Monday, May 18, 2015

Fixing the Stick

The boat on the right is the s/v CLV, which we have learned is short for C'est La Vie.  Cool.   In last weeks' post  this 10m boat had pulled into South Side Marina. with three Swedes and a busted  main halyard sheave  They had to pull the mast off the boat to fix it.   They asked Bob Pratt for help.

Bob Pratt is the guy in the blue and white shirt.  Bob owns South Side Marina and  although he'd never tried to pull a mast before, he figured out how to use the marina's crane to help these cruisers  fix their mast themselves. 



We had missed the excitement when they initally pulled the mast out.  But the descriptions we heard of it dangling, top heavy and suddenly free got our attention.  We heard tales of Emma leaping upon the base of the mast and clinging to it as a counterweight until Bob, Marten and Marcus could get it ashore and secured.   Emma is the one in the red ball cap, just on the other side of  Bob in the photo.    Anyhow we made sure that  we were there with cameras when they put the mast  back in.  There was nothing like the previous excitement with an overbalanced mast.  I think everyone must have learned something the first time around, because this time it went exceptionally smoothly, from where I sat.

And I had a ring side seat.


They timed the whole thing to happen at dead low tide, which gave them a vertically stable boat to work with for a half an hour.  It also  gave Bob maximum lift height with his fixed crane.   I noticed that the whole operation took just 35 minutes.  I bet some moments of that half hour seemed longer than others to the owners of the boat.   And the crane.

Here are the final moments of the scary part, lowering the mast into a moving boat and hoping no bozos zoom by  from the mouth of the canal throwing up a wake. Yes, we do have those kinds of bozos.  And a big wake right about here could be exceptionally annoying.  Imagine a slow sewing motion in which the needle stays still and the machine moves up and down.....



These photos reminded me of something I've neglected. I've mentioned that mangled propeller that you see in the foreground of those photos of the dock.  The five bladed, five digit alloy so new it still has the factory protective coating on it.  I remember telling you that I would find out what happened and report it here.  Well, I never did report it because it's complicated and I don't want to stick my oar into someone else's situation as a legal matter alone.  And it would be ungentlemanly and rude.    I will tell you some of it, though, to fulfill a promise. Just as soon as I've finished interrupting myself.

I  stuck a camera on our  boat and made a little time lapse video of the very first re-masting ever done in the history at South Side Marina.  Just so we could share the excitement with you.  




Hey, this is a sleepy tropical island, remember.  We have to find our excitement where we can.

Here's  the s/v CLV back in a normal slip tie up and looking like a sailboat again.  A local machinist at Caribbean Marine Diesel turned a new sheave for the boat.  This saved them from having to import parts, and saved days of waiting.


And by the next day, Emma was up the mast again, fine tuning the rigging and getting ready to depart the Americas.


On Sunday morning morning Emma, Marten and Marcus left on the rising tide, intending to sail from from here  directly to the Azores, possibly bypassing Bermuda, and then finally home to Sweden.    You can follow their blog if you'd like to see more .Here's a link to the s/v CLV blog about their trip.  They've been in the boat for quite a while, and still have quite a ways to go to get home to Stockholm.

Okay, see that nice boat docked on the other side of their little sloop?  This is the motor yacht Sea of Love.  It is to this boat that the mangled propeller belongs.  I have been told that there is another matching mangled propeller over at Turtle Cove that came from the other side of the same boat. The local story is that the boat hit the reef just east of West Caicos at about  25 knots.  The water there is only about four feet deep at low tide.  Shallow enough to stand upon.  The Sea of Love  is appropriately deeper than a shallow reef.  Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be as permanent.

Here is an image of that area, lifted from Google Earth.  We've been told that there are owners, crew, and insurance companies involved in this matter now,  and I'm betting that includes lawyers and so I'll just metaphorically zip my lip as to whatever we've heard about all of this.    What I can do is label some features in the area where this occurred.


Speaking of boat problems  (wasn't that slick?) here's the third tank now ready to re-install. It's sitting in the driveway at the moment waiting for me to finish some  work in the hull before putting the tank back in.  Once this thing is back in the boat I have no access to the hull around it, so I'm cleaning it for the first time in 30 years. I want you to know I spared you those photos.   I'm also in the process of figuring out what kind of water gauge device to put on the tanks.  The swing arm resistor type sensors that were in these tanks rotted completely away. I don't want to just replace those. I'm thinking that a sight glass type setup might be the way to go. Simple, and I can get parts at any  hardware or plumbing store.


I don't want to get too much into the boat DIY stuff here as I'm sure it bores a lot of people silly.  I will   show you a couple more photos of some of the other parts going back in after that tank gets reinstalled.  But no more boring drill press photos.  Ha, I didn't even use the drill press for this, anyway.

Remember the old teak grating that spent years at sea, then was washed up onto West Caicos for  more years, and then  was picked up by us and turned into a table?   Well, now it's going to be a grating in a shower on our boat.



I've  fiberglassed the shower tub, and when it's all done  this grating will be sitting inside it.


I've done several other projects this week.  Organizing storage on board has been a priority and a challenge.  I needed some shelves in my workshop for example.  No big deal to make some shelves.  But fitting things onto boats takes a lot more work than fitting things into houses.   Things in houses tend to have square corners.  I am finding that this is not the case in boats.  Boats have curves.  I can cut a rectangular shelf in five minutes on a table saw.  Cutting and attaching the mahogany fiddle rail took another fifteen minutes.  But making two of these fit into a spot inside a fiberglass hull took took the remainder of the day.    Cutting and sanding notches and adjustments by hand.


I could keep going  about the  boatwork part of the week  but it would be even more boring than the stainless tank and fiddle rail story, believe me..  Meeting the Swedes was pretty much the high point.  This boat stuff is drudgery work and would be a lot  better handled by a crew of Type A personalities I think.  I'm more the plod-along-at-a-steady-pace type, moving back and forth between a half dozen projects going on at the same time. I don't think I'm a Type B, either. Maybe more of an AB negative.
What I need to be is an orangutan with  carpentry, diesel mechanic, electronics, plumbing, and boatworking experience.

The up side of our drudgery work is that we do have a fairly comfy place to do it.


I was just looking at that photo of yet another sunset from our house and noticed something else I probably could mention to you here.  Because this is something that does affect us.   It would be difficult for you to pick out what I am referring to in that photo above because it's dark, but there are two new houses going up right in the middle of that sweep of road.   I walked out on the garage a few minutes ago to get a daylight image  of the same area so you can see what I mean.


The house on the left is blocked up through the second floor, and the one on the right is ready to have the first concrete poured for the footings and cistern. Suddenly after several years of drifting stagnation, the building industry here is showing definite signs of life.   These are the first two new house starts in this neighborhood in something like five years.   And it's not just single family homes that are being built.

The long stalled Cooper Jack Marina project  may be alive again, for those of you who know the area.  For those who don't, this is a nice marina that was laid out years ago and never completed. It is very close to South Side Marina.  And  we've also read that there is a big resort planned for the undeveloped beach between Cooper Jack and South Side.  I hate to milk Google for yet another image, but I wanted to show you how close all this is to us:


The South Side Marina arrow is actually pointing right at our boat. And I threw the "dredging" in there because for the past several weeks there have been dredge operations going on in that area.   They are sucking the sand up off the bottom and building beach with it.  It's going to increase the clearance depth for South Side, but it's also going to put a lot of additional activity into what has been a real quiet area.    Should be interesting to watch.

 We've been going through our piles of stuff, on this little hilltop out in the scruff, and we've been making some real heartbreaking decisions.  We've made lists of all kinds of goodies like tools, plates, chairs and old Texas hoodies ,  cross things off the list but then  put them right back with revisions.  Some  goes to  storage, and some on the boat, and we're chucking  or selling the  things that won't float,   emotional moments with junk  that we surely don't need.  We've only been in this house seven years but  seem to have goodies piled up past our ears and no real idea when we got all consumed by our greed.

Looking back at the last couple of  photos I  also see that I uploaded a sunset photo to end the blog and then walked all over it with news of the construction industry. How very tacky of me.   It did give me an idea for the next blog post, though.  I'll get the kite back up and get some aerial photos of the area before it gets hacked into something unrecognizable.   We can compare the eventual resort to what it looked like just a short time ago.

And finally, I'll shut up and just post another photo of the same sunset and this time I won't use it against you.


Honest.