The months of April and May have been soggy out here on the East Coast. Practically every weekend has been rainy, cold and wet -not ideal weather for sailing.
Although we can’t physical travel on our boat, we can still travel to her. We can’t waste our weekends on the couch while there’s work to be done!
We’ve decided to make the most of the situation and do what we can on Alli Oop while we can. So, we’ve taken to cleaning. Specifically, BRASS.
It’s beautiful, shiny and golden. It adds such character to our old girl and it makes us love her that much more. When you see brass fixtures on a boat, you know it’s a classic, timeless vessel that’s hearty and well designed. Although it makes our Alli Oop extra special, it’s a pain in the butt to clean! And by clean, I don’t mean a quick scrub and calling it a day. I mean POLISHING, ELBLOW GREASE, and HOURS spent holding one dirty light fixture in a death grip trying to scrub, buff and polish, all the gross crud that has accumulated over countless years. Can you tell how much we love it??
Let me take a moment (for my own sake) to count how many pieces of brass that are on our boat:
- Locks: 6
- Clasps: 3
- Handles: 1
- Hooks: 18
- Outlet covers: 2
- Total: 39*
*And don’t forget all of the screws that are needed to hold these things in their places!
When you clean brass, you will have ruined every inch of your cleaning rag. So word to the wise – use those old, dirty towels that aren’t acceptable to use in the kitchen anymore because they have so many stains. Cut up old t-shirts or use any kind of soft cloth that can be RUINED. If you need to buy rags, get the cheapest ones you can find. You can wash them when you’re finished polishing, but they won’t look any better than when you threw them in the laundry to begin with. Until the end of time, those polishing rags will only be used for that- polishing (until you finally throw them in the garbage or burn them).
To speed up the process, we took several pieces of brass home with us when we left the boat last weekend. I thought maybe it would be a better activity to do during the weeknights after work, while relaxing on a nice, soft couch and watching the telly. It turns out it makes absolutely NO difference if you polish brass sitting on a plastic bucket or sitting on a squishy couch. You are still uncomfortably bent over for too long, polishing furiously with sore fingers.
Sigh. I tried. I failed.
We have barely put a dent in the brass we brought home and I’m afraid to think of how much is still left for us to clean.
The little pieces are THE WORST. You think to yourself, “Oh, it’s just a small one. I’ll knock this out during an episode of something on Netflix.” WRONG. I’ve discovered (since owning a boat) that everything related to owning a boat ALWAYS take longer than you expect (ESPECIALLY polishing brass) AND you can’t even concentrate on Netflix – I’m not kidding. It’s just terrible.
What’s the Point?
Some of you are probably thinking, “Why do you need to polish all of the brass at once?” My answer- Once you start, it seems pretty lame to stop. Whats the point of having three shiny, brass lights while the rest are all cruddy and gross? Ew. Polishing is a commitment and you have to follow through with commitments, dang it.
I know that polishing brass is not imperative to a successful sailing adventure. It seems silly to spend so much time polishing and polishing. However, with anything you own, there comes a sense of pride with keeping it up to par. It feels good to take care of the things you love (people, pets, boats, etc). So if a thing you love happens to be saturated with dozens of small, awkwardly shaped pieces of brass that would look so much better cleaned…. then by golly, you have to clean them!
And just so you aren’t thinking all we’re doing over here is dreaming about polishing brass – let’s not forget all the stainless steel and the 10 bronze port lights we have yet to touch!