Week ending 23 Sept 07 - Launched
Week Ending 23 September 2007 – 10 40 816N 061 37 422W
I had bought a three step antifouling process to paint the propeller, this meant 6 coats to get on and leave 10 hours before launch. I checked at Customs for my bearing and they suggested I try at the post office, where I was told to wait 3 weeks before asking. Now I had decided either to order a third bearing and have it couriered or use the rubber one. I went up to see Jim on Shakwe, the boat he has just bought. I had more prop antifoul than was needed for my little prop and so offered the system to Bob to do his. He collected the first two steps, but I had to wait 6 hours between coats of step 3 and was painting the prop by the security light at 1 in the morning to get the final coat on. I had already got up at midnight to put a coat round the stern tube that I had had to gelcoat.
Bob came to get the rest of the paint and I said that I had decided to fit the rubber bearing. I am pleased to say that this went well and was a very quick job. The propeller was put on the end, an extra coat of antifoul and voila a finished boat, well nearly. Bob took the prop antifoul and I just had to attach the shaft to the engine. I struggled with the set screw, but decided it would be ok
I checked whether I could launch today, but my space had been filled, so it would be tomorrow at 10.
Mike came and took me out to his boat for the afternoon to get used to all that rocking about that happens on the water. We were discussing the shaft and I started to worry and so there was no alternative than to go and have a look. The set screw was very tight, but eventually it came out; it was not in the dimple and in the last 5 years I don t think it ever could have been. The hole was tapered, the screw was not and would not go down. We recut the threads with the screw, which was scary in case it messed the flange up, but things were no good as they were and I would have to postpone launch if this was not sorted. We worked until after dark, in the hot confined space and decided to start fresh in the morning.
8am back to work on the shaft. The screw now went in and out well, I went to the chandlers to get a new screw, but they did not have 10mm. I am metric and I just realised that now the only non metric part on my boat was the imperial set screw Bob had put in the cutlass bearing, but I am keeping a set of imperial allen keys anyway. We put the old screw back in and I was ready to launch. The boat was now in uproar again.
I went to get my launch pass – a good system. I walk all the way to the office, which is by the travel lift and get the lift pass, all the way back to the boat and when they get the boat to the travel lift I give them the lift pass – is there not a shortcut that is evident? My launch had been postponed from 9 till 10 and they arrived at the boat at 9.20, I was not ready because they were early. They still thought the launch was 9, so they thought they were late and expected me to be ready. I said I needed 2 minutes to put some things away. I threw everything that might cause damage somewhere that it would not and went out to tell them and they had gone. I did not want to miss my launch so radiod the office to get them sent back. Normally I get on well with the guys, but this morning was stressful and the atmosphere was not good.
I radiod Bob that I was launching as he had the antifoul to put on the keel where the blocks had been and was going to take pictures.
The boat was put on the trolley and the boat was slowly worked out of the corner they had boxed me into. The top of my danbuoy got caught in the shrinkwrapping of the boat behind me and was a bit mauled, I am not sure whether to complain or just let it go. The trolley has no springs and my light little boat clanged its way to the travel lift. I tried to phone Mike, but he was already on his way, he was going to stand by in the dinghy, just in case.
My stress levels were through the roof by this time and I hate to think what the photos will be like with me in them.
Mike helped with the ropes to the travel lift guys, but even that was bad, ropes were being thrown perhaps at, not to, people, the language was unnecessary too. I could not wait to get out of here.
The boat was dunked in the water and I checked the through hull fitting for the log, which I had just put in, was not letting in water. I then had to vent the shaft seal. We were ready to go. They had said I could take as long as I needed, but basically it was get out of here.
The engine would not do anything. I knew the throttle cable needed adjusting, but I was going to do that after launch, I did not expect it to fail completely. I had no revs and no water was coming out of the exhaust. Mike drove and Bob held the rope and they towed me out of the dock to a buoy in the anchorage; well at least I was out.
Mike had put a fender for me on a buoy that I wanted to take up, but the boat had not vacated yet, so I picked up another buoy temporarily.
The rest of the morning was spent sorting what was really only the lever to the throttle cable being stiff; although with two guys and an engine there had to be more. A grand job was done and we motored to the buoy I wanted. I only picked this buoy so that I could get wifi but that is assuming I have enough power to charge the computer and there is not a boat in the dock blocking the signal. I have to learn to live with power and water saving again. I spent the rest of the day tidying up, hopefully now the last big sort out.
I cannot overstate just how important today was to be back on the water.
I inflated the dinghy and rowed to customs, where there was nothing to be done until I left and my cutlass bearing had still not arrived. I paid for the buoy for a week, did a bit of visiting and went back to the boat and took the dinghy in.
It was poker night and rather than row and get the dinghy up at night, I decided to take the water taxi to the dock, I am 100 yards off the dock and it took three attempts for him to find me. I met the guys at The Bight and then we all went to the Lure.where we have moved the event to. We have all the upstairs and a bar to ourselves and the chairs are padded and comfortable.
Jacques was the only one with a dinghy and he lost and went home before the rest. The ones at TTSA caught a taxi and that left Bob and I to get the water taxi. No shuttle, he had gone home at 9, not for the first time, I checked in the office this morning and it was confirmed that they run until 10.30. This is important for people on the anchorage and annoying for people on land who still have to make other arrangements. We had to think of someone who would have the VHF on and have a dinghy in the water, Dalton on Quietly to the rescue.
I checked the main and I only had to mend two tears on the luff where it must have caught when trying to feed it into the track while hauling it up. Mike came over and helped me. It was stiff to winch, I will have to put more grease down the furling and try taking it in and out a few times. The respite from the furling clanking in the mast was immediate and made life that much more enjoyable.
I put the sprayhood down as it was blocking the airflow. I put the awning up to give shade and a net at the end for when the boat turns the cockpit into the sun, read some of my book and had a snooze in the cockpit.
I am moored just off Power Boats, which is not named by chance. Diesel is very cheap and there are dozens of powerful motor boats in racks. Dinghies and fishing boats roar through the anchorage at all times, but Friday night is the start of the weekend madness. I am having to stop myself from getting on the radio, because if I asked whether they could get any nearer or go any faster I am sure next time they would make a point of proving that they could do both. I did put a light on my forestay, but I am sure the security lights are sufficient.
I was trying to conserve my power, but now am trying to get the batteries down to 50% and then I can run the engine to recharge them and check that I have sorted the fuel leak, which I think is just a loose join.
Now it is time to do the really tiny jobs, that still need tools and materials from different lockers, but can be attempted one at a time. If these had got on the list then I think it would have been enough to take the last of my sanity, but now I can do them one at a time when I feel like it. Among these jobs are : a screw to keep the drain plug attached to the dinghy, instead of that tatty piece of string; glue the plastic cover to the instrument light bar to stop it disappearing and water getting in. I am also trying to clean and polish the boat, I have started with the cockpit, which is probably the worst area.
My batteries were down to 50.5% and I was going to have to turn the engine on. I spoke to Bob and he suggested I went to Chacachacare, as it was a holiday weekend, another one. Mike had said he was going to go round the corner and so I spoke to him. He was watching the cricket, not ready to go and wanted to go to Five Islands, I think he was a bit miffed that I went without him, but he can follow tomorrow. I put the fender back on the buoy to mark reserve it for my return. I was wasting my mooring money, but at £2.50 a night I think it is ok.
This was my first excursion in the boat in 6 months and as scary as it was exciting. I had the main, but no genoa, which is what I would need to get me out of trouble if the engine had a problem. There were a lot of ‘what if’, but it had to be done sometime and on my own, so off I went and here I am. It was only 6 miles and the batteries are not completely charged up, but they should be by the time I get back. There were dolphins playing in the anchorage when I came in, these are big dolphins. It is good to be somewhere other than Chaguaramas Bay.
There were two boats near me, but just before it got dark they moved round the corner. There did not look a lot of room as the first one circled at least 3 times before anchoring. There were some boats in the other direction, two of those were Sunsail and they had big dinghies with 10 year old boys driving them round and round my boat, was this not what I had just escaped from?
I had decided to return to Chaguaramas, the main point of the exercise had been a combination of sea and nerve trial, both seemed sucessful and I liked it in Chacachacare, but I would rather return with buddy boats so that I can explore.
I was just nearing the bay when the weather forecast on the Net warned of a tropical wave that could turn to a depression with no warning. If it closed down then it would be on us by tonight. I changed course and went round the peninsula and to TTSA. Plan A was to stay in the Bay for a week on the mooring, that had been discarded. Plan B was to go to TTSA after my week in the Bay, so I was on to Plan B already.
9am I was anchored and put the awning up. I know some boats round here and may only go back to my mooring to retrieve my fender, we shall see. I am not happy with my power situation as it took all night to charge uyp the computer and with that and the anchor light my batteries are only back to 85% even after the motor back. I also had to charge up my sat phone enough to be able to send this.
I am cooking roast potatoes and yorkshire pudding for a very early lunch so that I can make it, by road, to dominoes.
No mains water or electricity, no wifi, but it is lovely to be back on the water.