The origin of Messing About In Sailboats

  • The original quote is from Kenneth Grahame's Wind In the Willows: "There is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats."

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January 05, 2009


Carol Anne

1. You are truly blessed if you indeed have a four-stroke fuel-injected motor. But you are even more blessed if you never (or seldom) have to use it.

3. Old Girl Scout solution: one-half teaspoon chlorine bleach per gallon of water. Kills everything without making the water unsafe to drink. If you live in a municipality where the water is chlorinated, you won't even notice a difference.

10. Long dock lines are a blessing, especially if you don't have a motor or don't want to use the one that you have.

11. Run your fingers up and down the shrouds and stays. If something draws blood, you should replace that part of the rigging, as well as anything else that's the same age.

12. What, you actually want to pick up crew who fall overboard? Just kidding ...

Adam Turinas

Many Thanks Carole Anne. #3 is a lifesaver. I was dreading this task and I will give this a whirl


I left a comment which was either deleted for its stupidity (likely) or otherwise just didn't take. It went something like "isn't this what messing with your boat is all about?"

Composite Panels Australia

Great list that will definitely keep us busy but is very worth while - safety first!
I thought this was quite funny, "I started to make a mental list, thinking it would be like counting sheep and put me right off to sleep... My lack of sleep was extended by 3 hours." :)

Carol Anne

If you really want to clear mildew out of the system, you could probably make a stronger solution of bleach, pump it into the pipes, let it sit for a couple of days, and then flush everything with pure water to get all of the excess bleach out of the system.

As harsh as chlorine bleach is, it's also relatively environmentally friendly -- it breaks down rapidly, and it breaks down into salt water. It's just about my favorite cleaning solution.

Adam Turinas

Many thanks everyone. Please keep the advice coming. I need all the help I can get :)


If you really want to carry out a thorough check of what needs to be done to Messing About, you can download a comprehensive two-part list from:

But I did enjoy how you dismiss the less pleasant and more difficult jobs from your list.

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