As the refit progresses, Raya is not looking (or smelling) her best. Rick and the guys at Stella Maris have spent the last few months working their way through her innards, servicing, repairing and replacing as they go. Panels and lockers are lifted, the seat cushion languish in the spare room at home, wiring and pipes dangle mid-connection and the air is a delightful mixture of engine oil and blocked heads. However it is all in a good cause and soon she will be looking beautiful and will be fully prepared to look after us as we set sail.
Rick spends as many days as possible in Southampton, working, watching and learning, while I visit less often holding the fort at home and trying to work through the process of disentangling ourselves from our land based life. We have started to pack up the house, despite the lack of progress with the sale, the paintings and bits of furniture going to friends and family are beginning to disappear and Ongley is starting to look very bare. The agreed completion date was three weeks ago and yet we are still waiting for exchange, however hard I protest and stamp my feet there is nothing we can do, the house buying/selling system in England is just completely bonkers!
I try to combat my frustration by telling myself that soon we will be sailing away from all of this. Of course I know that it’s not quite true, that each port will bring its own bureaucracy, that the paperwork involved in modern life will follow us relentlessly and yacht maintenance must become our friend, but at present I choose to dwell on thoughts of idyllic anchorages, dolphins dodging our bows and warm, clear, blue seas.