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Date: 08 Apr 2011 02:34:00
Title: One step forward, two steps backwards

Nelson's Dockyard, Antigua, Thursday night

It's been a stressful day working on Saxon Blue and trying to get her in a good state to leave for the summer. Alden and I have done loads of good stuff but, overall, it seems like we're further away than ever.

I was pretty dozy this morning - probably because we had our windows closed to stop mosquitoes which makes it stuffy and airless in our cabin. Andrea and Cind were going off to Rendezvous Bay to go swimming so they got ready while Alden and I looked through our list of jobs. I went off in the taxi with the girls and got dropped at Antigua Rigging to pick up the replacement LopoLight package. They were all as jolly and helpful as ever and George tried to calm me down by promising that they could do anything that we didn't get around to before the lift-out.

When I got back onboard, Alden had cleaned out the lazarette lockers so we put the Eberspacher heater on to test it and were pleased to find that it ran without a hitch although one of the fan units needs to have a bit of attention. We then got stuck into fitting the new lights which do seem to be the correct ones so I was amazed at that. The most awkward was always going to be the stern light so we started with that. It went smoothly enough although it's crazy that we had to put a join in the cable inside the comms mast as the wire attached to the light is only about a meter long. Every one of them should come with 5 meters of cable at least but they're all supplied with just enough to get inside the nearest fitting. Disgraceful.

While we were having a break, a couple of guys from Antigua Rigging turned up to look at our fixed rigging. They've got another Discovery 55 with cap shrouds constantly breaking and they wanted to look at mine to see what the differences were. It turns out that the differences are only in quantity as I, too, have a broken cap shroud and some corrosion and discolouration in other places as well. I know they've told me this before but, apparently, the mast will have to come out to effect the repair. I'm convinced that this is an over-reaction and that the shrouds can be replaced with stronger ones in situ but it seems that we're destined to have a load of work carried out over the summer.

I can't help thinking that rather too much attention is paid by the builders to getting the interior joinery perfect and rather too little to two major functions of the boat: keep the water out and keep the rig up. I know that stainless rigging is heavy and it's better to have a lighter rig but it's supposed to last 10 years without trouble and we're nowhere near that. I suppose it won't be my problem to fix it but every time something major gets done, it creates a load of knock-on jobs and I won't be around to check on it all. With the issues we've already identified, they might be better off just taking the whole boat apart and starting again from scratch.

Anyway, Alden and I had some lunch in Hamiltons and then carried on with the lights so that, by the end of the afternoon, we had the stern and the two forward lights installed and working as well as our lockers cleared out and ready for long-term storage. Geoffrey from Antigua Sails came round to see about making an awning to protect our cockpit from the sun and rain while the boat is out of the water so, hopefully, he can come up with something to do the job. The girls came back from their expedition having had a lovely time swimming in the sea with the whole white strand to themselves.

We've just been out to get our dinner, only to find that our favourite restaurant seems to have closed down. I'm not surprised as we seemed to be the only people who were ever in it. Great food but terrible advertising (or total lack of it) seems to have been a disastrous combination. We had a good meal in another place, though, and then waited for a couple of rainstorms to pass over before heading back home.

I'm feeling a bit less stressed now than I did earlier but I'm not liking the idea of leaving Saxon Blue so far from home with so many big jobs to be done. Perhaps it will all go smoothly but experience doesn't help me maintain that illusion. I'm sure we'll do our jobs well and leave her tidy but I've no idea what state she'll be in when we return.

Harvey

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