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Weekend Report: The Deep Clean

There’s so much crap on my boat that taking it all out, piling it on deck, then shoving it below again reminds me of a posse of clowns getting out of a VW Bug at the circus. Such is life when you finally get around to the deep clean you’ve been meaning to do but have been putting off.

You may or may not be able to see a boat between the docks and underneath all that stuff . . . 

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

It’s also amazing to see what you’ve accumulated (or in my case, inherited). My Columbia 24 Esprit has a full cover, an old main, an aluminum gimbaled stove, a few generations of stiff, crusty life jackets and floating cushions, several boxes full of screws, nuts and bolts, an ancient, decaying flare kit, an ancient, decayed first aid kit, etc., etc. One interesting find was orange foul-weather jackets lined with flotation. In keeping with the retro, old-school and ultra-budget vibe of Esprit, I had planned to proudly wear said gear when the spray finally started coming over the bow. But trying it on, the jacket was rigid and awkward, and I suspected that its flotation properties had withered long ago. It felt like wearing a straitjacket full of thin bricks.

It actually doesn’t look as awkward as it felt.

© 2018 Nathaniel Beilby

There’s been good reason for putting off this full-afternoon, pull-everything-out-of-the-boat clean: I haven’t had time. When I do get a day off, I want to go sailing; I certainly don’t want to go sailboat cleaning. The latter feels like an onerous chore for a category of boat ownership that I have previously felt unqualified for (like a step in a relationship I’ve been scared to commit to). The boat has been perfectly sail-ready, even if there’s a ton of superfluous gear sloshing about.

A montage of crap. I had to go up the mast to replace a lower shroud that I broke way back in December.

©2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The real impetus for the clean is my giddy excitement to go Bay cruising this summer. A night at Aquatic Park has become for me what Baja is for serious cruisers with bluewater boats. Now ready for the season, I was motivated to get the boat shipshape. We often discuss with our readership what to do in the case of a crew overboard or general emergency, and while most situations will be unique and require spontaneous ingenuity, knowing exactly where all your gear is and having it neatly stowed and accessible is surely a fundamental piece of preparation for when the fecal matter hits the oscillating rotary device.

Don’t worry, reader: It wasn’t all work. The day before the deep clean (on April 29), we went for an all-day cruise. After we’d been anchored at China Camp for most of a cold, gray and slightly dreary day, the sun broke through with a vengeance and the breeze was a steady 15 knots.

© 2018 Nathaniel Beilby

And not unlike doing laundry, cleaning the car, or organizing the office, the deep clean gave me a profound sense of satisfaction. I felt (and feel) mentally and physically prepared and ready for action. Bring. On. The. Summer! 

Have you deep cleaned lately? Let us know.

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An event coming up this week escaped inclusion our May Calendar, but we hope this mention will get to you in time to attend a special event at Spaulding Marine Center in Sausalito this Thursday, May 10, 7-9 p.m.
There’s often a lot of bluster about growing sailing, so it’s a welcome sight to see a new community program join the Bay Area’s collection of dedicated sailing programs.