As a result of the jobs on our house, the
boat was a bit neglected and we definitely had to do something about
that before we could leave for the Caribbean again. Maintenance doesn't
only include repairs but improvements as well. That is why we started a
glassfibre and resin project to make more re-inforcements behind the
When this job was done, the boat was lifted. After three years (the
drying out at Holsu last year not included).
There are not so many sailing yachts hauled out in Suriname (on Trinidad
it costs a third part of the price) and the experiences were not very promising:
our predecessor ripped the slings and two years earlier the travellift
ended up in the river... But after a thorough inspection of the slings
and the conclusion that there was some kind of rail to prevent from
early launching, we were quite sure that everything was okay. We had to
instruct to the travellift operator directly as the workers did not take
any responsibility. The boat looked rather shabby. Once on the hard, the
men became more decisive and within two hours they built a beautiful
cradle for Miep to sit in. This costed no less than 100 euros, but the
wood is ours now so we marked the parts for the next time.
Progress was moderate as we were the centre of attraction for
colleague-sailors and local fishermen. The yard is crowded by Guyanese
fishermen and they continuously admired our boat. During their lunch
breaks (i.e. all day) they pointed out her lines to each other: the
S-shaped hull with the deep keel and the V-shape from keel to rudder
with the streamlined skeg, they were totally in love.
Our jobs were also of
interest so the typical picture was: we were at work
while they rattled on.
job on the rudder (space in the upper bearing) took more time than
expected. First: where would you find a 84 mm wrench? (The one on
still way too small.) And then: try to unmount the parts. It
took JW three days in the crampy space underneath the cockpit and nobody
volunteers for a job like that in the blazing sunshine. But when the
rudder was eventually out, metalworkers came to measure the shaft. A
fitting sleeve was made and the rudder could be re-mounted soon enough.
We were also extremely occupied with our
new Head of Security, who could be a clone of Boris. He immediately
positioned himself underneath our boat and he also found out which car
was ours, thus showing how very much he wanted to come along with us...
But however much we'd like it, this is out of the question.
Last year on Tobago we already noticed that the trimrudder was a bit
loose. It appeared that the construction was beyond repair so we had to
glue ithe rudder to the keel with fiberglass and resin. Epoxy resin is
not available here so we had to strip the keel with a grinder, as
polyester resin doesn't stick to the epoxy coating on the boat.
Our speedometer was also broken, i.e. the transducer, which had to be
ordered from Holland. Unfortunately the supplier forgot to pack the
Sikaflex kit we ordered with it, so this was flown in at the last
moment. By special courier Dick Zuiderhoek, pilot with SLM and a sailor
as well, so he grasped the importance of a leakproof mounting.
We could not speak of replacement of the anodes as they were totally
gone. Furthermore we painted several layers of antifouling, because the
sandy water of the Surinam River acts like sanding paper.
Cosmetically Miep was pampered too. She was painted eight years ago and
the lacquerwork of the hull was quite worn out by the unnumerable times
we lifted the anchor (which inevitably hits the hull sometimes); upon
turning of the tide on the Surinam River the boat movements are so
unpredictable that damage from the mooring buoy is inevitable; we once
had a boat alongside when so many water scooters drove past that the
fenders between the two boats came out; etc. Last year in the Caribbean
several boatboys offered to paint the hull and we took this as a hint.
So the tramp's look is gone and the boat is all European bling-bling
again. And all
this without painting the whole boat (the ideal temperature for the kind
of paint we use is 17°C and where would we find that here?). Only a little bit of epoxy filler, some paint
and lots of polishing work by Karate-kid P.
We also had to make new mosquito nets,
sunshade cloths and dodgers but on the last moment our good old sewing
machine let us down! Luckily we found a sewing machine specialist in in
Paramaribo and it was really a pleasure to see this man work. He spotted the
problem in only a few seconds (P got a good scolding as he could tell how
the sewing machine sometimes was treated “with brute force” (“you should
never sew thick layers of sail cloth with this machine, dear!”) and within
an hour he revised the machine completely (12.50 eu). This is the advantage
of a developing country: they can repair anything, and in Europe we probably
would have been forced into buying a new sewing machine.
The sailors who left Europe in 2007 have arrived now. Among them is Henk, a
friend we met on La Gomera in 2005 (and JW knew him from long before as they
were colleagues at work). In 2005 Henk was a crew member, but now he arrived
with his own yacht. A very beautiful and fast boat, a former racer. We asked
Henk to bring us a few cans of red pepper, mussels and calamares, only
available in Spanish countries and a favorite dish with spaghetti. We
expected 5 cans of each (which seemed quite a burden to us), but Henk
surprised us with more than a hundred cans so we now have stock for years!
Departure from Suriname is scheduled for Monday 4th of