Confessions of a new boat owner



Hi Amazing Peeps,

I am about to be brutally honest and I am sorry if I upset any real sailors and fishermen.

We have owned Sumbawa for just over a year. She is the first boat we’ve ever had. We haven’t even had a dingy before. We are very knew to this.

This means that there have been things that haven’t been done that probably should have. This was part of our problems coming up.

When Steve bought Sumbawa in Sydney, her previous owners treated her like a rubbish dump, especially the rear, deep bilge.

This bilge is 950mm deep, tiny and the only way to get to it is to lay down, with your head half in it and scoop like mad.20170714_122407

When Steve was in Sydney, this bilge was half full of sludge, rubbish and ewwness. He cleaned out as much as he could. There were beer cans, packets, magazines pieces, motor parts all covered in oily slime.

On Tuesday, when our sponge decided to make love to our coupling and spill its insides everywhere, the foam not only got everywhere but added to the slime that was still in the rear bilge. This was the reason everything got blocked.20170714_122400

So Friday, we pulled out the bilge pipes, I got my head in there and spent 4 hours scraping it out.

I know that on boats there are blue and pink jobs. I have never been a real pink person so I am happy to do a few blue jobs. Friday, Steve was fixing the motor, the cockpit step and I can’t rememver how but he got icky too. Me, I was almost fully covered in oily slime.

I didn’t take a photo of the bag of stuff we got out but it weighed approximately 20kg. It was everything from timber to a really old 9v battery. There was a shower drain as well. Our boat was equipped so that when people had showers, it drained into the bilge. This is SO GROSS because it fills with human fat and oil – that is a 9 on the Chunder Thunder Index and I was neck deep in it – YUK YUK YUK x infinity2 .20170714_123156

By 4pm, I had been head down for 4 hours, my skin had soaked up way too much crap and I was covered from my face to my toes in slime. I called Marine rescue here and found out they have showers sailors can use for a gold coin donation but I had to be there before 4.30pm.

I gave myself a basic clean, got a plastic bag to put my oily clothes in, put clean clothes and a tonne of soap in my backpack and walked over.

I was buzzed in but I wasn’t allowed upstairs, they just screamed down to me where the showers were so off I went.

There is a lot of similarities between Eden and Ulladulla. They are both big fishing towns, there are a tonne of people that are from Eden that now live here and the people are great. The main difference is at Eden wharf there are showers but you can’t adjust the temperature, it is set to ‘warm’. This maybe warm in Summer but before we left, I went for one of our few fresh water showers. It was 5° this morning and I was looking forward to hot, fresh water. IT WAS BLOODY FREEZING! It just didn’t warm up. I jumped and out but come out colder than I went in.

In the Marine rescue here, I had my first HOT shower in ages. It was OHHHH! I spent most of the time scrubbing like a crazy person but it was still wonderful.

When I was done, I yelled from the bottom of the stairs where I put the donation and they said to come upstairs. The man up there – Frank said now that I am clean, I am allowed upstairs. I paid my donation and happily walked back to the boat. I had about 4 comments on the way back that I look like a new woman.

Do you know how there are those woman who put an inch thick layer of make-up on? They must look like different people when they wash it all off. I looked like a new woman with an inch layer of grime now gone. There is actually skin underneath – and it’s SOFT – WOW!

So yesterday, we reinstalled the bilge pipes and the electrical pumps. They all work great when not full of crap and sludge. We have a clean bilge for the first time ever! Now we are ready to go.

Now we have something new crop up. As very new boat owners, we knew nothing about the what’s and how’s of buying a boat. So we never actually saw Sumbawa out of the water before we bought her and she has never been out of the water since. We were given her dimensions upon inquiry and when we bought her, we were given a bunch of paperwork that we briefed over.

In that bunch of paperwork were her original plans that were drawn 9 years before she was built. We had looked at these but not fully examined. As we are looking at getting Sumbawa up on the slip here, the engineer -Paul wanted either a plan or a photo of her out of the water.

In a thorough reexamination of the plans, it says that her draft is only 1.5m. We always believed that she was 2.1m. We were gobsmacked! 1.5m is so much smaller.

macwester27 We need to find our own depth

So today Steve is diving her again to see. I know we should have checked but we didn’t think we needed to check. We thought the info that was given us at purchase was correct. That is very newbie of us. I know there are sailors out there who are rolling their eyes and in disbelief but we really knew nothing. It has been learning on the go. Now we know.

If she is only 1.5m, Steve has a friend in Sydney who is a shipwright and takes small boats out. Ours just may fit. If so, we will wait till then to take her out otherwise we will remove her here.

We are learning about Sumbawa, about sailing which is awesome and about ourselves. Our hope, as we progress, that we can give this info to other newbies so that they can learn from our mistakes.

Our final mistake that I will mention here, we made about 6 months ago. We weren’t careful enough on who we allowed onboard. As a result, we haven’t let anyone onboard since then. It left us very wary and cautious and very protective of our area. For the first time, we realized that our boat was our home, our safe place and we needed to be very, VERY selective on who we permit aboard.flower heart

To Love others does not mean I need to invite them onto or into my home. I can give people my Love from a distance. This has been my biggest and hardest lesson so far.

With these very newbie lessons, I will leave it here. All the salty seadogs out there are now sufficiently horrified. With these lessons learnt, we move on hopefully to not so newbie lessons.

Love you all



Beccie is a Best Selling Author, a World Travelling Sailor, an Awesome Wife and the Best Mum to the 10 most Amazing Children on the Planet, a Millionaire, a Polyglot and an Oracle


2 thoughts on “Confessions of a new boat owner

  1. Life is all about learning, it’s good that the learning is done in a nice safe place like Ulladulla harbour and all your repairs will be will be memory logged and then it’s so much simpler the second time round.

    Liked by 1 person


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s