Week Ending Sunday 22 July 2007
Week Ending Sunday 22 July 2007
I had sent off for my boat registration papers to be renewed early, so that I could bring them back with me. They arrived the morning I left for the airport, after I left, of course. I went to the office to check the mailing address here and asked to have my chocks checked.
I put the tarpaulin back up, but this time over the cockpit to protect me from the sun. and mended one of my flat hoses. I was looking for inspiration on my holding tank modifications and somehow ended up rebuilding the Duogen.
I had brought back a new yoke and a new shaft. This meant dismantling the entire generator. The alternator is very heavy and on a short cable through the hull so I could not lower it. I could not reach and asked for a higher scaffold frame, but as this was not forthcoming and I had taken a small chunk out of the fibreglass getting the alternator off, I asked to borrow a longer pair of legs. One of the guys stood on the A frame and held the alternator up while I put the pins back in. I had two out of three pages of instructions, who needed instructions on rebuilding the nose cone anyway. Evidently I did. There would have been a sentence, probably in capitals, warning not to put the cone on before re-assembling the shaft in the tube, or you would have to undo it all and start again.
Well it is back together and now just needs a new coat of paint on the alternator.
There was a lot of prop adjusting going on today and so I told the guys that I was leaning over and backwards and they sorted out my props. I feel much more level headed now.
It is ridiculously hot and airless in the boatyard and mosquito inhabited. These are not normal mosquitos that you can hear and see, they are tiny and silent; but still biting little bugs.
On the subject of live things, there are three dogs in the yard which lie under the boats and sometimes get close, but are no bother. The quake did make them bark a bit. There is a Rottweiller that gets put in the security compound at night, I haven t tried to see if that is friendly.
On the subject of dead things, I had 4 pieces of bamboo when I left the UK in 2003 and this was the last piece; but it did not survive 3 months in this heat without water.
Having got blistered last week, I have had to stay covered up, but I am slowly getting a bit of a tan.
Despite going to bed very early I was tired and decided to listen to the 8am Net from my bed. This was the morning the guys chose to collect my anchor chain to put in a weld. The joining piece I had put on in Portugal was rusted solid and probably secure, but I always worried about it. They came at about 8.06; so much for the lie in. While they were away I decided to try the bow roller again. I let off the back stays and had two ropes pulling the mast forward to try to take the strain off the furling gear. I managed to massacre the split pin, which meant that I had to get it out and replace it. I was still struggling when the guys brought my chain back and I explained that if I could get the roller off then they could straighten it. One of the guys was very big, blacksmith build and he tried to help, but the gear was still under too much pressure and I did not want to let off the shrouds, so I decided to give up the idea – again. We managed to get the split pin out and they were gone before I could get back out with a new one, which was very tough to get back in. Then I let the ropes off and tightened up my back stays. Part of me wishes I had had the mast down and everything done, but not enough of me is voting for it.
I needed to move the Hydrovane up an inch and square it off. I let off the brackets as little as possible and swivelled it up and round. The inner sleeves did not move with the shaft and so I settled for about 2cm up at the extent of the sleeve and square.
The welding guys had brought the seat arms back, cut down and welded. I have attached the arms with the top over the back of the rail and the bottom in front of the rail. This makes them slope slightly up at the front and hopefully they are more strongly attached, with all the forces going against each other; although they never moved before.
I finished at 3 and had a tidy up and a shower and started to read a new book.
Again I was not up much before 8. I changed the rope up the mast for a less stretchy one. It is a lovely rope with a spliced catch on the end, although it is not really long enough, I will probably have to extend it. I have longer ropes, but they are too thick for the sheave at the top of the mast.
I took the fuel cans and oars out of the cockpit locker to make it easier to clear when the electrician comes to see the batteries and I might have to go in this way to get to the bolts that need to be changed.
I tidied the aft cabin. Two double duvets take up a lot of room and their use in the Caribbean is not obvious, but they are bagged up on the shelf. Having made all this room, I emptied the contents of the transom into the cabin. Now I can get to the bolts that have to be changed – for which I will need someone to hold a spanner on the outside.
2pm I had a shower and got changed and set off. I went to the shop in the marina next door to see about antifouling paint. Then I went to Budget chandlery just to see what they had. Then it was off to see about an arch, 3 different firms should be coming to quote tomorrow; I might have a security grille made also. Then it was round to the electrical shop. I am high up the list, but they expect it to be next Wednesday before they visit. I bought 2 fans to make the boat a little more bearable. Then it was over to the book and DVD swap.
I popped into Customs on the way back, they have not found my flares. It was after 4 and they said if I come back during the day they will open the vault and I can have a look. I took the opportunity to get some cash from the machine and bought a few bits from the minimarket. It had been a long, hot few hours walking and so I took the water taxi home.
I wired up both the fans on a temporary basis. Lets see if the fans make it any easier to sleep.
What a disgusting day, there are lots of Tropical Waves about giving us heavy downpours and a rough sea. I wired up the fans properly and they work with or without the lights on. It was too wet to do anything outside. I would have got some more fans, but the water is too rough for the taxi. I cleaned the oven, which I did not get round to before I left. I can t help feeling that crossing the Atlantic should exempt me from cleaning the oven, but nobody else was going to do it. Then I finished reading the book. I don t know why I didn t think of fans earlier, they just weren t on the list.
After lunch it stopped raining and I scraped the barnacles off the prop and thru hull fittings and took the old sealant off the keel. I was just hanging around for the welders, but it was not so much a problem of all three turning up together, rather than that nobody turned up. The bad weather had put everybody back and they were still hauling boats up until 6pm, usually they all go at 4.
Spent the morning checking and replacing the bolts and screws on the seat, arms and platform. Stopped for lunch and then it sheeted down with rain. I had a lie down in the cockpit huddled in a towel, it is cold when it rains that hard. 3pm Chris came round to hold the spanner on the outside so that I could renew the Hydrovane bracket bolts with stainless ones. I hate wriggling into the transom, but two of the bolt heads broke off which proves that it needed to be done.
I have taken down the mosquito net in the forecabin on the basis that the fan will do the job. It does drop to 73 at night, but the more I get used to the hot weather the cooler this feels. I am now able to snuggle into the duvet cover for warmth, and turn the fan down to half or off.
Shrink wrapped boats. This involves plastic piping tied onto the boat and then covered in sheets of plastic with the use of a heat gun. This protects stored boats from the weather. So simple and must have been a real boost for the plumbing supplies manufacturers.
It is very hot and I am taking it easy for the weekend. I checked on Carl’s boat, which is fine. Spent a while on something, but was unable to change the laws of electricity. The chrome on my high level draining board was B&Q and the stainless rack was also not marine quality and these were going rusty. I dismantled everything and cleaned it in muriatic acid; this stuff vapourises in the bowl and sizzles when it hits the ground. Then I strung all the bits between boat supports and spray painted them with a tin of chrome paint. I don t know how long it will last before it chips, but it looks good for now. The paint says it is non toxic when dry which is a bonus for the drainer, but I would have sprayed it anyway.
I went through and discarded 3 old marine equipment catalogues which has made an inch of space on the bookshelf and I have seen what I need to buy.
My provisions consist of rice, flour, milk, eggs and tinned fish. I have bought eggs and milk, but have to finish up the old stock first. Powdered eggs and milk in pancakes seems ok. Watered down evapourated milk is not bad on my shredded wheat, but then I will have to get used to UHT milk again.
Not only pancakes, but from my basics I can make bread and also yorkshire pudding, which I had with Bisto gravy for lunch. The yorkshire did not rise, I put this down to the low pressure in the gas bottle, which I am still waiting to run out, or perhaps it was too scared to rise in such a clean oven.
It was too hot for anything else and I have started a new book, but not got very far.
12 hours sleep, it gets dark so early which is weird for summer, and I am up earlier than usual with a fair degree of energy and got quite a few bits done before the 8am Net. My hands are very painful and that is what is holding me back from jobs that need sanding.
By 8am it is 77 degrees, 89% humidity, 30% chance of rain (as usual) and sunset is 18.31. Lots of Tropical Waves and we are up to Tropical Disturbance 25 which has just left Africa.
An American submarine came into the commercial dock this morning, which seemed to get a lot of people excited (Americans), but security will be very tight and you have to be on the water to see anything.
I am keeping on top of the washing, because otherwise I just get out and ruin more clothes.
The plan was to put a new seal around the keel joint, I had bought the sealant and had intended to use it on the bracket bolts, but forgot. I put the sealant in the gun and cut the top off the tube and nothing happened; the sealant had started to go off. I took this tube and two old tubes with half in and decided to put it all in the transom around the wood and steel bracket plates, as I am sure that is where some of the water came through. I mopped up the water in the centre section and cut the tubes in half to get to the useable sealant. I put copious amounts of sealant around the plates. I could only reach two thirds of the plate and this meant going in through the cockpit locker. On a scale of 1 to 10 of dislikes, this comes in at 9, it would be a 10 but I have proven that I can get out eventually if I don t panic. I could reach to get the bolts and washers that had dropped in this section and sealed this side. I had some sealant left and that I would put round the top edge on this side and then back in the transom for the other side. I was taking the confined space extremely well, probably the sealant (use in a well-ventilated area) fumes had something to do with it. By the time I had cleaned myself up with acetone I was feeling quite jolly. I have done all I can, am pleased with the result and will continue to congratulate myself until such time as there is more water in the transom. When it has all dried I can put the assorted bits and ropes back in the transom and that will leave me with the sails to deal with.
Off for a shower and then breakfast. I shall send this before settiing off for dominoes – I know, the excitement just gets too much some days.