“Life on the hard…is HARD!” But it takes a village!
Being in the boat yard is not a fun thing…ask any boater and they will agree! However, when you are around other fabulous sailors, it makes it easier and definitely more fun. We were next to SV Bonavellete (spelling may be wrong) a Swiss boat with brothers, Alex and David. Across the way was SV Me Too (you should know them by now) and SV All Day (Vlad and Nicole). For our week and a half we all shared tools, knowledge, space, and BEER! Dinners together and voices of encouragement went along way for all of us and we can’t express how lucky we were to be around these grand people.
Haul out- it is alway so unnatural for the boat to be out of the water but each time is a different experience. Vuda Point marina’s yard had to change out the “slings” to 4 straps rather than just 2 straps to accommodate the weight of our boat. Our bottom is slightly slanted up front and our shaft is very close to our rudder so there is a very specific place where these straps must go on our boat to not cause any damage. Timo, the yard manager, had to jump into the water to literally tie the strap together so they could hold us properly. It was both impressive and nerve racking as we have to fully trust everyone that they know what they are doing. Timo knows what he is doing..no doubt! Thank you Timo : )
Bottom paint – Well we originally planned to raise our water line, meaning take away the boot stripe and paint it with antifouling paint….but we decided to paint the whole bottom. New Zealand has some pretty strict rules about bringing in foreign critters on visiting yachts so we needed to “prove” we took care of the bottom to be able to enter into the country/specific marinas. It took a few days for them to tape, sand, and between the weekend and holidays (Fiji Day) work started slow. We finally got a few more workers on the job BUT…..the half the boat was in one shade of blue and they started to paint the other half a different shade of blue! The can said it was the right paint but we had to wait for the right shade..I know picky me…it underwater anyways right?…I still wanted the bottom of the boat to be all the same color.
Toe rail- Back when we purchased the boat in Ventura CA., we got a quote to take off the varnish on the toe rail. We wanted to do this because varnish, though it protects the teak wood and keeps it beautiful, it is a lot of maintenance and Trevor and I figured we should remove it and let it go “gray” (means after removing the varnish, let the salt water take the wood color to gray and leave it that way, low maintenance). The quote we got was over $4,000…so we decided not to get it done. In Mexico we thought we might see if we could do it ourselves… someone said “let nature runs it course and take the varnish off for you?!”…good idea! Well there were places where water would intrude into the varnish and it looked like some of the wood was beginning to rot…not good. So we decided to do it here, in Fiji.
Auto Pilot hydraulic rams – Our auto pilot hydraulic rams were leaking hydraulic fluid…yes underneath our bed. Trevor cleaned it up and disassembled the 2 rams to take into repair. Basically our auto pilot is like our 3rd crew member and without it we would be forced to hand steer…something we don’t want to do on long passages. The end result was good….we needed new seals…an O ring type, not the other end which would of had to be ordered from outside the country. We got lucky. So Trevor reinstalled the rams, filled with the fluid, but then we had to purge the system of air bubbles which takes time spinning the steering wheel at the helm and adjusting the pressure at the pump, while bleeding the lines of air until you get solid fluid…then add more fluid to the right pressure. We did this for hours and we had to make sure our rudder would have equal turns port and starboard. The steering is a little loose in my opinion but it seems to be working without leaking.
Anchor chain- It was time to repaint our anchor chain in denominations to where we can tell how much chain/scope we have when we anchor out. Briley was looking for something to do…oddly enough I guess her list was accomplished early..so we paid her to paint our chain…why not….
Windturbine- no photos here but in short…we re-installed a new wind turbine to help us generate power while at anchor back in American Samoa (back in August). Well the bloody thing wouldn’t work: the brake would constantly stop the turbine from spinning, hence no power generation. So Trevor had to troubleshoot why… up the mizzen mast, pull it down, re-wire, take off the swivel, rewire it……guess what it was….the darn fuse blew!
Polished all the stainless steel – doesn’t sound bad right? Well you apply this goop (technical I know) and rub it in, then let it dry, then rub it again to make it shine. There was use of a metal brush to get all the rust stains…not all the rust my god that would take a lifetime…but most of it. It takes more time than you think.
Dinghy – “Diana”, we call her, was rated for a 15 hp outboard…which we have….but there were cracks forming inside and out that would make the dinghy flex when we went fast. When we pulled her out of the water, and after a major scrub, Trevor decided to fiberglass the bottom to make it stronger. We called West Marine, where we purchased it as it would still be under warranty, but after getting passed around to different departments…we still don’t know if we will be refunded or if nothing will happen. There is definitely water intrusion inside and we tried to drain and suck it out but no such luck. After the fiberglass dried, was sanded, we painted it white with an anti fouling paint to hopefully keep her a bit less “green”.
Generator- On our passage to Fiji, we were making water with our Northern Lights 9kw generator that we bought brand new in San Diego a year and a half ago, and we hear a pop! The generator stopped producing power. The engine would run but somewhere there was an electrical connection/part that was not functioning correctly. We thankfully borrowed SV Me Too’s portable generator that is powerful enough for us to both charge batteries and run our water maker. This was our first priority to get fixed and looked at when we arrived at Vuda Point! Long story short…it is still un-operational…we have been through 2 electrical engineers, 1 yard manager, Geoff, who kindly didn’t charge us for his 3 hours he spent diagnosing the issue and calling Northern Lights himself to get a another wiring diagram from them, and 1 hour phone time with the Northern Lights representative on speaker as we tested certain connections with our meter. The end story is that we are going to wait until we get to New Zealand to fix this rather than the possibility of getting “stuck” here in Fiji. We will be borrowing SV Me Too’s portable generator until we head out for our passage to New Zealand…then we will have to figure things out pretty quickly…..Auckland here we come?
Splashing- after 12 days at the yard we were finally going back into the water..thank goodness. We took a berth at the marina for a night to rest up and clean the inside of the boat. We then did a few more errands which included purchasing 2 more flexible 100 watt solar panels we can connect to while at anchor (we will stow them while under way as we don’t have a way, yet, to attach them to the boat) to help with creating power. We also purchased a 220 volt power converter and extension cord which we hope works in case we need to “plug in” at a dock in New Zealand…again, no more American 110 volts anywhere until we get back to the states or Mexico.
Many thanks to all the help we received while being on the hard…..it’s HOT, dusty, even muddy and dirty at the yard. Everything is covered with sweat, dirt, or any other substance you were working with. You can’t find anything on your boat besides the TP…..which you seldom use because you can’t pump out your holding tanks for obvious reasons….alternative is to climb the 10 foot ladder tied onto the side of your boat to go pee. I think it is safe to say, we are happy to be back in the water and to say goodbye to this environment below!
Next up…Musket Cove….trying to see at least one more place before we leave Fiji.