Week Ending 26 August 2007

If Knot Y Knot
Patricia Day
Sun 26 Aug 2007 13:50

Week Ending 26 August 2007

Hurricane Dean is well past us and now we wait for the next one.  For a country that is out of the hurricane zone they are very hurricane aware here.  The season runs from 1 June to 30 November, my insurance company doesn t start worrying until 1 July.  There are always adverts on the radio on preparing for hurricanes and the weather is always closely watched from the days before the tropical wave even leaves the African coast.  I saw in a shop selling hurricane survival packs; torch, batteries, candles, matches and a tin of plasters; seems slightly underdoing it. 


On the subject of weather, the wind is going to be from the East at 0 mph; so how do they decide it is from the East?


I spent all day on the upholstery.  I re did one cushion in the forepeak where the pattern was half a square out of sync with the other cushion, so after spending the last few days smoothing it along to no avail, I had to undo it and sew it again.  I had to take the big cushions from the aft cabin into the cockpit to get enough room to sew them and it rained, but the awning just kept the rain off.  I am rather pleased with it all and only have the two extra cushions in the forecabin to make. 


The electrician came with the radio, which now worked.  He did explain what had happened, but it didn t mean anything to me.  He forgot the fuse and wanted to go and get it, but I think he was more excited to see it working than I was.  Instead I got onto the fans in the battery compartment.  We have decided to use the two computer fans that I have, these should be enough to pull the heat from the dump resistors out into the locker.  So, more electrical stuff tomorrow. 


I have to discharge the new batteries down to 50% and then charge them up again.  I did not do it over the weekend as I wanted the power.  He seemed to think this would take days, but I turned on all the lights and the fans and it took the time down from 40 hours to 20, I then added the boat lights and navigation equipment and it went down to single figures.  I turned everything off overnight.



I turned everything 12v on in the morning and was down to 50% before Dennis phoned and then I had to turn the charger back on.  I don t have to do this again, so that should be the batteries sorted.


The radio and the fans in the battery compartment work.  I was going to clean the terminal on my alternator, but quickly gave up.  Dennis was going to do it, but he abandoned it also, too difficult to get to.  I must go round and spray all my electrical connections with anti-corrosion, penetrating oil and go over some of them with liquid electrical tape, especially the watermaker in the locker.


4pm off to Movietown, where they have 10 screens.  We went early for the 4.15 new release for those who wanted to see it.  I watched Hairspray and it was ok, but I am still not sure why they cast John Travolta as a woman.  It took me over half of the film to find out that I did have arm rests for the seat and to get them down.  Bob and I watched different films, but both came out early and had a tub of frozen yoghurt and a piece of chocolate gateau, between us, not each.  The air conditioning in the cinema is a bit too much, I really must get some warm clothes for the cinema and mall shopping.  Then we went in search of a coffee to warm us up and there was a terrific cake shop.  We had a box of dunking biscuits and a chocolate caramel, again between us.  Richard joined us and we traded two little cookies for a corner each of his brownie.  It is so good to know that I am not the only one who does not head for the bar and the fast food outlets.  We were picked up by the mini buses and dropped off at our marinas.




I tried to get the inspection hatch off the water tank, but failed as every time before.  It is very stuck and I will leave it.  I filled up the tank, with a cup full of bleach to treat it, I will empty it tomorrow and refill.  I do not want bleach water over my new antifoul, so have to do the water tank first. 


I can get the inspection hatch off the second fuel tank which I had emptied.  I sponged out the bottom of the tank ready to fill with new clean diesel. 


I took the filters off the watermaker and bleached those, which is naughty, but I forgot to take them out before I left.  I will have to rinse them once I get bleach free water.  The stainless steel filter had a hole in it where it had been sitting in the seawater for five months now, so I have to find a replacement.


All this before 8am.


Now I really don’t have much that has to be done on land, I am running out of excuses not to antifoul, so I set off in pursuit of paint.  I went out of the marina and turned left, for the first time, a whole new world.  What I thought was a cash point in a cabin, the one the yachtie was stabbed at, was actually a big branch of a bank, nothing else, just a bank.  Then I found another entrance to my boatyard, would have saved a lot of walking, and eventually got to the IMS road, but it was not as close as I thought.


I found the antifoul supplier and it was a warehouse full, rather than the chandleries that have a few tins of battered and old paint at various high prices.  After much consideration I bought 2 gallons of self-polishing paint.  I wanted a small tin of paint for the propeller, but they did not have it and they would deliver that after lunch, in which case they could deliver all of it.  I stopped at the cashpoint on the way back and did not get stabbed or robbed.


I went to three other chandlers and have not got everything I need, but it rained and I had to go to a third change of clothes by lunchtime.  On an impulse I bought a pack of bacon and a plastic loaf, a rare event, but to prove a good move – I meant to buy eggs, but forgot them.


The antifoul was delivered, but they did not have the prop paint, they will bring that in the morning.  I am no further forward, but it saved me carrying the paint.



Antifoul Day.  I started with a brush to get a good covering of black paint.  I had not got far when a guy came up and wiggled my prop.  He said my cutlass bearing needs replacing.  Every time up to now I have considered my cutlass bearing would need changing and nobody had ever said so.  This time I had convinced myself I didn t even have a cutlass bearing.  I am at the point when I am fed up with being on the yard and am trying to get back in the water and NOW he comes and fiddles.  My rudder will have to be dropped to get the shaft out and that would mean changing the prop seal that I was also trying to ignore – last time I changed it and it was completely unnecessary.


The guy would not give me any idea of cost and was putting me on edge, so I told him to come back tomorrow morning.  I painted the entire boat with a 2” brush, rather than change to the roller.  It took about 5 hours, during which time it rained and it poured and it thundered; I kept trying to find parts of the boat that were not getting wet and kept painting.  The paint was really thick and I kept thinning it down.  After it stopped raining I managed to finish.  I was covered in antifoul and this is toxic stuff.  I only bought 1 gallon of black paint for one coat and one gallon of red for the second coat.  I did not have enough black and have a red keel.


Colin came by and wiggled my prop, yes, I need a new cutlass bearing.


I went to the showers and would have taken white spirit or acetone to get the paint off, but I just grabbed the thinners as it was handy.  I had no idea how powerful the stuff was, it nearly took my face off.  It was burning so much that I could not get enough water to stop the pain.  I had taken a powder detergent which I scrubbed myself with and eventually was reasonably clean.  Now would probably be a good time to do something illegal, because I think I have no fingerprints.  I just about managed to cook the bacon and have a sandwich.


I went to play poker and lost rather quickly.  Three of us stayed to play friendly and we get such good hands and win so much more when there is no value to the chips.  I think we were all struggling to stay awake; 9pm is late for yachties, especially those on the hard.



Bad day.  I did not realise the power of the fumes from the antifoul and I can’t say that I was up yesterday, but I was certainly down today.  The guy was loitering around the boat, but he did not say anything sensible, so I did not start about the bearing and eventually he went off to work.  I did not like the paint job, I could not stand the state of the boat.  I did not want to be on the hard, did not want to go on the water as it is so rolly out there and was generally very depressed. 


I was going to get the boat a bit ready for launch, that would make me feel better.  I took off and threw the old awning tarpaulin, it was protecting me from the torrential rain, but it was tatty and made me feel enclosed.  I put the fenders out, put the dinghy by the mast, although still in the bag.  I put the new guard rails on and secured the old safety netting to them.  I tied on the ranging planks and pipes that I am going to try for my new awning system and the genoa pole.  Then I tidied up the sails into bags and tipped out the ropes ready to put back on.  Then I tossed the other tarpaulin that had been covering all this stuff up.  I still have too much stuff on the deck, but it looks, and therefore feels, much better.


Mike came over and had a little wiggle and agreed that I did need a new bearing, but it could wait.  Now I know it needs doing I cannot launch and ignore it.  Mike said I could cut the boat back a bit so that I can get to the bearing without having to take the rudder off.  Normally I would not consider cutting the boat up, but I so do not want to drop the rudder, although it should not be a big deal.  Mike did make me aware of the effect of the antifoul on my mental state and that made things a lot clearer for me.  I had been really struggling.


I was still waiting for the prop paint and had decided to order another gallon of red antifoul, so they brought that as well.  Mike was going to the vets and was going to drop me at the Mall.  I would have liked to go, but needed a shower, why do men not know that some of us like a bit of notice to get clean and ready.  I collected the paint, it had taken 3 attempted deliveries and now three guys to deliver two tins of paint, and the invoice was wrong, about 45TT, not a lot, but I spoke to the office on the phone, corrected the invoice and paid. 


I had three nice gas bottles before I left the Canaries, have had to exchange them through the islands and now have three horrid rusty, tatty ones and I am stuck with them as here they have to be filled, not exchanged.  I can t get butane, I think it is a mix with propane, but it will have to be ok.  I put the last two out to be filled.


Bob came over to buy some parts, so I gave him a cup of tea and he had a wiggle.  7 weeks on the hard and nothing, but in two days 4 guys have come and wiggled my prop; could this be an alternative to speed dating?  Bob also said about cutting the boat back to get the bearing out and always be able to do this without dropping the rudder; so I have decided to try it on Monday.  I need a prop puller to get the prop off.  I was feeling a lot better, the fumes must be wearing off a bit more.


Amongst the CDs that Carl lent me is an audiobook of The Picture of Dorian Grey.  This is fine except that I cannot play chapters where he has titled it using quote marks.  Two chapters are in quotes – the last two.  I am e-mailing him to ask him if he could send me these chapters again without quotes, or a brief synopsis of the end of the book.  I made a loaf and put it in the fridge to rise overnight.



6am – put the loaf in the sunshine to rise and got ready to antifoul.  This time I was more prepared.  I could not find a shower cap, so I put clingfilm on my hair, I had some plastic gloves and got out the roller.  I was now aware of how toxic this stuff is.  There is worse paint, but the people who supply it will not be seen delivering it, you have to go and get it.  Mine is as environmentally friendly as antifoul can get and still apalling.  There was an insect on my leg, so I should leave it rather than get a blob of toxic paint on me – well one or two little blobs won t matter.  I rollered the entire boat in two hours, it was a good job I had bought an extra tin of paint; I have half a tin left and need to go over again – this is the disadvantage of changing colours between coats.


Using a roller meant that I was further from the paint and around it for a much shorter time and the red did not seem as extreme as the black, obviously I am becoming tolerant or have less capability to measure the results.


I went for a shower, the clingfilm and gloves were a good idea, but I had cooked.  Now is not a good time for there to be no water in the entire marina and we were waiting for a plumber.  This is Trini time which lowers your chances of getting anything done in a reasonable time, but a plumber, on a weekend, oh dear.  Actually I found that there was no water pressure, like before, so I could use the foot bath tap.  9am, boat painted and me clean enough to knead the dough for the second time and put out to rise again.  Elevenses is going to be fresh bread and I can throw the awful bought loaf, although I was grateful for it when I was desperate.


On the way across the boatyard I saw the Prop Scan car, just the man I need.  He is coming on Monday to remove the prop.


The rest of the day just disappeared, but I was tired and it was a pleasant restful afternoon and evening.



We have been trying to get the bar to show the Grand Prix on the big screen, I thought it was supposed to be this morning, but we shall see.  I have to sort the bathroom cabinet and then trot off to dominoes a bit later.  Dominoes is a good social point with people from all the different marinas and the anchorage turning up and I want to chat to some people about the trip we are planning.