Sailing Nakamal

Boat Jobs

I have three theories of boat jobs:

  1. Boat jobs beget boat jobs
  2. In order to accomplish anything, you have to move something else
  3. At some point during a boat job, at little yoga will come in handy

Boat jobs beget boat jobs

Invariably, once the Captain opens up some compartment to access a line or wire, or removes some component for a simple cleaning, he finds something else that needs to be done. Thus, the list of boat jobs never gets shorter, but it is always changing.

Replacing the joker valve

Replacing the joker valve

For example – one day started with the task of changing the joker valve. It’s the part of the toilet that keeps the smells and other nasty stuff inside the holding tank instead of creeping back out into the bowl.

The joker valve is aptly named because if it starts to go bad and you ignore it, the joke is on you.

So on this fine day, the good Captain completed the joker valve replacement. However, since boat jobs beget more boat jobs, he decided to search the boat to make an inventory of spare head parts.

Which in turn led to the discovery of a leak in the water pump and replacement of said pump. Which led to further discovery of a leaking hose and replacement of said hose. Which stretched the job from one to about three days.

Or the day when I opened a storage cabinet to get out a colander and discovered a silverfish bug. Since I doubt they ever travel solo, I set forth on a mission to find a recipe to get rid of the ones we have and prevent any more from coming aboard. Borax and bay leaves are my new friends.

In order to accomplish anything, you have to move something else

Oiling the teak

Oiling the teak

Nakamal is a marvel of design, with lots and lots of storage. We have a place for (nearly) everything and (most of the time) everything is in its place. But it’s still a boat, with a pretty small interior, which means in order to find any particular item, or to access any particular spot, it is likely you will have to move something else. Usually cushions. It has become apparent in our eight months of living aboard that no boat job can start without at least two cushions in the middle of someplace so we can get to the right storage area to find that special tool or appropriate ingredient.

Sewing a lee cloth

Sewing a lee cloth

In the galley the top of the fridge is our largest counter space. But if I forget something in the fridge, that means moving the plates, or dry ingredients, or pot holders, or my wine glass, or whatever I have placed there.

Sometimes what you have to move is your partner. Such as the time John was comfortably settled at the table but I needed the table to lay out the mosquito netting for cutting in order to work on my hatch cover project. So he had to move.

Love, patience and compromise are a big part of boat living.


At some point during a boat job, at little yoga will come in handy

A little down dog type action. I'm getting used to seeing this side of my beloved.

A little down dog type action. I’m getting used to seeing this side of my beloved.

Sailboat designers have to pack a lot of things into a small space – plumbing, wiring, holding tanks, engines. Naturally these are all parts that need constant attention. But I think they put that stuff in place then build the boat around it. Meaning if you need to get to a critical part of the infrastructure chances are it is inside something, under something, or behind something. Usually something immovable, like the settee or the sink. Bending, twisting, turning, stretching and balance are necessary elements to completing a boat job.

At least at the end of the boat job, there is a cold beer waiting. As long as the fridge holds up and doesn’t go on the fritz – which would no doubt cause a re-prioritization of the list of pending boat jobs!


Up the mast – a place I hope I never find myself.


This entry was published on September 13, 2015 at 12:05 am and is filed under Getting Started, Tucson and San Diego. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

5 thoughts on “Boat Jobs

  1. Ramona Peterson on said:

    Hey you need to write a book love reading this Date: Sun, 13 Sep 2015 00:05:21 +0000 To:


  2. Pingback: #boatliving | Sailing Nakamal

  3. If not a book, how about a screen play, in your spare time. 😉 I’m enjoying your blog very much and downsizing vicariously. Happy sailing!

    Liked by 1 person

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