Haul out in Las Palmas - 3 days of maintenance

Wed 1 Nov 2006 22:14
Prior to the start, Free Spirit needed to be hauled out for anti-fouling and some maintenance on the S-drive transmission.  I was a little concerned that we would not be able to get the work done in the 3 days I had allocated for the task if the yard did not honour their promise to lift the boat on the Tuesday morning of October 17th. As it turned out, Harvey was as good as his word and we had Free Spirit on the hard by 11.00 at the cost of a missed breakfast.  Celebrating in the traditional manner (would have been beer if we could find any) with James afterwards it suddenly struck me that they had not started the high pressure wash straight away leaving the barnacles and weed to dry out in the heat.  We rushed back to find that it was lunchtime in Spain and they were not going to start cleaning until about 1430 at the earliest.  Our remonstrations came to nothing but they graciously agreed that James and I could use the pressure hose in their absence....5 hours later we were covered from head to foot in blue anti-fouling, but the hull of Free Spirit was truly washed down and ready to paint. It was a good thing to do (for me at least) - a bit like washing a new car to get to know all of the nooks and crannies and the scratches etc.  We got to know the underside of the boat pretty well by the end of it. 
The workmen then got a coat of sealant on before sunset and we felt that good progress had been made.  Bretty joined us during dinner that evening and, having introduced him to the boat, we set off to explore the night life in Las Palmas.  There didn't appear to be any....so we settled for a few beers and a seemingly endless walk through grim and soul-less areas of the town.  Bretty did eventually prove to us that there is a red light district in every port but, apart from nearly managing to leave James in the grip of some very, very gruesome looking professionals, Las Palmas did nothing to generate the slightest entertainment and we retired to bed.
The ship's doctor has arrived on board! God save us from illness and injury....
More coats of paint, good progress with the S-drive maintenance, replacing the main halyard sheeve in the deck organiser (the one that caused so much angst in the Channel Islands) and fitting the lee cloth for the forward berth took up most of the Wednesday, including breakfast which we missed again.... However, by the end of the day, Free Spirit was looking pretty good as you can see below.
Clean boat, very dirty yard....
A beautifully maintained S-drive - the only real worker amongst us!
The wing keel - no wonder the dolphins love us so much
Bretty went for a run and discovered a whole section of beach-front bars and restaurants that are just around the headland facing North.  This was a revelation indeed and we had a pleasant evening on the sea-front. The last day was spent solving the marina breakfast problem - the solution is a crew secret to be revealed only after the start of the ARC. As a result of relaxing in the morning, we very nearly missed our slot to get Free Spirit back in the water before lunch.  It was extremely lucky that we managed to catch Harvey, pay our dues and get her back on the mooring because during lunch I discovered that I had mis-read our flight times and we had 2 hours less time than we thought to get to the airport.  Rushing to clean up and pack up (again!), we still managed to leave her is good shape, moored even further from the dock than the last time.
Many thanks are due to the one-eyed doctor and James for helping out on this trip...
The next journey out to Las Palmas is for the real thing...roll on the 20th November!  The preparations are very nearly complete and I cannot wait to get started.