What are the chances?

Phil May and Andrea Twigg
Thu 12 Dec 2013 01:15
It has been a strenuous, but productive, month.  We have gradually worked through our checklist of things to do while here in Fort Pierce, including
- repairing the clunky rudder bearings
- sanding the hull to activate the copper coat
- getting the broken Parasailor repaired
- fixing the roller furling, which was wearing through our luff tapes
- making the hull anodes replaceable underwater
- replacing the rotten teak on the bottom step of the sugar scoops with non-skid gelcoat
- buffing and polishing the hull
- galvanizing the anchor and chain
- cleaning the propellers and replacing the cutlass bearings
- repairing various dings in the hull that have accumulated over the past three years
- re-finishing the steering wheels.
(We did allow ourselves one weekend off to visit Universal Studios in Orlando.)
We have had to live in a motel for the past three weeks because more and more people were living on their boats on the hard, and the marina finally objected.  Something to do with their liability insurance, or local byelaws depending on who you speak to.
The boatyard has not yet completed the work on the bottom steps, so Anastasia will be out of the water all the time we are in the UK over Christmas.
The buffing and polishing was three days of hard labour, but Anastasia does look shiny now.  (No we didn’t just paint some palm trees on her side.)
To help us redo our steering wheels Tom, the boatyard manager, kindly offered to spray paint them one evening, purely as a favour!  He used to be a painter and, while he is now rushed off his feet with yard management during the day, he still likes to get his spray gun out sometimes.  Apparently he learned to paint in the dark when he was a kid, working in a boatyard during the day and spray painting for a friend at night.  It was a bit surreal seeing the wheels being sprayed in the dark, suspended in the middle of a boat hangar.  But now they look like new.  Thank you Tom.   
The anchor was sent up to Jacksonville to be regalvanized.  Many people stopped by to admire the shiny anchor and someone asked whether we had melted the lead out first.  That set me off googling for spade anchors and lead.  We didn’t melt the lead out because there was no lead in it before it was regalvanized, but it certainly should have had lead in it.  What we think happened is that it was regalvanized once before, and lost its lead at that time.   That is probably why we have had problems with the anchor dragging on muddy bottoms.  Anyway, I phoned around a few scrap metal dealers until I found one who was prepared to pour lead back into the anchor, and now we have a fully operational anchor (although 45 lbs heavier than it was before).
Our French three-year lease ended in August and so Anastasia is being transferred into my name, but the French authorities are refusing to register her in France because I have a UK address.  So we are switching over to the British registry.
UK registration has some ridiculous requirements, such as having a tonnage measurement made by an approved surveyor.  This involved the payment of $350 to a surveyor for a couple of cursory measurements, to get a certificate saying how much wine we could fill the hulls with, should we wish to do so. 
We also have to get a certificate of deletion from the French registry.  This is obviously in French and the French customs, understandably, refused to give me an English version (I did ask), so now the UK authorities are insisting that I find a notary who will translate the certificate into English and endorse the translation.  So, I can go through the entire process of leasing a French boat using only Google Translate, but the UK ship registry people can’t translate the few lines of French text on a deletion certificate into English.  Or even, having seen one translated certificate, perhaps they could work out the next one for themselves?  Ridiculous.
Switching to UK registration means we can’t keep our French “MMSI” either.  The MMSI is an identifier that any radio equipment broadcasts in an emergency, so you can be identified.  Obviously it is quite important to get the right number into the radios.  Unfortunately the powers that be decided the MMSI was too sensitive a setting to be changed by end-users.  Radio equipment has to be sent back to the manufacturer to be changed.  (I did manage to find a way to reset the MMSI in the AIS, but the VHF radio had to be shipped back to Raymarine).  Here is the shipment progress.
“All merchandise discarded” had us worried.  Apparently our VHF radio went off to Vero Beach, then to Jacksonville, then to West Columbia, then up in smoke.  Quite literally, as far as we can see:
RICHLAND COUNTY, SC (WIS) -Traffic on Interstate 20 heading into Columbia is moving again after a UPS truck caught fire early Tuesday morning, according to the South Carolina Highway Patrol.

Troopers say the accident happened around 6 a.m. on I-20 eastbound at mile marker 80.  Authorities had a detour in place for approximately two hours while crews removed the truck and numerous items that were removed from the trailer.

What are the chances?  Now we have the hassle of trying to recover the cost of a replacement radio from UPS.
One minute you have crossed an item off the “to do” list (send radio for MMSI change) and the next minute you get two more (chase UPS for reimbursement, find replacement for discontinued model Ray240E radio).  So it goes on.