October 2012

If Knot Y Knot
Patricia Day
Wed 31 Oct 2012 12:25

October 2012

Monday 1

I am still hauled out.  They sand and fill the quarter of the hull that had blisters each day to get it smooth.

I fitted the new oil sump bolt and washers and added some oil to see if it leaked.  Of course it did, but I would have been disappointed if it had given in so easily after 2 years.  I am waiting for Chris.

Lots of emails by thumbs, really slow.  It was unbearably hot today, I don`t know how the guys worked through it.

Tuesday 2

7am and I had 2 guys coming up the ladder to do the gelcoat repairs, pleasant surprise.

I had to leave them at 10 as I was going 10 pin bowling.  The owner is American and picked us up in his car at the dock, all 8 of us, which was a bit of a squeeze!

It was quite a drive and in a nicer part of town than we usually go shopping, which is dirty.  There were 2 lanes and good selection of balls and shoes.  The balls were sent back and the pins reset manually, so there was a red and green light to tell you when to bowl without hitting the staff behind the pins.

We had 2 games and that was enough.  There were people who could actually play and the rest of us, strikes and spares and a lot of gutter balls, but it was fun.  We had lunch there and it was Dana`s birthday so we had a cake too.

Wednesday 3

I packed and walked to town, stopping to nag Luis about my canvas work.  He says he loves me, but I still can`t get him to finish the job.  I caught the 10am bus to San Pedro Sula.  A lot of stopping to change buses, Guatamala immigration, and half hour drive away Honduras immigration, then police check, and later army checkpoint.  Arrived about 3.30. Big mall just outside the hotel.

Thursday 4

Went to two malls, both were walking distance, although the hotel wanted me to take a taxi for my own safety, I had to cross the road, $8 each way.  I left my backpack behind so that I would be less of a target and I walked.  It seems really nice, supposed to be one of the most dangerous cities in the world, but I was in the good part.

Took about 6 hours to choose and buy the computer.  The small ones were tempting, but they are small to read.  The full size laptops are nice, but too big for the boat really.  I eventually settled on this one 11.6” widescreen, which is in the middle of the two extremes.  I can set it to type in english, but the operating system is spanish, which I need to get changed, but I won`t be able to do anything about the keyboard.  The main letters and numbers are ok, it is all the symbols that I will have to find.

It has a button to go straight to internet without Windows, which speeds things up and is a good idea.

Friday 5

5am at the bus station – ugh! When I got to Guatamala immigration they had just installed the computer system and they entered my details and stamped me in with a 90 day visa, should be ok until the end of hurricane season.  The trip back was fine until changing buses outside Morales.  I waited 2.5 hours, because they said it was not my bus, 20 minutes my bus.  Really there were buses, but they had no spare seats and they didn`t tell me.  So much for connecting buses, I would have stood back to Rio Dulce.  Eventually, why did it take me that long, I walked to the main road and caught a minibus collectivo into Morales.  I then came back out and passed where I had started, but I wasn`t sure of the direction and at least this way I got a seat .

Saturday 6

While I was away Dennis had filled the prop shaft with fibreglass and he came in the morning and  drilled the new hole for the cutlass bearing and left me to chop out all the excess fibreglass. 

I caught a loose bit of fibreglass and pulled and pulled and when I chopped it off I ended up with 1` of what was previously a fibreglass tube constructed like a bandage.  In the afternoon I took the new computer to Mario in town.  It would take 3 hours to convert it to English operating system so I will go back tomorrow morning.

Sunday 7

Really worried about the propshaft tube now.  Could not risk a loose piece of fibreglass getting caught round the shaft and unravelling, it would be like fishing line round the prop, but worse as I could not get to it to cut it off.  There was nothing else to do but keep going until the tube was clear.  I used a torch and could see that there was more to be removed.  I used water hose with sandpaper taped to the end to smooth the tube, until it got stuck, too much fibreglass.  I decided to put a narrow handled screwdriver up the tube to push it through, but that got stuck.  I put a smaller screwdriver down from the other end to push the first one out and that got stuck.  I was panicking.  I knew I must not damage the tube, especially the end where the seal fits.  I managed to get both screwdrivers out and all the fibreglass.  I had it pretty much smooth when Henry came along and he got a piece of pvc pipe with a slit to slide the sandpaper in and wrap round and finished it off with that.  I put water down the tube to get rid of any loose bits and that was enough.  I felt much better, but this haulout is a real roller coaster of emotions.

I went back to town and collected the computer and exchanged the old ones for a case with the old hard drive in.

Paid the money for the arch to Christian and just made it in time to Marios for the afternoon for dominos.

Monday 8

Dennis wanted the prop shaft greased, I did.  Henry fitted the prop shaft, wasn`t easy but this is progress.

I could not find my camera or the new portable GPS, I spent the day very upset that one of the guys would have taken anything and didn`t know what to do about it.

Bank transfer to pay the marina costs.

Tuesday 9

Dennis came by and complained that I hadn`t greased the shaft.  I had, but they wiped it off getting a grip to fit the shaft.  We fitted the dummy sleeve, tied the shaft to stands to keep it central and put very expensive 2 part goo round it and left it to set.  I roped off the area with a `no tocar` notice, in case the boys couldn`t resist touching it.  Luckily it set in the first hour before they were really about and then it had to be left until the next day. 

I told Richard that I was missing a blue digital camera and a portable GPS.  I was pleased to hear that they had a transient worker who quit yesterday lunchtime.  I could now feel it was him and none of the boys, so I was annoyed, but no longer upset.  $200 for those and the flash cards in each.

Propane bottle refilled.  I have thrown away the 3 small ones I had from Europe which had gone too rusty.  In Europe you exchange them and any rusty bottles are dealt with at the refill plant, but outside Europe you buy them and the rust is all your own.  So I just have the one fiberglass bottle, it lasts 3 months and I cannot fit another one in the locker.

Went to Catamaran for lunch with Lenny and then Lynda joined us at the pool.  3pm time for afternoon tea.  Lady Grey without milk and shortbread (ish) cookies with raspberry jam in the middle.  Strange how Lenny can get hold of these as they are only usually available when there is a buffet.

Wednesday 10

Today started well, Dennis came just after 7 and we took out the dummy sleeve and put in the cutlass bearing. Now he had to cut the plate to the shape of the skeg, but the electricity was out at his workshop and that whole area of town.  There was electricity here, but he didn`t want to do it here.

So I had to wait until the afternoon.  He did come back with the plate it has to be fitted tomorrow.

I paid and that is something else off the list.

Phoned Luis and he should be coming tomorrow afternoon.  It is a bit awkward now that he has been sacked by another boat, but I need to be finished.

The weather is supposed to be turning bad and I checked and found out that I am not covered by their insurance on the grass, only on the concrete where I cannot go as I am living on the boat.  Richard insisted that everyone was told this, but I certainly was not.  I was contemplating leaving the boat out of the water if I did a fly back to Europe, but now I will put it back in, which he says might be Sunday.

I have to find out if Chris is going to rebuild my seawater pump in time or whether I fit the old one for now.

Was going to movie night, but didn`t have a good feeling.  I am struggling to keep happy and positive, but I can’t risk letting things get on top of me.

Thursday 11

We were putting the prop shaft and cutlass bearing with new plate together and it all went a bit pear shaped.  No name, no  blame - least said, soonest mended.  This is the one thing that had had me in tears previously as I could not be left to do it and Henry tried.  People came, people swore and voices were raised.  Luckily I did not flip and I had cause.  Took the day to try and salvage the situation.  Henry wanted to put the prop shaft back in, but I was going to Trivia and needed a shower so at 5pm I locked up.

It was a good evening, Odette and Keith, crew of Maxime took me over in their big tender to their 70` motor boat.  We were 2nd at the last question, which was impossible and so nobody got the answer.  The team in the lead did not put any points on their answer and so they won.

There were the ususal arguments about where to hold the next one and who was going in which trip in the pick up launcha.  At least my problems are real ones, made me feel better, but I got no sleep.

Friday 12

Chris came to do the engine stuff and it was a good job we had not put the shaft in last night because

It had to come out.  This man can sort people and we have the best result we can.  All seems well, the boss and I seem ok.   I asked for a 4” tube for the cutlass bearing and I got no real tube, but a plate with a fixture on the outside to hold the bearing.  It wasn`t what I had asked for, but the cutlass bearing should not be able to move, so I thought it was good. Chris noticed that the fitting extends past the cutlass bearing and there is a sharp edge. He says this will cause problems when the cutlass bearing rubber wears down and the shaft will rub on the lip.  Do I take it off and have it ground down or let it go and see?  There were 2 holes for set screws, but only one was threaded, Chris tried to get Dennis to come and thread the other hole, but I think he did it himself and put another set screw in.

Plate on and shaft in, 2 coats of antifoul, the rudder is on with new quadrant pin and steering attached.

Engine seawater pump, still only got the parts Richard brought in, the others have taken a month, although they were in Miami in 2 days and express shipped! Chris has taken one away to rebuild.

Air filter foam fell off and it is not old and had already split, I got the first aid kit out and bandaged it under the hoseclip until I can get a new one , hope nobody needs first aid.

There might be good news on the oil sump leak.  The problem was the 4 welds on the inside of the sump have made the bolt face uneven in 4 places so it will not seal.  Sanding and sealant, not the best answer, but hopefully it will work.  I have to admit I have not had the time, energy or mental strength to look.

Whilst dealing with the sump Chris noticed one of the motor mount brackets has totally sheered off and has been like this for some time.  It has gone away to be welded.

The engine stop cable needs replacing, it just came away in my hand, but I can go inside and push the lever.

The new tachometer is fitted.

The throttle was stiff and has loosened, but cannot be got off as it is totally rusted and the out of gear knob has disintegrated, so really I need a new one.  This one was not going to come off easily and as we can`t get a new one, best to leave it for now.

I really worked hard today, strange that when I have help it is exausting.

Saturday 13

Chris cannot work today as he has sea trials, but he has done a lovely job of the seawater pump.  I would have fitted it, but the gear is on the other pump and I could not get it off, so it will have to wait.  The oil sump does not seem to be leaking, so I have filled it half full which should be enough to get me back to the marina and see if it leaks when the oil gets hot.

The rudder and steering are back on, but the autopilot is not getting any rudder data, so just leave it and ask Chris on Monday, he is a Raymarine tech.

I turned on the chartplotter to see if that made any difference, silly, but with my system who knows.  It didn’t turn on, I started to panic and then checked the wiring in my far too full electrical cupboard.  I had added the new log into the system and it is sharing a block with the chartplotter and the wire had come out.  Refitted the wire and it works, but I will have to keep an eye on that.

I wanted extra buoyancy in the dinghy to counteract the weight of the engine.  I wanted it inside at the back, Henry wanted to put it underneath at the back, which I thought would cause drag, and when we asked someone who should know they said to get stabiliser fins – I am not sure that I could ask for stabilisers for a 2 hp engine, I think I might get laughed at.  I am going to postpone that for now.

I went into town for the first time since last Sunday and didn’t get much but needed the change of scenery.  Luis was meant to come in the afternoon and another phone call had him send the boys to get the patterns for the back and window shading.  This had all taken so long it is not even mildy amusing.

The marina put the antifoul rollers and brushes in water and re-use, I asked for a new roller as the one had been in a tray and not fully submerged.  This caused a bit of a fuss, not sure I got my point across, but things are a bit fraught.  When everything is good, praise is expected and given.  When things are not so good I really do not see why I should not say so. 

Sunday 14

Darwin came to clean the stainless steel, not a brilliant job, but I am past caring, I just want to get out of here.  Still wondering whether to have the plate removed and the end ground off, but I will ask Chris in the morning, it might be easier to just be really minimal with the engine.  The new tacho should give me engine hours.

I have all the lights and fans working, although they have obviously been a bit assaulted by water, except for 2.  The one in the back cabin and the one by the kitchen sink which is really a pain.  There is no power coming down the wires and to trace them is not on the to do list until I am back in the marina.

Then I went to Marios for dominos, could have gone to the pool at Catamaran, but wasn’t in the mood and was hoping Luis would show up, 9.30 this morning he promised, but he never did.  Bad decision to use him.  My 20:20 hindsight is razor sharp.

Monday 15

I was hoping to launch today

Chris came and fitted the seawater pump and the motor mount.  The secret to fitting and removing the seawater pump is to remove the motor mount to get to the nuts, otherwise it takes 2 hours of tiny spanner movements, but then you have to fit the motor mount, so there isn`t a lot in it and it and probably better to leave the motor mount where it is.  The motor mounts had originally been fitted with the nuts in the wrong order, so it wasn`t adjustable, brilliant people. The one is now ok, would be nice if the other 3 were done sometime soon.

The autopilot would not work because the rudder sensor was not re-installed correctly.  It had been pushed too far round and initially Chris thought it was broken and I would need a new one, but luckily it went back into position.

The steering cables were tightened and the prop put on, but the nut for the screw on anode was too big.

I had to sort the final invoice – I was not launching today.

Tuesday 16

1pm launch I was told.

I had one coat of primer, if I had realized I would have had more.

They had used 2 gallons of antifoul and I was going to have the 3rd gallon put on, but they had done 3 coats, per quote, so I would have to do it.  I was going to, but with the cutlass bearing I would want to haul earlier <2 years> than I had hoped <4 to 5 years>, so what was the point of more antifoul.

The steering cables were done, the autopilot centred the rudder, but the wheel was not centred. I only have one complete turn of the wheel and the chain is short and has to be level, I thought they would have to undo the cables to move the chain one link on the sprocket, but a guy came by and did something really quickly, I did not see what, but the wheel centred.

Now it was just the bolt for the anode.  It was going to be metric and I could not see how I failed to have a bolt that fitted.  They found me a bolt, but it had a hex head which could not be fitted in the space, so they put a groove in it for the screwdriver.  The bolt was too long, so they took it away <by car> cut it down and brought it back, it was still too long, so they repeated the process.  Maybe proper measuring would have saved time, but I was very grateful I was now finished.

I went in to sort the final invoice, I wanted a credit for the antifoul and a few bits and they wanted to add a few bits.  The difference would not have been a lot and I spoke to the boss in the US on the phone.  I was not as happy a bunny as he thought I should be and he obviously did not realize how upset I was over a few things, but especially the cutlass bearing debacle, which had been very ugly, expensive and not what I wanted.

When I am annoyed I can hold my own, but when I am upset I do not cope well.  It has been 6.5 weeks of difficult living conditions, lots of waiting and all this Spanish.  It wasn`t really about the money, but he told me to not pay anything, he didn`t need my money, he had enough.  I made sure he repeated this to Karen and we said goodbye, or perhaps we didn`t!

What Richard did not know was that Karen had found an error on the original invoice I had paid, it had not added up the last 2 items, which were $825, so with all the adjustments I owed, not the small amount he was expecting, but $668.88 – and he just said I didn`t have to pay!

So I left the office.  It was a bit of a shame that I went for a credit and ended up owing more, but I didn`t mind paying what was due.  I just wanted Richard to find out how much I owed after he said I did not have to pay, go ballistic, and then I would have paid.  Karen was feeling bad because it was her mistake so I said I would put it on my credit card, but they had just put the boat in the slings and I was not allowed on until they had put it in the water.

I didn`t know what to do about tipping the guys, there were too many of them that had done something and it did not seem fair to leave some out.  I gave Henry a toolbag with half of the large tools in that I thought I did not need. I am going to put some minutes on Darwin`s phone when it is triple day.

I bought 4 large bottles of sodas for the guys.

I went to the launch area and waited and waited, no boat.  I was going back and Bob told me that they had got stuck, he had been sent away, but not to tell them that he had told me.  Did they think I wouldn`t realize that it didn`t take that long to trundle a boat a few hundred yards.

I went back and the travel lift was stuck in the mud, we have had so much rain and this is why I was worried about the boat slipping.  I was happy enough with the boat in the travel lift, there I was insured.

They chocked the boat up in the middle of the field and had to dig out the travel lift.  They were going to put me up in a room at another marina for the night.  Lots of people, gravel, 2 tractors and quite some time later they picked up the boat again and got it to the slip.

The boat was put in and Henry came to check no water was coming in through the propshaft seal, I gave him the instructions which Volvo provides in many languages, so they had it in Spanish.  I had put the grease in and did get in to burp the seal, but another man was brought in for consultation and paper towels were handed over.  It is only meant to drip when burped and then nothing, I don`t know if it was dripping but they said it was ok so we left.  My stress levels were pretty high by this point.  It was late afternoon by then.  Lenny had come over and stayed to help me back into the marina.  All went well and I was starting to de-stress, all I needed now was a good night`s sleep.

Wednesday 17

So I get up and the engine bilge was full of water.  Luckily this bilge is self-contained or I would not have noticed in time.  My heart sank and I emailed the marina and Chris.  I have registered the problem and am waiting for Chris to come and look.

It is not leaking from any of the water hoses or the newly fitted seawater pump, but is coming out the back of the seal.  I could put a hose clip on it, but do not want to touch it because it would invalidate any warranty.

Broken motor mount bracket at one end, disintegrating shaft tube at cutlass bearing and a happy shaft seal.  Mend the bracket and secure the cutlass bearing and the shaft seal leaks.

First I want the engine alignment checked and then the shaft seal may have to be removed and checked.

It leaks more when the engine is on, but still leaks when the boat is just sitting in the water.  I did add more grease and burp the seal again and the dripping has reduced.

I might have to go back into the slings, but do not want to go back to the yard until Chris can come and look at it.

Lynda brought me some brownies, which were lunch and much appreciated.  I made cheese straws and went to the pool.  Then I went to movie night at Mar, I needed the break, but not many people were there.  `What to expect when you are expecting` it was light and what I needed, last week was `War Horse` and I don`t think that would have been good for my mood.

Thursday 18

Mopped up the bilge, not too much water for 12 hours.

Nothing to do now but wait for Chris - or Luis who is seriously trying my frayed patience.

I decided to use the sewing machine to do a hem on a new dress.  I have US inverter and a UK inverter and UK and European plugs.  I could not find the one adapter I needed for European to UK plug.  When looking I found the new 12v inline pump I had bought so decided to wire this up. Eventually I decided to put a UK plug on a European extension lead, which will give me options.  I could not remember how to wire up the plug, so I had to find one to undo to check, tricky as most plugs are now sealed.

I had to wind a bobbin and the new ones I had bought did not fit.  I tried brute force and only succeeded in getting it so stuck that it would not go on properly and would not come off, so I had to use brute force to remove it, in many pieces.  About 3 hours had elapsed and so I put the machine away and took the dress to the pool and did it by hand in between dips.  I held it up and material was hanging down, great it’s lined.  Back at the boat I found the scissors and that took care of the problem, I will hem the lining another day – maybe.  I showered and changed into my new dress and we went to Trivia.  We were in last place before the final question with 13 points.  The lead team had 25 points.  They bet 2 and were wrong, so had 23.  We bet 10 and won, so had 23.  We shared the pot and got Q45 each, which paid for dinner, but not the drink or dessert. 

Friday 19

Now the drip is only about half a pint in 12 hours, which makes me happy.  I still want it sorted because if the shaft vibrates as much as it was it will not do the engine, the shaft seal or the cutlass bearing any good.  I am waiting for Chris to find time for me, which looks like it will be next week, but I am really annoyed with Luis who did eventually phone back and promise tomorrow at 10 all would be done.

I took the marina launch into town at 3 and came back on the 3.45, that was quite enough for a quick bit of stocking up.  I just have to do a little at a time.  How much tuna and milk do I need?

Last minute decision to go to Movie night, Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  I know who asked for the film and I know who supplied the DVD, not my favourite film by any stretch, but it gets me out.

Saturday 20

My grand daughter, Paige, is 3 today.  I Skyped to say happy birthday.  Luis phoned to postpone until 4.

I had just got out of the pool and Luis phoned to say he was on the boat.  He had only brought the shades for the dodger windows and the middle one was not big enough, the pattern was correct, he just hadn`t cut the material to the pattern.  I am now promised everything for Monday.  I gave him a list, with pictures and he wrote beside each what he had to do in Spanish.

Sunday 21

It rained very hard all day.  We had enough people for dominos at Catamaran, so we had our own game.

Monday 22

Luis didn’t come.  It still rained.  He was coming at 10 tomorrow, but not with everything done.

Tuesday 23

Luis phoned at 9.30 to say he wasn’t coming, but would have everything tomorrow at 10.

Chris was ready and so I am taking the boat to Ram on Thursday morning.

There have been lots of electrical outages in town and at the marinas, but there was a spike of 250 volts which has caused some damage to extension leads and chargers as they are 110 volts.  I should have been ok because I am 240, but I don’t trust it enough to plug in.  I just pretend I am at anchor, where there just isn’t a long enough extension lead.

Wednesday 24

Surprise, Luis phoned at 10 to say he needed another 3 hours.  I am going into town on the 3pm boat and will be back at 4.  The lads came and we had to take the canvas off to fix the poppers, this should not have been necessary and we had to find somewhere that would not scratch the windows or get the canvas dirty.  The younger lad was making the hole for the stud and he put the scissors through my new sprayhood.  This is going soooo well, not.

Thursday 25

I went over to Ram and sat on the fuel dock, just in case I had to go in the slings.  Chris came and said the shaft was way off.  That’s what I thought.  Luis came and they took off the hood so they could put a patch on.  The engine was re-aligned and we went for a test drive.  It is so smooth now, just goes round and round and no vibrating.  I am very happy about this.  I tried the autopilot and it did a 360.  Chris tried to recalibrate the autopilot compass, but it would not do it.  I had got the spanners out and he had tied them up when he had finished, but he had left them on the table, where 1/2” beneath was the fluxgate compass.  Exactly the same scenario as Venezuela 4 years ago, but it wasn’t me this time.

I waited several hours for the canvas to come back, after several phone calls the lads brought it back, but it is getting dirty every time they do anything.

Friday 26

Luis promised 2pm, so Lynda and I had time to go to Morales.  I found a weighing maching and that told me I was 145cm, 123lbs and 26.6% bodyfat.  At least I am under 9 stone, just and have a starting point.

Luis did not come and now promised 10 tomorrow.

Saturday 27

I put the stop cable back in the boat and just have to find ways to fix each end.  After many hours and ideas I gave up for now.  Luis had not turned up or phoned and was now 1 hour late and would not answer the phone.  I have had more than I can stand of this, 8 weeks past when it should have originally been finished.  I phoned Val, who had already sacked him and got some money back and she took me over.  She got the poppers that he owed her and warned him that I might seem calm now, but I was furious.  Luis was sewing something, but it was not for me.  I told him he said 10, he said it was 2, but I later spoke to Gordon who said Luis should have been with him at 10 also.  So he lied, again, to my face, like so many times before.  I found the last screen and made him sew the extra edges on to make it fit, right now.  I was able to stay firm and not give in, Val would have taken over for me if I had wavered.  8 weeks he has taken to tell me that he doesn’t have any more shading to do the arch and the back, nor the ball of rope that I asked him to get for me.  If the shop he was buying from didn’t have it, he should have told me, not lied to me.  He did refund Q1000 for the shading and rope – which should be in Wednesday.  I got the screen and the small amount of canvas left over, which I need to edge the screening and we took one of the lads to finish the poppers.  There was really no reason why it had taken so long to finish the bits that could be done.  There weren’t many poppers, but when the lad went to the bathroom I went through the bag and found more, but I am still 1 short.  He was going to use a different one, but it won’t match and he couldn’t see that that mattered. 

I hope the work will stand up and do the job, it looks good from a distance.  Thank goodness that is over.

Sunday 28

Did the washing, cleaned the outside of the boat and cooked a coconut pie.

We are playing dominos here as there are enough of us now people are starting to come back to their boats.

Monday 29

Went to town and bought a new engine battery and a gallon of oil, not that I can face doing either of those today.