First article in a long time! In this one I quickly retrace my hectic confinement. I publish it late since I finished it about a week ago, but others will follow quickly, shorter and surely more often.
The COVID crisis came as a surprise for everyone, but I have experienced it in a privileged context. I confined myself on January 3rd on my boat, to go back to the roots, to refocus on myself and the essentials. 3 months later the Coronavirus reduces my originality to nothing, takes away my work after 10 days of toil, but nevertheless offers me rather unexpected prospects!
Blocked at the dock, you might as well enjoy it
The harbour of Kernével is of a decent size. Normally it is very busy, I know something about it since I am on the main aisle. But with the crisis only the living on board like me were present. The setting is nice, there are showers, electricity and fresh water. So I took advantage of the free time to do work, but without vehicle or the right to go around and my little tooling it was going to be complicated.
One day I happen to see a nice 12mm plywood drop in the trash can of the harbour. The size was correct to make a new walk, so I get it back. Unfortunately I have to make two cutouts, a jigsaw would be welcome.
There comes a day when a passerby passes with a trolley filled with various belongings. I ask by any chance if this gentleman would have a jigsaw that I could borrow to make two cuttings, and he pulls out one of his trolley that he lends me. Impeccable!
Ho but you’re the guy who throws plywood?me
Later I would sympathize with him, Yvon who lives on Incognito, then his neighbors pontoons I and H who also live as a couple on their boats: Syel, Lady L. and others. All are older than me, their experiences and advice are solid! Also, they are very generous with me and give me materials, lend me tools and above all offer me their friendship.
I also meet my other neighbors with whom contact passes just as well. We have more or less all undertaken to take advantage of the containment to renovate our boats… The harbour has turned into a mini fab-lab: we have a teacher from AFPA (national agency for vocational training for adults), a carpentry teacher and full of experienced handymen, respecting the rules of social distancing.
During this confinement, I was able to take down a lot of work:
- Treatment of rust from the back of the keel, no small matter, see this detailed article.
- Making and laying a step in the descent
- Making and laying a base for the bilge pump
- Cutting a steel partition to give access to a “hidden compartment” (equipped – storage)
- Pulling wires through steel and wood partitions as well as through the insulation behind the planking
- Making a custom electric panel with the help of Yvon who made the cut and assembly with his carpenter’s tools. See the pictures below.
I was able to do all this with the help of pontoon buddies, otherwise the list would be much thiner. What is done is no longer to be done!
The big job
In fact, my idea is to fix the navigator workspace which has been disadvantaged compared to the rest of the boat. I have a spacious card table that I could use as an office when I need to work. But as it is today it’s not really possible: the instruments are just placed on the card table, their cables prevent to be able to lean against the wall, and then it’s ugly in there, it gives no desire to go there!
Judge for yourself:
In short, I decided to launch on April 13th as soon as Emmanuel Macron announced the extension of the containment. And sorting through that pile of spaghetti was pretty complicated. Where to start? After four weeks I finally see the end of the tunnel, and it was worth it.
I took advantage of the change of the passage of the cables to enlarge the access to the compartment of the navigator’s berth. I would do the rest of the development later.
Ha yes I also learned – like many during confinement – to make sourdough bread on an idea of my brother. At least at the mooring I would have enough to spread on! I have five kilos of flour in the bilges, the new format of COVID-19 packages is not bad!
A certain routine
Days are following one another at a crazy speed. The work is progressing not without difficulties. The problem when you live on board is that you have to live in the construction site. I put everything in place in the morning and put away all night. Usually it takes an hour for me to clean the field.
Sometimes certain activities are incompatible… Making bread when the varnish dries next door is not very regulatory. Generally speaking, after two months of living confined in a construction site, I’m getting tired of it. I spend my time tidying up and it’s always a mess!
So I’m tinkering, and in a good mood! But something is worrying me: I don’t have a job anymore. Sailing is an expensive activity and I am coming to the end of my savings. That’s why I earlier found a job in carbon industry!
Work, and the future
After prospecting again, I finally found a part-time job, working remotely with my Norwegian colleagues. It is a position that allows me to survive and above all that has the advantage of requiring only a network access. So I have everything I need, the possibility to work without the constraint of having to go ashore or to respect fixed schedules: it’s just perfect!
At the same time I continue to look for freelance projects. This is a goal that matters to me and is important anyway if I want to respect the 6 rules of the project. I want to have a sustainable professional project, be active.
In the short term, I want to sail. I intend to finish the last few details of my work here in Kernével. Then, and if possible as early as June I will be able to resume my navigation program. Namely: test Øya as initially planned for February! So I plan to go to Quiberon Bay, do my tests, then travel to Brittany, along the French coast or elsewhere during the summer.
In the end, I managed to find a job and socialize at a time when everyone found themselves unemployed and forced to social distancing. In addition, my boat comes out with a clean keel and a brand new electric panel made to measure.
If that’s not Vilain!