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  • Capt. Eric

Ready is as Ready Does

Updated: Jul 8, 2019

When I learned to fly, ages ago, my instructor would tell me that I should never ever be flying around without "doing something useful". So, even on long cross state flights in my slow little Cessna, I'd constantly check instruments, ran through "what if" scenarios. What if my engine failed right now? What if I lost this instrument right now? Etc.

In a similar way, my mentor and good friend Captain Phillip would always start worrying when as a young exuberant Chief-Officer I'd report how good things were and how well everything was running. Surely things could only get worse from there...

No guarantees ever, but it's one reason I now always have the wing engine running when entering or departing a port or narrow passage. Should the main fail I just have to switch over to the wing's controls.

Similarly it's one reason I've tried like so many Nordhavn and passage maker owners to have all the possible tools I may need for regular work on board, all the spare parts for normal -and less normal- maintenance and operations. Not an easy task, and not one I'm sure I've mastered yet. Some say you don't really own your boat until you've repaired everything on it!

I also took the time to hunt down all the electronic manuals I could find to store them locally on my NAS. Not just the Owners' Manuals but -when possible- the Maintenance or Technician Training Manuals as well. These are harder to track down.

Well, yesterday evening our washer/dryer stopped drying. Clearly not in the same league as the main engine stopping, but nevertheless for live aboards, quite a lifestyle changing event.

And... As I looked through my NAS for any documentation, there it was in all its glory: The training manual for the washer/dryer.

Having spent the time to track it down months ago, on a rainy night while watching TV probably, meant I could now easily get into the machine for repairs, rather than blind-fully guess where things were.

When I say "easily", I mean as easy as moving a heavy machine in and out of a top side fitted cabinet in a tiny cabin can be. Once out though, it took me less than 5 minutes to find the problem and correct it. Having various combination of tools really helped in the cramped and difficult inaccessible tight spaces in there.

With Di's help and strong arms, we managed to heave the machine back in place, and within 10 minutes it was purring again.

A small event in the grand scheme of things, but a good feeling that we were ready and could cope with it ourselves. Didn't have to change our cruising plans, hire an expensive repair tech, or even worse, use the marinas' laundries!

Let's hope we'll be ready for the other (and likely more serious) problems we will encounter on our adventure.

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