A beautiful day today here in Ushuaia. When I awoke it was quiet … no wind. Perfect, I thought, best get up and get the jib down and the forestay off while conditions allow. I got up, dressed and had the jib down before breakfast, then a leisurely repast of bacon and egg (uno) on toast, then to tackle the forestay. It had not been removed for about 12 years, I looked at it with a little trepidation. I had studied the “Pro-Furl” manual the night before and it all seemed pretty straight forward. And indeed it was. It only took me about half an hour to undo all the necessary shackles, nuts and bolts - after having placed a few judicious lines and halyards with which to control the forestay’s descent - and we were ready to lower away. Now it was a respectable hour and the day was turning out to be glorious - calm, sunny and warm, I went over to another boat with whom we had become friends, and asked for some assistance from Roger, a fellow Australian. The forestay complete with roller furler was all down in a trice, with only the odd missed heartbeat, and was soon lying alongside Sylph on the jetty. Roger had suggested a solution which was to cut the old swage off and replace it with a “Norse” fitting, for the uninitiated I know this is a little technical but nonetheless it was a relatively simple solution. Roger even managed to track down a source for the Norse fitting, not too many of those around in this neck of the woods. Later in the day a dinghy arrived alongside, a large gruff fellow pokes his head over the gunwale, says, “I hear you’re in need of one of these” and tosses a lump of wire with "the fitting" into the cockpit. His name is Hank and that completes the Australian trifecta in harbour at the moment. A very good start to the day, especially as when I was up the mast disconnecting the forestay I dropped a spacer and watched it tumble slowly to the deck 45 feet below, detachedly wondering what are the chances of this piece of toast landing butter side up - well it did, it bounced around on deck a few times and didn’t skip over the side as happens, truth be told, not as often as one would expect.
By mid afternoon I had the fitting fitted, now we just need to have a spacer made up, as having cut the swaged fitting off the stay is now a little short.
IN THE MEANTIME - the MECHANIC shows up:
we start the engine, He listens to its pulse (no need for a stethoscope) and after 20 seconds He tells me to shut it down. The Mechanic only speaks Spanish, but I have the services of an interpreter and knowledgeable boat person, Roxanna, and she lets me know the problem - a burnt out valve, the head will have to come off.
So that is tomorrow’s job, a day in overalls getting covered in oil and grime pulling the engine apart. Not to worry, we have been here before and I am pleased to note that my mental state is in much better shape then the last time we had to go through this ---- what? I find myself thinking. How do I describe what I went through the last time I had to pull the engine apart? I have no words … November 2002 …
All is well.
November 2002 - now where was I? (Mary?) Certainly nowhere near the sea, with the bottom end of South America not even an inkling in my thoughts; not, to be honest, that we Gatos think terribly far ahead, the imaginative mode after all is distinctly a human failing. But here we are, and, fortunately, I have no idea what the skipper is talking about, my job . . . Zzzzzzzzz.