Barbados Update to 29 Dec
27 December 2006
One of the things I could not get at the chandlers in Barbados was a Barbados flag, I was told I should have bought one before I got here. There must be Barbados boats that need new flags and what if mine was lost at sea or just tatty and needed replacing. I will try the other fishing shop, I forgot to ask in there as they didn t have anything else I needed.
What to do next, fix the GPS, fit the new nav light, no, let s sort out that leak. I had thought that I would have to take off the Hydrovane and the bracket, but all I have to do is take out the bolts on the bottom bracket and take off the backing plates on the inside. Whenever ‘all I have to do’ appears in a sentence I should know better. How can one person take out 2 x 4” bolts on a bucking boat. If I try the bolt from the outside the nut turns inside and vice versa. Using lots of tools, ingenuity, sheer effort and determination I eventually I managed to get the bolts out. You wouldn t think that 4 hours of effort to end up with 2 holes near the waterline would be so rewarding. I thumped a couple of wooden dowels in the holes and am hoping for not too choppy a night. Tomorrow I will see what the next step is.
Time to get the dinghy onboard for the night. I must have used up every calorie in that cake because I was swinging above deck on one end of the rope and the dinghy was swinging above the water on the other end of the rope, but it took some doing to land it.
I finished the Mateus Rose and made the rice pudding that I had soaked for yesterday, but could not stay up long enough to cook it. I was going to stay up late tonight and watch a DVD, but it is nearly 6 and I think it is bedtime.
I could do with that chocolate now.
28 December 2006
Couldn t sleep all night, in a lot odf pain from straining to reach into the transom. Took a couple of Kalms, but probably should have just gone for the painkillers. Still got up at 6. Sorted the screws and the bolts boxes, took at least 3 hours. If when I pick up the boxes in a hurry they all fall into the wrong compartments I will not be a happy bunny.
The transom was as dry as it was going to get, every time the swell lapped the back of the boat water came through the bolts. Put sealant on the wood and positioned it over the old bolts, I just hope it is firm enough to the fibreglass, it was really hard to reach and I could not find a way to jam it while it cured.
Made 10 litres of water in half an hour, it works well now I have got it all organised.
The GPS obviously was not going to repair itself. The light was blinking outside so the wires going that way were ok, but one of the wires carrying the signal back must be broken. There is one tiny wire that does not have any insulation, I had taped it into the three way connector but a couple of the strands had broken just outside the tape. I fudge fixed it for now, I do not think I have another connector, I will check in the electrical tool box when I fix the nav light. The important thing is that I know what was wrong.
Did very little all afternoon, trying to rest; that way I managed to stay up until gone 9pm whilst I watched a DVD.
29 December 2006, Friday (that is so that I know what day it is)
Did not get up until 7.
Now I need another pair of hands to hold the bolt heads while I try and get the steel plate, which is really heavy, on the inside and the nuts on. I really have to try and find someone today as the sealant will go off and I want to put a little bit between the wood and the steel just round the bolt holes. What I really need is a few packets of disposable crew, like single use cameras, use and dispose. I did what I could and even managed to get to the other bolt by going through the cockpit locker past the watermaker and engine exhaust. I had to force myself to go into the space, but once I had proved that I could get in and get out again the panic began to lessen. I really needed help. I should have gone to the boat next to me, but I couldn t bring myself to ask.
There was a couple in a kayac paddling past, this was my chance, what could I lose except my faith in humanity. All I needed was for someone to hold the socket against the bolt head for me. Nick and Lisa, American, here for a short break, really good people. We did it, there is no way I could have managed on my own. Nick even opted to do the tightening and I just had to keep the spanner on the nut, which was easier for me. The nuts are now tight and I put everything back into the transom. I now have an aft cabin that is at least a good single and I will have to find homes for the stuff still on the other mattress. I can do no more; if there is a leak now I will live with it until I take the boat out. I have used new bolts, luckily I had some spares, as the old ones were quite corroded in only 9 months. I need to change the bolts to stainless steel, I forgot that I could not get these in Tenerife.
From the second the bolts were tightened I felt like the world changed for the better. I celebrated by tidying and cleaning up, having a shower, a cup of coffee and the last of the chocolate spread. I do not normally resort to this as it has hazelnuts in, but only 2.5%. I am allergic to nuts and if I had tried this when I was under par I would be in agony by now, so I must be recovering.
Lots to do, but these can be done as and when I feel like it. I did sort the wind chimes that had been tied up for the last 3000 miles, but they had still managed to get themselves in a bit of a tangle. They are now gently twinkling and tinkling as they should.