Renovating our daysailer


Most of you know that we spent May in Holland. Upon arrival we were overwhelmed  by loads of dazzling blossoms on the trees, the beautiful cool sunlight, the magnificent restored buildings in the cities (in Holland lots of things have changed for the better after our departure – except the traffic queues and the quality of television), all our friends who welcomed us heartwarmingly; and by the terrible cold.  Because after two days temperatures dropped suddenly to <10°C, with rain and strong winds, it was vicious wintry and no fun at all for tropical birds like us.
Luckily we had lots of activities, with as a highlight a four days spinaker race, traditionally organized by the class in which we used to compete with Witte Raaf; and to which we were invited by our friend Miel. We were not only invited to his boat, but he also lent us his luxury apartment, a cell phone and a car including a navigation system. In return we sailed with Miel during those four cold but beautiful sailing days into second place overall (3-2-1-2), and he is now working on a trophee-cabinet for us to top up may be next year already.

Shopping in Holland was no pleasure: too much choice. The extravagant lyfestyle pushed forward by some of those large supermarkets is not really our cup of tea (anymore) and we certainly don't fancy wines by the name of Fat Bastard, of Arrogant.

Of course we did a lot of shopping anyway, as in Suriname you can find lots of stuff, but not everything we need. So we shipped two huge carton boxes, mainly filled with glassfiber and epoxy (for the Vrijheid), and books. Since we had to wait for the boxes to arrive we could not start the renovation immediately, which gave us time to become acclimatized and able to resist the Surinamese tropical heat after our wintery experiences in Holland. In anticipation of their sterilisation the cats were not allowed to go outside, complicating our acclimatizing: all doors and windows were closed for two weeks, because that's how long their recovery took. Should there have been a royal hat's competion at that time, our pussies would have been dangerous rivals to Queen Beatrix.

When the carton boxes had arrived after three weeks
, we could start the glass-epoxy job on the Vrijheid. First the hull, so the boat had to be turned upside down. According to the technical drawings the hull should weigh 185 kg, but five strong men were needed to turn her around. Surinam is a wood-country: the traditional houses are constructed in wood so people grow up with wood, think in wood and trade wood. We could not weigh our Sabaku but if Wensly says that the hull weighs around 250 kg, we don't doubt this. Furthermore the hull was already covered in one layer of glass-epoxy, and obviously this adds.
So one Sunday we collected all the strong men and with Wensly as their leader the job took only a moment.

Then the actual work could start. In fact it was mainly JW who worked, as P was quite immobile after again a cortisone injection because of her nagging heelspur - which matched fine with Wimbledon.
The rather uneven bottom of the Vrijheid was sanded and evened out with epoxy filler, and together we covered the hull with glassfiber (280 and 160 g/m2) and epoxy. Next step was the primer. Only available in 5 liter cans, it seemed a bit much for such a small boat but in the end we used it all, as it seemed practical to start with the application of two layers, sand thoroughly and remove remaining irregularities with epoxy filler before applying a final layer of primer. This was followed by four layers of coating and four weeks later the boat could be turned again and moved and our strong friends helped us again. In the meantime JW had removed a piece of brick wall from the terrace so we now have a covered boat yard at home. Very practical in the wet season.

The cats had their own soccer world championships with bats, frogs and cockroaches. Biggest fun is when the “ball” stays alive as long as possible, so the cockroaches remain their favourite. P also prefers them, as every morning she's the one who cleans up the remains of the nightly hunt; and reptiles cut in two pieces result in dirty slimetracks on our polished wooden floor, much more revolting than some wings, legs or feelers sprinkled around. But our home is completely cleaned up so the cats do a good job.

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