Saturday, January 19, 2013


St. Augustine, FL

Who came up with this idea of changing the oil in the kitchen?
We've been a regular chain gang, trying to get Cara Mia into shape for a season in the Bahamas. I talk a lot about a sailor's play, but our chores sometimes get overlooked. In addition to the ongoing battle against the elements, we have routine maintenance that demands our attention.

The engine enjoyed a spa day -- oil change (my first time to do it by myself), transmission fluid change and coolant flush (Chip's first time to do that). She's purring and ready to go. Now I need a spa day.

Instead, I attended my own version of CrossFit, hauling around 280 feet of chain. I'd been meaning to pull it all out and have a look and being at the dock offered a perfect opportunity. You can tell from the photo which end we've been using. As with most things on a boat, regular use actually keeps equipment in better condition than disuse (or misuse). The first 100 feet on the left gets regular "cleaning" from friction between the links, passing through the windlass and dragging through sand.

The other end sits idle in the bottom of the anchor locker getting a daily salting from the working chain.

Originally, I thought I would clean the whole thing and flip it. Big ideas, big plans. I got all the chain out of the dock, and the dock chatter began. Sailors are an opinionated bunch. Lots of theories were bandied about, products recommended, products tested, jokes made, beers consumed. I measured and rearranged it several times.

In the end, we had to leave town on short notice, so I deferred the entire chain dilemma to next season. Chip cut off about 10 feet of the good end with a Dremel, because it was showing some wear. I marked it every 20 feet (so we know how much chain we have out) and then we just heave-hoed the whole thing back into the chain locker the same way it was before all the ballyhoo.

I did clean out the chain locker while it was empty and get the secondary anchor, a CQR, into deployable condition (good thing we never had an emergency requiring a backup anchor). Chip serviced the swivel and put a new shackle on the Delta, so progress was made, muscles were used, future chore lists were written.

There was some sweat, some cursing, some bruises, but soon enough we'll be looking down at that chain happily dangling in crystalline turquoise water.

who are these people? me | chip | cara mia | our very long timeline


  1. Chatter, beers consumed, opinions & theories expressed, cursing, sweating & finally, bruising. Sounds like a night at the old Drafty Tavern.

    So you're saying that the Wancheese fishing crews, home from the sea, took a short cut to reach the whole sailing into the sunset bliss thing?

    1. I'm trying hard to understand that question. ???? Hope to be delivering your winter vacation photos soon .... :-)