If you’ve been following the adventures of Carrie and Carl aboard Brilliant, you may have noticed that we are not yet posting blogs from the crystal clear waters of the Bahamas, snorkeling for lobster and protecting ourselves from too much sun as we decide which swimsuit to wear for the day’s activities. I just knew that wouldn’t slip by you.


Tomorrow begins the final week of January 2016 and we’re still in Florida. And while we’re not suffering the frigid winter snows that our friends and family are contending with, it’s cold and I only own one set of warm clothing. For the record that was not part of the plan, but as Carrie is so fond of saying, “it is what it is.”

When we purchased Brilliant in late September we knew full well we were buying a 26 year-old boat, one that had seen thousands of sea miles and whose equipment list, although impressive by any cruiser’s standard, was also getting on in years. We still believe that the previous owners took good care of her and we feel we took ownership with our eyes wide open, but the list of things that have joined the “replace it” list has grown a bit quicker of late than we had anticipated.

Whenever something onboard malfunctions, doesn’t work as expected, or stops working altogether, the first reaction is an attempt to repair it. That means breaking out the manual on it, and our predecessors left us with a full collection of manuals and associated paperwork. However, most manuals cover installation and operation for the most part and only touch briefly on troubleshooting. Consequently, a phone call to the manufacturer for technical support is usually next on the list. In my experience technicians are normally more than willing to listen to the symptoms, ask me questions, and offer their experiences in finding the issue and suggesting a course of action. I never pretend to be an expert but do my best to sound as intelligent as possible, although I’m certain that it doesn’t take long before they see me as a novice who’s just trying to save a few bucks.

What I have found out on several occasions lately is just how old some of our gear is, and when it breaks down there may be no recourse but to replace it. Parts for older equipment are available for a limited number of years. Newer versions are sometimes made to different specifications. Repairing equipment can be difficult, and repairing old equipment can be impossible.

So, in the first few months of owning Brilliant we have experienced a larger than expected outlay for the repair/replacement of Brilliant’s equipment than we expected. Some outlays that we had anticipated to come later on have come sooner instead. Oh well.

Under the heading of “the glass is half full” these breakdowns are happening while we’re still in the States, where parts and support are much more accessible. But just about the time we think we’re ready to go, something else pops up. Today was supposed to be “Cross the Gulfstream Day”, and instead it’s another “Waiting for Deliveries Day”. Weather windows open and close, and then we have to wait for the next window to open.


But we’re still going! We remain upbeat about getting in to the Caribbean and south to Grenada in time to be in a safe position for Hurricane Season. We’re just left wondering, “What’s next?”