over to Ketchup to inspect the damage. With the hull exposed we could
clearly see the extent of the damage, a large indentation in the
ferro-cement hull about three feet below the waterline adjacent the mast
extended 42 inches long by 20 inches wide. Tino, one of the local
fishermen, arrived a little later and between us we decided a large plywood
patch bolted through the hull and sealed with some polyurethane sealant
backed up with some fast setting cement would be the most promising
solution. The plan settled I went back to Sylph for a few more hours
sleep. As I dinghied back to Sylph I went around the starboard side and was
horrified to see that the hull had been crushed in that side as well. I
returned to Ketchup to let Keith know the bad news, more furniture had to be
removed from inside the boat to locate the cracked hull. "Tino, could you
make that two pieces of half inch ply?" I returned once more to Sylph for
an hour or so of sleep. A little later I was called on VHF radio for the
use of Sylph's dinghy. When I arrived back at Ketchup I was impressed to
see that Tino and the other fishermen had already fixed one patch in place
and were preparing to place a patch over the damage on the starboard side
for which they needed my dinghy as this side was in slightly deeper water.
Less than an hour later both patches were securely in place the holes had
been bogged up with cement and all we could do was wait for the tide to come
in and see how effective the results of our labours were going to be.
My trek in the dinghy from Sylph to Ketchup is becoming regular commute.
Around midday I returned to Ketchup and Keith greeted me with a long face
and a thumb's down sign as I approached. Down below water was still pouring
in, clearly our patches were not as effective as we had hoped. Nonetheless
the flow was a fraction of what it had been and we only needed a small bilge
pump to cope with the flow.
It is now low tide again and we are going to attempt to place a bit more
sealant around the plywood patches and inspect the hull more closely for any
cracks we might have missed. If this doesn't work we will probably try
putting a few more bolts through to secure the patches more firmly in place.
As my Dad used to say, "Worse things happen at sea."