Week ending 15 July 2007
Week Ending Sunday 15 July 2007
Monday – Spent most of Sunday finding homes for all the new items and tidying the devastation my arrival had caused. Everything looked ok with the exception of the aft cabin, which was full before I left and is now a little more crowded.
The dehumdifier must have been working for most of the time I was away because the overflow pipe had fallen from the sink into the fridge which contained at least 15 litres of water. Luckily it is a very deep fridge and it still worked. I had been warned off Trinidad on the basis that it was unsafe for me and the boat and everything would be mouldy and infested with ants and cockroaches. The boat was intact and I had none of the above, so I am happy with that. There were 6 murders in 18 hours over the weekend, but nowhere’s perfect.
I gave myself a haircut and it is good, not too short which usually happens when I let loose with the shaver.
I had three main jobs before I leave the boatyard.
1 – Take the mast down and have the furling mechanism serviced. While the mast was down I was going to get the bow roller off and straightened; still outstanding from the Canaries. I was also going to have mast steps fitted, a new rope up the mast and maybe a bracket fitted for a genoa pole.
2 – Take the Hydrovane off and get the shaft cut down.
3 – Get an arch fitted.
I went to see Jonas the Scandinavian rigger, but he was not in, so I waited. In the afternoon I went back and the workshop was shut up, so I left a note. There is not much I can do until the mast is off as I have to keep the deck clear, which means the dinghy, fenders, ropes and sails have to stay in the aft cabin and I cannot get to the transom.
There is a severe weather warning, Tropical disruption 1, nice to know I haven’t missed any. Warnings of heavy rain, landslides, floods, power cuts, high winds – sounds like the England I have just left, but warmer. It is very hot, drops to 24 at night and is 32 during the day, but it is the rainy season and I like it when it rains. The mosquitos made a feast of me, but although very itchy I did not have a bad reaction.
I sewed some tags onto the mosquito net to keep it near the ceiling in the forecabin. I used some suction hooks which seem to hold, the secret is a bit of washing up liquid on the pads. Then I spent the afternoon reading a book waiting for the rigger.
Went to the rigger to see if he could check the mast, but he said that he told me before I left that it had to come down and he could get the crane this afternoon. He would come earlier to undo the cable for the radar which I knew would have to be pulled out of the mast – I still remember how difficult it was to get it up there the first time. Jonas was probably going away for a week and so I would be without a mast for at least two weeks, plus the time to deliver any necessary parts.
Having decided to take the Hydrovane off I would need to lower it on a rope that goes up the mast and the mast was going in a few hours. I was hoping to open the brackets and lower the shaft, but the brackets did not open that far. So I could take the drive off the shaft and just lower the shaft, but that meant dismantling more than I wanted to. As usual I was left with Plan C. I would have to lift the entire unit up and out of the brackets before I could lower it. This is a heavy unit and even with the rope I was not going to be able to manage this. Entrance Stage Right – Carl, who helped me get the Hydrovane down and then took a look at the mast. I had used two cans of oil on the furling before I left in the hope that it would have loosened it. It did move a bit, whereas before it was locked solid. The halyard seemed to be wrapped round inside the furling gear and so we undid a few shackles and bolts on the basis that Carl was 97.5% sure it would be ok and threaded the halyard round the back of the unit three times and then it was free from the top of the mast. We did get the furler back together, no bits left over is good. We are not allowed to put sails up on the hard and so used a couple of bits of rope to represent the sail and the mechanism seemed to work. We had just decided it was fine when the rigger got on the back of the boat – ah. Well I did ask him to try it before ordering the crane. I hope the mast is ok because the ‘I told you so’ that would be forthcoming if I have to ask him again would be crushing.
That puts my timeframe out, instead of weeks waiting for the mast I now have no reason to stay in the yard for that long. I can now give my full attention to the Hydrovane. Not being able to get the unit off the shaft I have now decided along the lines of ‘ If it aint broke, don’t fix it’. It is very low in the water and I cannot take the rudder off without getting right in the water – ugghh, but it is only a drag when motoring. I would not get in the water in this anchorage, but where it is shallow and clear I can – with a dinghy and a rope. So now the Hydrovane is on the floor and I need it back up and dropped down into the brackets – Carl; what a star he is.
That leaves the arch. Everything is so expensive here I have already talked myself out of it, but I would like a quote so that I can work up to it.
I was out too long in the sun yesterday and am rather pink and a bit sore. I am drinking 2 litres of water a day, which should be good for me. I was trying to take the bow roller off, but it is attached to the stem, as is the genoa furling gear. I loosened the back stays a bit, but really do not want to touch the rig. The roller is off centre, but if I am careful it should be ok, so I have left if for now. I cleaned out the anchor locker and got the angle grinder out to cut off the shackle on the anchor and the one where the warp joins the chain. I have put stainless steel ones on, which I will mouse tomorrow and resplice an eye in the rope. Today was really hot and humid and it rained. Nearly 1pm and I was exhausted. I was so wet I decided to do the washing, while putting the tools away and then had a shower.
I did have a little flour left, but it had too much protein walking around in it and so I bought some rolls. I did buy some flour but cannot cook until I get gas, hopefully Saturday. I did cook some sardines as they don’t take long. What will I do when I run out of my tinned fish that I bought in the Canaries last November. I still have several weeks supply left. I quite like annual shopping.
Spent a long time on my eye splice because it is very important. I have a join in this chain and so I have asked some guys to weld a new link for me, but I have to wait for them to pick it up. I also put some gel coat on the bow to cover the dings from the anchor – another good reason to straighten the bow roller.
Barry would like to polish my boat and he has been asking since March, so I said yes. I have a stripe just above the waterline which is getting tatty, if I am going to have the hull polished I should take the stripe off first. Armed with my fingernails and a hairdryer I was ready to start, but I could not reach. A big block of wood, not tall enough. Three empty plastic containers stacked up, surely these would take my weight. It is never clever to overreach on a ladder, the same goes for plastic containers; and it hurts just as much. One guy helped me up and told me I was very muddy, another one went and got me one of those wooden cable drums to stand on – excellent. So at the back I have the containers, then move on to the drum and then add the block of wood on top of the drum and I can reach all but the front where I have a scaffold A frame. The stripe put up a good fight, but I got all one side off and half the other side before giving up and going for a drink.
Up at 6 to take the tarpaulin off and clear the decks for Barry. I had to take the rest of the stripe off, sand down the gel coat on the bow and sand off the antifoul at the waterline. I just had to keep one step ahead of Barry. Barry cleaned the decks and cockpit, but I got carried away and decided to sand all the antifoul off, why. Barry was able to clean the hull and would come back tomorrow to polish. 12 hours later I was finished, well and truly. I ache so much I am not sure I will be able to move in the morning. Even after a long shower I was still pink and kept getting pink smudges on the clean boat.
Washed the boat down for Barry and he spent the morning polishing. I did manage to tidy up inside. I had an empty locker, it was for the milk, but it is now full with acids, paints, grease and glues. This has made my tools locker easier to manage.
I had left my empty gas bottle out yesterday and today a nice man delivered it back to me refilled. Now I can cook. Carl is leaving tomorrow, so it is down to the bar which has AC and I should have brought my fleece – and socks.
I shall send this early, with the time difference who’s to know.