_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Marcy home Walvis Bay Angling Club club AFASyn Ushuaia Marcy and crew

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Marcy's Penny Pinching Strategies


We watch our budget very carefully. We've heard money referred to by sailors as “freedom chips” - the longer the money can last, the longer the sailing can last. We've also heard boats referred to as “a hole in the water into which you must pour money” and we try hard to disprove that saying.

So we sail conservatively – new sails or even repairs are expensive. We reef early and always look up to check for chafe or hang ups in the rig. We use the sail cover religiously to protect the expensive mainsail from UV rays. Also we make sure the jib is completely rolled up to ensure the sacrificial cover strip actually fully covers the sail. We sail a lot and motor a little because of course, diesel fuel isn't cheap.

There is a wonderful money saving synergy possible with plywood, seine twine, tools and paint, combined with a knowledge of knots and lashings. We carry a small AC jigsaw and drill motor that we can use on board and off grid with inverter power. Many small repairs and modifications can be accomplished inexpensively with these tools and scraps of plywood. For example, our whip antenna needed a support, so we made a bracket and lashed it in place. Otherwise, a welder would have been hired to do the job.....

Ginger and antenna with bracket

One of our solar panel mounts broke and plywood and twine came to the rescue.

Peter and panel mount

Bashing upwind while leaving New Zealand last year, a joint in the v berth started to separate. Simple lashings replace or at least delay a more elaborate repair.

v berth lashing

Of course, we did not invent this type of repair – Wharram boats are built this way. Also years ago, Peter worked for and learned from Dick Wagner (of the Center for Wooden Boats in Seattle) how to keep a fleet sailing with seine twine.

We decided that a proper seat at the chart table would be nice for talking on the radio nets. With some plywood, paint and the handy jig saw we had a serviceable sit down nav desk.

chart table with seat

And of course we had to make a deck box for the giant African propane cylinder. We've had many struggles but always eventual success to get our US bottles filled in various countries until we were stumped in South Africa – and so we had to buy the local standard. We hope it will be acceptable in South America!

propane box

In addition to spending as little as possible on repairs and modifications we practice inexpensive tourism. We walk everywhere – only very rarely do we take a taxi. As a bonus, we see interesting sights not in the tour books. On the way to the grocery store, we pass a site where fishing boats are being cut apart for scrap metal.

scrapping fishboats Cape Town

cutting fishboat Cape Town

With our Austrian friends Doris and Wolfe of Nomad we climbed Lion's Head to enjoy the view of Cape Town. We loved this “fire extinguisher” mounted on a tree at the trailhead.

fire sign

Cape Town from Lions Head

climbers Lions Head

There were sections with small rocks conveniently glued (glued rocks?! TIA – This Is Africa) on the route for hand and footholds.

glued on rock Lions Head

on top Lions Head

Back at the boat, Ginger cooked up a nice braii for the four us. As we ate, drank, and discussed the weather, we agreed that life was good, even on a strict budget!

braii RCYC



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