Monday, February 19, 2007

Pre-Departure - October and November 2006

The weeks leading up to our departure from Newport were a whirlwind. We spent nearly every day at the boat installing new electronics, navigation and steering equipment and deck hardware, servicing the winches, finishing the engine rebuild, sorting through and inventorying all of our spares, figuring out how best to use our available storage space, taking delivery of our new main sail, dodger and bimini (the latter two took a few return trips to the vendor to get right), and cleaning every inch of the boat that we could reach.

In the meantime, my sister, Alena, was working on finishing our new cushions, mattresses, main sail sail cover, bimini cover, and staysail bag. Sten’s mother, Suzy, took care of our provisioning through near daily trips to the grocery and did a myriad of other tasks to free us up to work on the boat full time. Sten’s father, Bill, and his partner, Laurie, put together our medical kit, taught us how to suture, and outfitted Sten with all the fishing gear he could possibly need to keep us in fresh fish. Bill also came to help us on his days off . Family friend George Kates took the time to customize our fish cleaning table so that it would fit in one of the aft deck lockers.

Our friends Matt Borgen, Evan Wilcox and his wife, Elenore, all came out to see Mata'irea (from Philly and Portland, Oregon) and help out. Matt helped us with electrical work. Ev designed the look of Mata'irea's name and hailing port as they appear on the sides and transom of the boat.

We’ve enjoyed unwavering support from our friends Jay and John DeYoung, the first person we told about this crazy idea one summer evening over dinner on the deck at the Boston Harbor Hotel and her husband, the creator of our website. We had so much help from everyone, without which we wouldn’t have gotten off the dock any time near our targeted departure date. As it was, we nearly didn’t.

The weekend before we left, my folks came out from Ohio to visit. We were still in the throws of the refit, and nothing yet was stored. This is the sight that awaited them when they came aboard Mata’irea for the first time:

I doubt they would have suddenly approved of our upcoming adventure even if she had been boatshow perfect. As it was, I’m sure that the chaos that greeted them didn’t do anything to ease their fears. But dad rolled up his sleeves and helped install our new shower pumps and radio, while mom kept an inventory while I stowed our spares.

By the end of the week, the boat was clean, all the provisions were stowed, the new cushions, mattresses and canvas were in place, the berths made up, and Mata’irea and her crew were ready to go.

Alena among her handiwork:

Her weeks of work have turned our boat into a home.

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