Why Work on Physical Fitness?

One enduring myth about the cruising life is that it’s a seriously healthy lifestyle. Outside all the time, endless exercise, and really great food.

I’ve written a blog post that debunks a few of these myths already, and this isn’t going to rehash the same material. Instead, I wanted to share with you my weekend of boat work and what it meant.

This isn’t to garner sympathy or to brag. Rather, it’s to show you just why being physically fit when you’re planning for a life aboard is a good thing.

As you might already be aware, we’re redoing the whole interior of Calypso in preparation for our upcoming cruise. We’ve ripped out substantial hunks of cabinetry, removed the table while we’re in construction mode, thrown away essential items like the sink and old cushions.

We’re starting to build things back up, yes, but there’s still more to come out, including old bulkheads in the galley as well the existing box for refrigeration.

Part of the challenge on our boat is that it’s small, which means sometimes when we’re working on a spot, there’s literally no space for two people to work at the same time.

This weekend, Jeremy was fiberglassing wood tabs onto the hull. These will be the fix points for ash strips that will line the glass. He was cutting and measuring and debating the best way to go about it, so I decided to tackle more galley destruction.

  There’s MORE to destruct?

There’s MORE to destruct?

Step 1: figure out how I was going to create a flat surface. I needed to get UNDER the deck, which would be far easier to accomplish if I could be on my back.

Choice? Cockpit cushions.

Step 2: Figure out what tools I’d need. I was after removing a piece of wood that had served to anchor a mini-bulkhead where doors once hinged (doors and bulkhead have long been removed). I didn’t want to worm my way in there and then have to come out any more frequently than necessary. Chisel, hammer, screwdriver (both Phillips and flat heads), crowbar. Boom.

Step 3: Get into position. Way easier said than done. I had to sit on the engine cover, swing my legs around, inch my butt backwards (while praying the cockpit cushion actually held solid), and get under the deck. I had about 15 inches of space to work in, luckily JUST enough to get my arms in place.

Once there, I started really looking at the task. Hmm, no obvious holes for screws. Was it just on with glue? Wait. Is that . . . could it be . . . OMG there are bungs. Someone had spent the time to COUNTERSINK and then BUNG each fastener hole. In a place that would never, ever be seen by anyone else (well, until I came along to remove it.)

Talk about overbuilt.

That or a public works project.

It took chiseling out each bung, getting the screwdriver positioned properly, and unscrewing each of the 6 fasteners along the 42” of length before I could pry the piece of wood off.

But I got it off, extricated myself from under the deck, and was able to help Jeremy with sanding and epoxy work.

Here’s the thing. It took flexibility - both mental flexibility to think of a solution to the “no flat surface” problem as well as physical flexibility to get myself into the right spot. It took strength (have you tried to hold a screwdriver over your head for 45 minutes and hold it hard when you have barely room to hold your arms up?) and endurance.

Is this every day life? No. But being physically fit means I can do these kinds of projects by myself, adding to the enjoyment and pride of ownership.

Yes, be fit. It’s worth it.

P.S. Here’s the status of the interior now. Notice the fiberglassed tabs? Yay!

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