The first thing that Brian and I did once we obtained the
boat keys was to go through the entire boat to determine what
remained aboard from the previous owner; what "free" stuff had we
gained through this sale? We opened every cupboard, closet, and
hatch and took inventory of remaining spare parts, life jackets,
harnesses, flares, equipment manuals, canvas, sails, lines,
cleaning products, etc. As we emptied and sorted, I cleaned all of
the compartments. The boat was basically clean, just a bit of dust,
and basically empty. Now it was time to get down to the good stuff.
We dismantled everything! Now that we own this boat, we wanted to
know the nitty-gritty details. As any boatowner will attest, a
new-to-you boat doesn't mean new
. It simply
means that we don't yet know what our project list will entail; and
let's face it, any boat is a continuous project! We had an outline
of where to begin from the surveyor but anticipated little
surprises to emerge. And so we took up the cushions, we uninstalled
the interior paneling, we took up the floor, we inspected the
bilges, we poked, we prodded, and we inserted flashlights where no
flashlight had gone before...thus, Detour
transformed from show-mode to work-mode. After we'd sufficiently
prodded for one afternoon, we'd convinced ourselves that this boat
was in such disrepair it would never leave the yard and,
momentarily, we yearned for Rode Trip
course, this was delusional thinking; a typical cruiser's defense
response when feeling overwhelmed to speculate the worst possible
outcome and then crack a beer or pour a cocktail and proclaim,
"Well it could be worse, at least she floats!") We'd start small,
from the bottom up.
Our first project aboard Detour
was to clean the water tanks and bilges
and to test the water systems and bilge pumps. Everything had been
exposed when we'd taken up the flooring and now all we needed was a
hose to get started. No problem! We walked to the chandlery at Port
Napoleon to buy a hose. We found exactly one hose priced at €55.
Yikes! Next we went to the one other nearby chandlery and found a
hose for €45. Getting better, but at those prices we'd break the
bank and this was only project #1. We'd recalled a household aisle
in the grocery store, so we went there to look for a hose. We
meandered around the store for several minutes, hovering by the
household aisle and searching through light bulbs, batteries,
extension cords, etc. A gentleman who had been pacing the main
aisle stopped us, in French, and inquired what we were looking for.
He pulled a badge from beneath his sweater collar and motioned with
his finger in front of his lips, "Shhhh, Security." He re-hid his
badge and then we proceeded to play a game of charades with the
security guard and two other grocery store employees. We said,
"eau," for 'water' and "fleur" for our improve version of 'flower'
and motioned as though we were watering a garden. Brian even made
the "SShhhhhh" sound as though there were water gushing from his
imaginary hose. We formed our fingers to make a circular shape and
said, "tube," for 'tube.' Finally, "Ah ha!" replied the security
guard and he motioned we follow him back to the household aisle. No
Lastly we went to the secondhand chandlery, but no hoses
there. Fortunately there happened to be a cruising couple browsing
the secondhand chandlery. The couple was speaking English! We
struck up a conversation with them, thankful for some cruising
small-talk, and then asked if they knew of a hardware store
anywhere in the vicinity. "You'll want to look for a bricolage,"
replied the husband, "but you won't find one here. The nearest may
be in Marseilles." The search for a hose was then postponed for the
next day. Fortunately, Brian and I have rented a car. Rather than
drive to Marseilles, which seemed silly, we opted to drive to the
nearest, larger town of Arles; approximately 40-minutes away. We'd
visited Arles when we had gone to France in search of our new boat
and we recalled a shopping district. Maybe we'd find a hose there.
It was a scenic drive.
As we approached the commercial center of Arles we
spotted a billboard advertising 'Mr. Bricolage'. "Oooohhh!" I
exclaimed, "That must be the store the cruising couple suggested,
there is one just ahead!" Just around the rotary...
This store was precisely a Home Depot transplanted
in France. In the garden section we found an entire selection of
hoses of various sizes and much more affordable prices. Success!
But we had to build the hose. Interesting. The hoses did not
include end fittings, and so once you select a hose you also must
select the appropriate hose fittings. This was no big deal, there
were only a few dozen options.
Mission complete! We bought a hose and appropriate
end fittings for €20. We also discovered the hardware store, to
which we'd return with a proper list. First boat project, here we