Where to begin? I guess by observing that if it were easy, a lot more people would be doing it.
Let me be clear - no pity is looked for! When we look around at what our peers living ashore are up to, we're pretty sure that we wouldn't want to trade with any of them. Nothing against what they're doing, of course, but just to say that we're generally very very happy with family life afloat.
|Alisa, and a boat cabin in transition|
But it does take a heap of effort to secure enough research funding, and do enough research work, to pay for it all, at the same time that we're keeping the boat in the kind of shape that we'd want her to be in if we were doing ocean crossings with the family (which we are), at the same time that we're keeping family life going.
Normally I don't spend too much time worrying about any of that - we just do what it takes, and we love what we do, the effort be damned.
But the annual trip to the yard is when I wonder about it all - all the effort that just disappears on boat maintenance and improvements (what if I worked this hard at writing?) and all the money that gushes into the boat, despite our efforts to staunch the flow. And the dark thoughts of safety, or the opposite, when I consider this possible contingency or that aboard, and how we might anticipate it now. When I take a break from thinking about all that, I give a thought to all the multi-day projects that I have awaiting me before we're "ready" to go. Ambitious sailing, like our plans for Patagonia, definitely increases the work load beyond what we'd be doing if we only planned more downwind sailing in the tropics.
So all that, psychologically, makes the annual haulout tough for me.
Luckily, this year we have some helpers from afar who are watching the kids so Alisa and I can both work in the yard. Everything, physically and mentally, is much easier when two are working together.