Light at the end of a very long tunnel

Phil & Nikki Hoskins
Fri 13 Feb 2015 16:22
To be honest there was nothing of real interest to report in January. When the weather didn’t allow progress with outside work things were repaired inside. A lot of mess was made and not much clearing up. Our position in the yard has its advantages in the summer months when you’d want a cooling breeze.  But during these continuous cold fronts coming down the east coast or over from the west it has been bitterly cold at times – and only in our part of the yard!
However, the ‘hard top’ is now on, not finished but on the boat where it should be. (Was that a fan fare we heard?) And, by the time this is posted we just maybe in the water where we can finish the rest of the jobs. (Was that another fan fare?) If nothing else untoward happens we could be on our way by the end of the month. (Yes - it was a fan fare).
The evolving ‘hard top’ is best explained in pictures:
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The much admired ‘hard-top’ on trestles next to the boat whilst we reassemble the stainless steel frame – two friends help raise the ‘hard-top’ into position
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From all angles – the top is painted, the underneath primed, the unprimed areas will be covered by the so called ‘light box’. The whole thing is through bolted to the frame. Scary
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Somewhere behind all that hair an extra stainless steel support is being fitted to also carry the wires for the lights. The ‘light box’ on the ground, the blue bits are masking tape holding in the lenses, green oval is the hand made switch panel and finally the canvas sides are refitted after cutting out the old canvas that was the bimini top.
It doesn’t stop there – one of the main reasons this ‘hard-top’ was ever dreamed up was to house the last of the large solar panels.  It has been living a life of luxury in the port hull getting very much in the way and biting toes.  You can safely say that if you need something from a cupboard the panel would be in the way.  Now its time has come........................
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You are making what? Four of them all needing filling and faring. To go where? And a long piece to stop the boom accidently landing on the solar panel. (Can you hear the ‘Admiral’ loosing the will?)
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After checking the tensioning of the side panels the canvas was wrapped & glued (strong stuff) in the howling wind. The black wire is the solar panel wire which goes down that upright and through the deck. ‘Light-box’ in position & epoxied on to underside giving strength. All the lights work! The mosquitos like them too – Hmm. An interesting caravan spotted in the park from our boat! Home made as well perhaps?
All the other jobs are gradually getting done.  We eventually bit the bullet and bought two new hot water tanks.  The repaired one still works but we were concerned that it would fracture in another spot when the really hot water from the engines started to circulate.  To avoid any major rebuilding in the engine bay we decided to buy the replacements from the UK from the original supplier who offered us that ‘goodwill’ discount.  We ordered them on a Monday, they were dispatched on the Tuesday and we were amazed when they arrived on the Thursday.  What excellent service from both the supplier, Jabsco-Xylem and the courier, UPS.  We actually took the time to e-mail and thank the guy we had been dealing with. We are not so impressed with a rope supplier from whom we ordered a replacement halyard. The postal system here has reduced rates if you use their packaging.  Which the guy does.  The boxes, cartons or whatever must not be over filled so as to cause the packaging to tear or split. The full cost is charged if it does. It had not been delivered and we received a note to say it was at the post office. So our good friend offered to pick it up as she was going that way.  We ended up being charged the full amount as the package exceeded the Post Office specifications. Several heated e-mail exchanges later ‘Skip’ is going to use the Paypal arbitration service to try and resolve the dispute. It wasn’t the amount but the attitude of the guy he was dealing with at (don’t laugh) ‘Tarzan Ziplines’ whose online feedback was surprisingly good.
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                                                          The two new tanks currently residing in the hull where the solar panel was – something else to trip over in the on board ‘shed’
One morning we did pause work, along with nearly everyone else, to watch a catamaran being launched.  Not an unusual event by any means but this was slightly different.  Most of the boats here can be lifted in and out by the on site travel hoist which uses slings.  The wider catamarans have to hire a crane. Normally when a catamaran is lifted by crane the operator uses spreader bars to ensure the strops do not put undue stress on the hulls.  The owner of this boat knew exactly how he wanted it done having consulted the designer. After all our years working in boat yards we had never seen a catamaran lifted like this.......
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                                                           Each of the four strops had another strop which then went round the bow and stern of each individual hull – novel
Our cooking gas finally ran out earlier than expected despite consuming endless salads. Luckily we had a small amount in an old Camping Gas bottle which lasted for a few days. A good Samaritan has lent us an American gas bottle until we get back from the Bahamas with full English ones.  We still had to buy a new regulator as our UK device does not fit the USA thread – no surprise there! But no bad thing really as the English bottles are now old and should be re-tested or retired. Yet another change to consider when we get back.  The electrics are gradually changing as we adapt to the power supplies.  Every time we plug something in we have to remember what we are running – 110, 220 or 12 volts – thank goodness the computers have got their own transformers!
And finally another example of the power of the internet.  ‘Skip’ was down below working on the ‘hard-top’ one day when he heard a voice he recognized.  It was an ex-work colleague we’d not seen for over 30 years - from our first careers in the book trade. He’d heard our surname somewhere which caused him to wonder what had happened to us.  On searching the internet he came across this blog. Well he has been living in Orlando for the last 13 years.  Seeing that we were in Titusville he jumped in his car on the off chance and paid us a surprise visit.  Good job he did see the blog as ‘Skip’ had short dark hair and a full set all those years ago! (Great to see you again Alan!)
POSTSCRIPT – After 5 months and 8 days ‘Ajaya’ was re-launched on Thursday 12th February. ‘Skip’ thought it was not prudent to launch on Friday 13th! The work continues!!!