The boat spic & span & all shiny again


What we did not tell everybody yet, is that our boat had an accident in March, while she was moored in the Surinam River. Hit by an other sailing yacht which drifted from its mooring (not properly secured). The other boat ended up in the steel cable of our mooring and as the river was rather choppy, the cable was damaged. Other sailors tied this boat alongside ours and put some fenders, but in the meantime our portside was severely damaged. When the tide turned, the waves got higher and the mooring cable broke. The boats drifted with the two of them to a steel pontoon on the lee shore, scratching the starboardside over the whole length. Subsequently the boats ended up against some poles and we got a phone call. Within 5 minutes we were there and started the engine so we could secure the boats safely.
The result: paint damage on one side 100%, on the other side 60%. and Stanchions were bent and damaged, etc etc. The insurance company thought it wise to send an expert, but as Surinam has no yachting industry, he had to fly in from Grenada (Caribbean). The damage to our boat was estimated on €13.500,00.

The insurance company suggested we go to Trinidad for a quotation for the repairs, send it to the expert in Grenada, then to the insurance company and wait for approval and especially: the money. Knowing how things work in Trinidad and with insurance companies, we were sure that this would cost us two or three months of waiting. So we proposed they payed us the estimated amount and that is what they did. Smart for themselves as the cost estimate did not include possible additional costs. But particularly interesting for us, because we can deliver a good job ourselves and what is wrong with doing a bit of hard work?

So the boat was lifted in Surinam and we could do many additional things. For instance a new propeller, because the propeller we bought after we lost our Maxprop caused cavitation and vibrations in “old seas”. Anyway the new propellor is already widely-travelled as it arrived from Denmark via Malmö, Cologne, Philadelphia and Louisville in the offices of the Surinamese customs, and it took a lot of paperwork and keep smiling to get it out of their hands without paying bribes.

We ordered paint in Holland (customs again, other guys but of course the same red tape). Our familiar Doublecoat, an excellent Dutch two components paint. Preferably to be processed in 19°C, so a slight problem here in the tropics. But we have 20 years of experience in boat painting and the manufacturer advised us about the use of a decelerator, so no problem. We applied the paint early morning when temperatures are only 26°C and before the typical dry-season sunrise flies arrive. They ended up in the wet paint leaving deep tracks! Irregularities were polished with a machine which we bought especially for the job. To lift this machine hour after hour pressing it against the hull requires muscles, and our friend Marius (65) enjoyed supplying them. and We also got lots of support from the Venezolan fishermen who caulk their boats here. But JW suspected that they were not so much interested in our boat, but more in P's legs.
After all the name was affixed neatly again as computer-controlled foil cutting exists even in Surinam since a couple of years,  so the boat is now spic & span & all shiny again.

Since we don't have any ambition anymore to do a circumnavigation and the boat no longer has to serve as a moving van, she could be restored in her original state. This means that the doghouse is still there but the chest on the cabin roof no longer exists. And to provide more living and sleeping comfort in the tropics, we mounted various ventilation hatches plus a fan above our bed.

The ever leaking forehatch was provided with a new seal. The teak on the cabin roof had come loose on it's own but is fixed again, the chimney is obsolete in these areas and the gas bun was adapted to the size of the American/Caribbean gascylinder. All these renovations resulted in an overall paint job of the deck, and while busy we also set ourselves to work on the interior. All bulkheads, doors and cupboards freshly painted. We even did not forget the dinghy: a new cover again. Not to make it look beautiful but it is necessary as our dinghy is a Zodiac and those are made from pvc, which is not UV-resistant. Next time a hypalon dinghy.

The problems with the rudder seem to be solved finally. Earlier solutions of sleeves around bearings did not help as the rudder kept showing toreance, but JW discovered that the rudder shaft had come loose in the PU-foam filled blade. This shaft is fixed by two strips welded on the shaft. But wear and tear and probably the changes we made to the rudder took their toll and now the strips had come off. We made them bigger and stronger , filled the rudder blade with glassfiber and resin, laminated it with fiberglass and topped it with epoxy tar.
We bought a bench-vise to straighten the stanchions and after some polishing the guardrail looks neat again. Marius enjoyed himself not only on the hull above the waterline but also below, so it is nice and slick and painted with two thick layers of antifouling. Finally we added a silver waterline. According to the travellift operator the boat didn't want to leave the hard anymore, as he had to help us overcome some engine problems when the boat was already in the slings.

Coincidence? In Holland we ordered a new furling genoa, but the lufftape was 1 mm too wide. Not the sailmaker's mistake, as they used specifications provided by Furlex (the furling system). But their service extended so far that they sent us a new lufftape including doublesided tape and even thread, so we could have it adapted in Surinam. Of course they didn't know there are no sailmakers in Surinam. However... Two weeks before our departure a French sailor arrived in Domburg, who appeared to be a sailmaker AND he carried an industrial sewing machine on board. He replaced the lufftape for €50. Unpicking fifteen meters of lufftape in the simmering heat and sewing it on again in his cabin, a hell of a job. The sail is 38 square meters, so he worked in a cloud of sail fabric. But he did an excellent job and now we can sail to Trinidad with our new furling genoa instead of messing about with non-reefable sails.

So the boat is ready to sail. And we are also ready for it. After a trial with Viviane and the new genoa to Braamspunt beach, we'll leave Surinam by mid-October. First we'll go to Tobago and Trinidad in anticipation of the end of the hurricane season, as our insurance company doesn't permit us to go above 13°N before the end of the month. Next we'll head north to Martinique, Dominica and the SSS-islands. And in March/April 2010 back home. To Suriname.


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