position S018 38.600 W173 59.900

Ocean Rival Journey Log
Adam Power Diana Power
Mon 18 Jun 2018 09:04
MONDAY 17th June.  Vavau Tonga (still) .

On the hard again.
Doesn't take a lot to get us out of the water and onto dry land. This time just a small matter of sinking slowly.
The boat yard here is very accomodating and no sooner than I mentioned the
water ingress than all hands were put to the pump (mine literally- others metaphorically), and we met the trailer head on at 11.00am being conveniently high tide. Here a steep concrete ramp allows the trailer to stay hitched to the tractor and the swimmer sorts out strops under the keel and the stabilising pads each side of the hull. Then the big caterpillar tractor pulls boat, trailer and a yachties back up the ramp to the top where a pressure wash took off the heavy fouling of green weed. The free antifouling from Tahiti has been completely ineffective, but if I had paid for expensive stuff and washed it off here I would have been more upset. Initial inspection after cleaning confirmed the scars to the base of the keel but didn't reveal a nasty crack or even a small hole so we postponed the post mortem till she was off the trailer and propped on jacks.

Once we had been chocked up on the lovely grassy yard and after making our apologies in town to the customs officials for failing to clear out, we 
hosed some water into the bilge and within a couple of minutes a dribble emerged from the back end of the base of keel where the damage was visibly worse. I had assumed that the whole keel was solid lead and fibreglass with no cavity but the boatyard owner tapped with a knuckle and confirmed a cavity at the aft end of the keel. Now I think I remember reading something about the keel cavity on the Rival Owners web site.The internet here is good so I can check it out.

It may not look like it but this is as good a result as we could have hoped for- a localised glass fibre repair with no significant structural consequence.
It will need a lengthy drying time and then grinding back and building back up but all that is well within the remit of the yard here.
The yard is run by two young(ish) men who have been working in boatyards in the caribbean and then in town here before spotting this site and taking  a lease -clearing coral, building the ramp, some workshops, an office and toilets and buying the tractor and trailer from USA. They have only been going 3 years but the set up is really very impressive and they hope to be in profit by year 5. They only lack wet moorings but there are plenty of boats in the yard even though we are in in the sailing season. If they can get acreditation as a cyclone shelter (and it has seen 3 go past already without damage), then they should be oversubscribed in short time.

So it seems logical to use this as our New Zealand set out base and leave her here untill the october window. The flights are via Fiji so add to the cost and flight time of returning but that we will have to trade for winter in NZ and some summer in U.K.