I'm positive that it was the sound of my own voice I heard, telling my new friend and fellow liveaboard writer Cindy that we pretty much had the big systems in place for the boat to be ready to go south for our trip. After all, we've been living aboard and making improvements for all that time. We're doing the little lifestyle touches now, I told her, things that don't make the boat safer or sail faster, but are comfort stuff and lifestyle improvement. Not "have to haves" but "nice to haves." We're changing the knobs and latches on some of the lockers, refinishing some of the teak trim, figuring out a faster system for lashing the dinghy to the deck. Just finicky stuff, because all the important stuff's done. Right. Seems Mr. Murphy, he of the famous Law of chaos that states that whatever CAN go wrong, WILL go wrong, he was listening too. Thus it was that on the way back from a picture-perfect raftup, as we steered a straight course, the autopilot informed us that we were turning two complete circles hard left. Thus it was that the wonderfully efficient refrigeration system we'd installed 5 years ago suddenly developed an obstruction in the line which made the compressor continue to run at maximum without chilling, while our food got warmer and warmer. And thus it was that a crack in the holding tank widened, and some VERY foul smelling liquids leaked into the bilge.
So fast forward a couple of weeks, because I really don't want to dwell on the scramble we have been doing. The new fridge is in place. They talked us into upgrading ("for only $50 more") and now that we're enjoying really cold drinks, I have to admit the previous one was a bit undersized for the task we asked of it. We *think* we've got the autopilot working again, at least, we replaced the compass and it performed properly on sea trials, though we haven't given it a proper test yet. A new holding tank is on order, and while we're waiting, Dan is taking the opportunity to upgrade the rest of the system, originally built in 1980, to current standards. Why did I ever think sailing away was going to be relaxing and easy???