One Christmas Gift was the 12 Days of (New Boat) Christmas song.
Another gift was Don Casey's This Old Boat. Wait, what? "Old" boat?
Well, okay, it was built in 1982. It is almost 30 years old. Cars don't last that long, so I guess, by the "transportation" yardstick she's old. Houses last at least that long -- our last house had a slate roof good for 100 years -- so by the "housing" yardstick she isn't even broken in yet.
I'm still getting reconciled to the idea that I've got something on the fringe of project boat. It's in generally fine shape. But -- as Don Casey points out -- there are numerous optimizations and improvements that one can envision.
[The photo? That's a "project boat" we saw in Virgin Gorda. Already located in an ideal cruising destination. And you know it floats, so that question is answered.]
Here's a great resource: the Boat US Don Casey Library.
And, for the most recent project: the Practical Sailor article on Bronze Seacocks. I own nine, of two different sizes. Three now work, three have been disassembled so they can be rebuilt. Only one fell into the deep bilge below the drive shaft where the light of day has never been. Three more need to be addressed in the coming weekends.
I also own 3 Marelon seacocks: no special maintenance required. Plus a knotmeter that does require some old boat skills; parts are on order.
I figured this out on my own, but Casey confirmed it: the stuff that prevents launching (i.e., through-hull, bottom paint, deck core replacement) are at the very top of the priority list. They're structural. Other things are features or finish, and they can wait. Changing all the bulbs to put in low-energy LED lights can wait until a rainy day when we don't want to sail, but do want to play boat all day.
[Edit. Pastor Steve provided this link: she being Brand, by e. e. cummings. That's it exactly.]
Plastic, we know, lasts forever. The Pacific Gyre is a floating island of plastic of epic, heartbreaking scale.
Here's the law: Plastic Cannot Be Disposed Of. It does not decompose into anything except plastic. It winds up in the ocean where it breaks up into pieces small enough to enter the food chain. Since it's indigestible, it simply gets passed up from prey to predator. We wind up eating our own plastic waste.
Plastic must be recycled. It isn't really sensible to do anything but fix and keep fixing older boats. (Boat manufacturers, I hope, are aware that the market inevitably must decline; I'm hopeful that the good manufacturers start to diversify into comprehensive refit service to keep their plastic floating and out of our food chain.)