks, like finishing the netting I planned to do ages ago) or putting them on a new list to be achieved at our next major stop (the big ‘nice to have done but run out of time’ tasks).

Thursday was a particularly challenging day, both physically and mentally. We only had the morning to get a number of on deck tasks done. Orbit was at daycare, which meant we didn’t have to worry about him but we only had the morning because strong winds were predicted from Thursday afternoon onwards for a few days. I had to take a some photos at one point because I was so proud of what the Skipper and I were achieving both together and individually.

The cleaning and washing never seems to end

The cleaning and washing never seems to end

Within a few hours, I had cleaned the shower including the shower bilge (the grate from the shower bilge and Orbit’s non-slip frog), completed a number of loads of washing (rugs, cushion covers and curtains from the shower (thank goodness we have a washing machine onboard), helped the Skipper put Medina’s sails back on (she looks very smart with her matching boom cover and UV strips) then winched the Skipper up the mast – twice! I then got to go up the mast, because the Skipper left one of the steps at the top open. It was easier for me to go up and close the step rather than winch him up for the third time.

Besides multi-tasking the physical tasks this week, we have also had to multi-task our emotions. There have been the concerns, the doubts, the ‘are we doing the right thing?’ question being played on repeat in our minds. There was also the excitement and joy of starting a new adventure and the sense of achievement when we get one step closer.

View from the mast looking south, our home

View from the mast looking south, our home

We have been mindful of Orbit through this whole transition, how do we assist him through this time? He is seeing a lot happen and a lot change and he has heard us talking with family and friends. We have been trying not to send him on an emotional roller coaster by being on one ourselves.

We’ve have been trying to prepare Orbit by explaining what is happening and what is going to happen and matching this with his concept of time – today, tomorrow and in a few days. We kept his routine in place but talked about how it would be the last time we will be doing something (e.g. last day at playgroup, last day at day care), but he had new adventures ahead. I asked Orbit yesterday what he was most looking forward to and he said going to the beach.

View from the mast, looking north, to where our next adventure begins

View from the mast, looking north, to where our next adventure begins

I am not sure if Orbit completely understands what we are about to do, and even though he’ll be having fun, I am sure after a few days he will be asking to see family and friends and when he’ll being going to playgroup or swimming lessons. When this happens the plan is to explain to him what our new adventure involves and we can count the days till he sees his grandparents, family and friends but also look forward to the new friends he is going to make and the new cousins he will get to play with. I have a calendar on the Medina that we can mark of significant days and he can count the days (I am also hoping this will help him learn the days of the week and months).

Orbit and his cousin, Tilly having fun on Medina's foredeck

Orbit and his cousin, Tilly having fun on Medina’s foredeck

So with only a few hours to go, our time will be spent with our family and friends who have been so supportive of us and our dream. Without them, we would not have achieved what we have so far and we would not be sailing away in a few hours time. Not once have our family or friends questioned what we would like to do. They have asked questions so they can be informed, but have never told or asked us not to go. The main question they have asked is “when are you going”, well we are going very very soon. Too soon to leave them but not soon enough to begin our adventure.

Thank you to everyone who has supported us to get this far – we could not have done it without you and you are all coming with us.