We have been good this year – or at least we think so! We hope you can locate us this season as we are in a whole new hemisphere and covered a lot of ground over the last twelve months. The good news for you is that it is summer here and you can warm up a bit while traveling the world. Plus, because we are a day earlier, you can get rid of a lot of the stuff and lighten your load for the remainder of your visits.
Our Christmas list is quite long this year – but we'll understand if you can't fit everything in your sleigh. We are having trouble getting parts and pieces delivered here anyway – so we sure understand if you too have problems. It seems to be the norm not the exception.
So here's the list …
A new mainsail – The old one is just that – "old." It is so old that when we try to heave to or sometimes tack, the sail shape (or lack of shape) makes it quite a challenge. It certainly got tested on the latest trip across the Pacific. But we've made use of her and stretched her use to cover us these past few years. This is a pretty critical piece of equipment on a sailboat…and it is the first priority on our list!
Engine parts – or if you're feeling very generous a new main engine! It seems the old Perkins is in need of some major repairs (injector pump, redone injectors, a few fuel lines, some oil leak repairs (you know how these Perkins can be) and some new spares – lift pump, filters and new belts). We try to take good care of it with frequent scheduled oil and filter changes and we always filter and treat the fuel. We just put new motor mounts on as well. So we'll take whatever you can give us and be very, very grateful.
Steering cables – it seems though we have ordered these weeks ago – you'll probably get here sooner than the DHL delivery!
Solent Stay – This would allow us one more option when picking a suit of sails for various conditions. Plus it would be a place to run our storm sail in those really bad conditions. Nothing fancy here - just sturdy!
Cockpit Sole – There is a lot of soul on this boat – but it seems our cockpit sole has some broken planks and we are getting some water below – so a bit of teak and some woodworking would be handy – surely you have elves capable of expert woodworking!
Galley Counters – We cook and bake a lot aboard and the old galley formica is starting to really show its wear. It's lifting off the counters and even with lots of elbow grease, the stains just won't budge!
Steering Handle – We love people aboard but the big steering wheel seems to get in the way of folks knees and moving around. And asking for a folding wheel is just plain greedy – so we'll settle for a cheaper option of a handle that could be put in when at anchor so we could still steer the boat if we removed the big wheel.
Cabin Cushions – Okay, we'll admit this is a pure luxury. Our cushions are getting a bit worn after four years aboard (and they are the originals with the boat and Astarte is 25 years old. ) But it is a Christmas wish list right?
Underwater Camera – We try to put pictures on our web page for the enjoyment of our readers – and underwater pictures are particularly nice – especially for the marine scientists n our family. But the Panasanic Lumix we bought drowned. It wasn't supposed to and it seems the company wouldn't honor its warranty – so we'd suggest a different variety. One with a housing seems to be the way to go! We promise to take lots of pictures of the marvelous underwater environment in all these exotic locations.
New Camera – we try to write articles and send pictures with those articles as well as putting many on our log page…but our camera sometimes just won't focus. That can be a problem – but if you have a spate one, we'd love it – otherwise we'll make do.
Wind Instruments – We've had a bit of wind on this last passage and the electronic wind indicator sometimes just goes beserk and won't tell us the correct direction…that can be a problem. And at night, its simply too hard to see the top manual windex windvane. So a replacement would be nice.
Gutters – We make use of rainwater – but we seem to have sprung some leaks in the gutters and they need to be replaced. We've already replaced all the fittings! So a bit of vinyl that is UV protected would be nice!
Varnish Worker – Seeing it will be "off season" for your elves after Christmas, could you spare one to help us with the interior re-varnishing? He can stay aboard and we'll feed him well! We have lots to do and if possible could he bring his own sandpaper, mineral spirits and varnish? We won't just watch, we'll also work hard to get the job done.
Netbook Computer – We don't need or want the latest, newest or most tricked out gear – just something that will allow us to send and get our e-mails (including that most important weather!); skype calls to our moms, family and friends; and do some internet searching for parts and maintenance information; and do some writing including keeping our log page and a few articles …we really don't use it frivolously. Ours has been repaired a few times and we get the "blue screen of death" way too often lately. We think it's on its last legs.
Haul-Out – The boat will need to be pulled out of the water at some point before we leave here to check on a few things like the rudder. Plus, we'll most likely need some new bottom paint by that point as well.
Genoa ReCut – Talking to the local sail makers here, it seems that our genoa is not exactly cut properly. The leads to the sheets are all wrong and it frankly is a bit large. It is about five years old and has some miles on it (but so do we and we don't need to be replaced!) – So perhaps a bit of a nip and tuck?
Okay – the list can go on and on but these are the most urgent (and a few not so urgent). They really aren't too many luxury items on the list (those would be things like a new watch for Michael, new hiking shoes and new MP3 players). We'll have fresh, boat made cookies on board for you and we should be in an anchorage (hopefully) in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand. We'll have the Christmas lights on for you!
Cheers , Merry Christmas and Giant Thank You!
Barbara and Michael
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