Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Boatyard Bums

The neverending saga of the chainplates continues. They've been off the boat for a good three weeks and the machine shop(s) haven't duplicated one. It took several days for the boatyard to get them to a shop; eight days later the boatyard inquired (at my insistence) and discovered they had been misplaced and the shop hadn't even looked at them. A week later they concluded that the curved portion of the stem iron was beyond their capabilities - and so they didn't do anything. It took several more days for the boatyard to retrieve them and send them to another shop. They were supposed to have an estimate yesterday; now we're hoping for tomorrow. The cost estimate is almost irrelevant at this point, of course; with the boat torn apart for over a month and most everything else done, we just need the damn things done.

Despite the frustration of delays and ever-increasing costs, I'm starting to take a perverse liking to life as a boatyard bum. We have our routine of showing up 8-9am and leaving at 4am to get Piper his beach run. Every day I have a list of things to get done, and I usually get about 70% of the list done - though the last few days I've been unusually productive (or just unusually realistic in my goal-setting). We've come to know many of the boatyard workers and contractors, and they've all come to know us as the couple with the cute dog that keeps watch from the high prow of the green and white Tayana. We've picked up a lot of new skills and a good deal of advice from those who've been there and done that. We watch boats come and go and get worked on, and we've met many of their owners including several couples doing exactly what we're doing. One young Canadian couple, Dan and Isabella, showed up with a new Jeanneau 41 on a trailer to commission; they're currently transforming it from a production boat into a sleek cruising machine and then will be headed the same places as us. We took a nice field trip to their boat on the docks a few days ago and will likely do a happy hour aboard one of these days. It's nice just to see a boat in its intended environment instead of on jackstands high above a dusty yard!

Ideally, we'd be headed south to Florida just after the New Year. At this point that's pretty ambitious considering that work on the lightning-struck electronics hasn't even begun (other than what I've installed myself). We've put together a list of everything that needs to be done before we head down the coast, and it's a daunting one. We've essentially done everything we need to do on the boat in the yard and are just waiting for the chainplates right now, so we're launching into doing everything on that list that can be done on the hard. Not everything can be; for example, we want a diesel mechanic to go through the Yanmar thoroughly but there's little point doing so until the boat is in the water and the engine can be run. But annual servicing on the outboard can be done right now, as can shopping for and stowing a full compliment of systems spares. 

We did get a pretty major reminder that we're doing the right thing with this refit today. The riggers finished disassembling the staysail furler and discovered that the forestay had several broken strands near the mast-end, making it dramatically weaker. That's an area that's very seldom seen, just like the chainplates below deck level. It's unlikely we would have noticed it before it failed. Other things we're doing, like bead-blasting & repainting corroded areas of the mast, weld-reinforcing crack-prone corners of the spreaders, and replacing the gooseneck fitting are all being done in the hopes that this rig will be able to last another decade of cruising usage. Oh - on that note, I got a call from Doyle today that our new mainsail is done! It shipped today and we should have it by Friday.


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