Work In Progress

Mike and Liz Downing
Sun 20 Nov 2011 01:35
It's been a busy 3 weeks on boat work. After 3 attempts, due to wind and rain, the blue line round the cockpit has finally been painted. Hallberg Rassy brush paint it on new boats and we had it brush painted 4 years ago, but this time we've had it spray painted and it looks so much better, and they reckon it will last longer before fading. As the paint would be sprayed, it was necessary to cover the surrounding deck area and whole cockpit with plastic sheeting, so much so that we couldn't get in or out and had to use the forward hatch. Having completed all the painting we could start using restoring paste and wax of the topsides. This is a job that makes the boat seem to grow in size! To do it we were able to use scaffolding that gave a walkway 6ft or so off the ground around the boat. It's the first time we've had this available and although it makes it so much easier, it's still a long job. But it's done and the topsides now sparkle in the sun! Yes, we have had sun and for most of the last week, no rain. When the winds out of the north it's hot (24C), but when in the south it can still be very cold. The extremes of temperature here are much greater than in the UK. But with the summer approaching, we hope there will be a lot more hot than cold!
Our package from HR in Sweden finally arrived - the replacement windscreen panel and bottom rudder fixture, or shoe as HR call it. They were sent in 2 specially made boxes and were quite a package. The shoe should have been a straight replacement, but comparing them it was obvious that the original had been machined to fit, so we had to get the new one machined in the same way. Oh, and the holes didn't line up, so the old ones had to be filled and new ones will have to be drilled. Boat building is not a precise business! The shoe is not yet back on, as having removed it (which involves cutting fibreglass away), it makes sense to change the rudder seals higher up and change the cutlass bearing (a bearing where the propeller shaft comes out the boat). That sounds easy, but both are quite involved jobs. To change the seals involves taking the steering systems apart and dropping the rudder down, and then putting it all back together again - it will take some time!   
With the windscreen panel we've removed all the broken glass - thousands of little, sharp, squares of glass - and are digging out the old sealant in the frame; both painstaking tasks. It came with some scary instructions which started by saying the whole windscreen construction would have to be removed from the boat. That's a major job, but talking to the makers, in Norway, they think it should be possible to do it leaving the rest of the windscreen in place - we hope they're right! So a lot of progress in the last 3 weeks, but still a lot to do. It looks like we will be in Tauranga for Christmas!
Some good news on the Rena front (the container ship stranded on a reef 12 miles outside the Tauranga harbour entrance) - after over a month, all but a very small amount of the oil in the fuel tanks has been pumped off and the threat of further oil spills has reduced considerably. It's looking much safer for us to go back in the water. They're now starting to remove the 1300 or more containers from it, but it's difficult and dangerous work that can only be done it in fine weather and at only a few a day, they reckon it might take another 7 months!
The new rudder shoe is not actually that big in size, but it's a  substantial construction, weighing in at
around 46lbs!
You have to get used to working up in the air, and be careful not to walk off the planks, but it's much
easier than going up and down ladders!
All shiny, with the reflection of the road and cars going by.
The broken glass panel we're replacing.