I often think that of all the things that I’ve had to replace since we lost Firefly, my tool collection has been the toughest, that is the most difficult to replace. As far as clothes go I’m pretty easy to please. Some T-shirts, a polo shirt or two, some shorts, several swim suits and a pair of flip flops, and I’m good to go. However, having cruised for 9 years and done most of our own repair or installation work, We’ve collected a sizable number of useful tools, and a few pretty interesting ones.
As we have moved from Sanctuary to LA Creole we carried our tools and supplies forward with us, adding them to whatever items the previous owner may have left behind as part of the purchase price. Some tools lend themselves to a variety of uses and come in handy more frequently than others. For instance I had a small Tap and Dye set that came in handy quite often when I had to drill a hole and then tap it with threads for a screw, or use a die head to re-cut the threads on a bolt that was either cross-threaded or stripped completely.
Other tools may have been essential for a single use and then sat silently in the tool room waiting to be picked up and used a second time. When the tube for the oil dipstick on Firefly’s engine broke and I purchased a replacement, I couldn’t install it for a long time until I found an 18-inch long socket extension with a T-handle to allow me to reach down to the base of the old tube in a very confined space and apply enough torque to remove it and install the new one.
The previous owner on Brilliant left us a wealth of tools along with many spare parts they had wisely collected over the years and even a manual with tips and background on her many systems. This gave us a big jump-start in the tool department since we only owned a small box of very basic tools that I purchased when we moved in to the RV, and never had a chance to use many of them in the short time we traveled the US east coast throughout this summer.
As project come along (see my previous post called Project Boat) I will often think of the tool that I need and suddenly remember, “Oh yeah, I lost that on Firefly.” It delays projects when you have to either borrow a tool and/or put it on the list of tools to buy on the next shopping adventure.
The good news is we have a pretty good idea of the tools we’ll need even if I haven’t needed them just yet (like the Tap and Dye set) and have been picking them up along the way as we finalize our preps for heading offshore to the islands of the Bahamas and the Eastern Caribbean.
Thankfully Cruisers are a helpful lot and many will freely lend out a tool (me included) with the expectation that it will come back quickly and in at least as good shape as when it left.