Projects / Maintenance – boat maintenance related news & photos by Cloudy Bay, Hallberg-Rassy 54 sailing yacht, cruising around the world. sailcloudybay.com
Thursday 17 May: An absolutely chaotic and exhausting day.
Alarm goes off at 7:30am so that we can get a hire car and go out for the day. But the discovery of the main sail clew issue yesterday is bothering Glen …. And it’s a long weekend coming up. Over breakfast, he suggests to find someone to do the sails today, take them off the boat and then while they are being repaired, that’s when we hire a car. So the day’s plan changes within 15 minutes of being up. It must be working for Schlumberger for 31 years that makes Glen rather dynamic like this!
With the new plan, we first set off in the dinghy to Antigua Rigging to see if Stan has the seal service kit for our backstay ram. But he doesn’t, so that will have to wait for another day. While at Stan’s, we ask about best sail loft to use. He suggests A&F Sails in Nelson’s Dockyard. He also suggests that we take the boat there into the marina, where they can remove the sails much easier. Today is very windy, so maybe best that we do go there, where its calmer.
So off we trot to Nelson’s Marina to see the sail loft and see where we can moor head to wind. Good news is that they can remove the sails today and we can also have a berth, and the price is not outrageous at $54 per night.
Back at Cloudy Bay we up anchor and motor out of Falmouth Bay, back out into the big swell which we have to motor directly into to get the short distance to the entrance of English Harbor. Within minutes, the bow is dipping the waves and everything is again covered in salt spray. After 15 minutes of motoring we come into a very tranquil English Harbor. No wonder the English Navy favored this spot. We moor side-to and trot off to the sail loft to tell them we are here. In the morning they said they could come remove the sails as soon as we arrive, but now we are here it will be after lunch that they will come. Oooph all the rush for nothing.
The day is red hot, absolutely sweltering, even with the gusty breeze. While we are in the marina we decide to also try to find some mechanical services to lift the generator and fix the leak in the exhaust manifold. 2 Skype calls later and its arranged. Someone will come as soon as they can.
Next job while we are waiting is to take the genoa halyard to A&A Rigging to have the top end fixed. The polyester sleeve is completely parted where it passes the top sheeve and guide. The rigger clearly is very professional. He says he can save the top spliced loops, cut back the polyester sleeve and splice in a new dynema sleeve that will not suffer any wear. It seems the polyester sleeve simply melts when rubbing under extreme tension. Whenever we hear the word dynema we see $-signs! But it has to be done.
At 1:30pm a gang of young lads turn up to take the sails off. The wind is very gusty but they seem confident that we can do it. In a lull, the genoa comes down without any trouble. Getting it off the boat and folded is quite another story. As usual, handling these huge heavy laminate sails takes a lot of man power.
Next is the mainsail. This is much more tricky because before you can drop it, the 6 vertical battens need to be removed. They range from 6m to 20m long! We unfurl slightly and get the first 2 out OK. But the next four come out in bits and pieces! Although they are long, they are made up of 6m length with joining pieces. Many of these joining pieces come apart and some battens are simply broken. In a slight panic to get the main sail down before the wind causes problems, they simply cut the sail and remove the pieces of batten. Not a pretty sight to see knives attacking the sail! Finally they are all out and the sail down. The wind was kind for a few minutes. And again a big job to get the sail off the boat and folded. And worse of all, the battens are in so many bits and pieces we really wonder if we’ll work out which bit went with which. Damn fully battens sails … we’ll never have them again!
While all this was going on, the mechanic turns up to fix the generator exhaust ….. perfect timing, NOT! Anyway, we send him below to the engine room and let him get on. He is a huge guy, not exactly made for tight work in a small engine room! Before we finish with the sails he has left again to get more tools from the workshop.
Once all the sail are gone, we breathe again. It’s soooo hot, we are exhausted. But we have to move Cloudy Bay to another place. Where we are, side-on, there will be a fishing competition so the marina wants us to move. Reluctantly, we slip the lines and moor stern-to with anchor out. First time we have done it this way since Greece. The boat next to us is Eros. A beautiful 100ft schooner build in Lowestoft in 1938. It’s having all the varnish redone. There are 4 men up the masts sanding them back to bare wood. What a job!
Finally moored, and our mechanic Mark returns with a large hydraulic jack. Once he is squeezed back in the engine room, the generator is soon lifted and chocked rather precariously with blocks of wood. He can now get at the exhaust silencer. One end is severely corroded. Why did HR even bother to make a silencer out of steel with all those exhaust gases mixed with sea water going through it. The Volvo silencer is glass-fiber, so why this stainless steel one for the generator? And why install is under the damned generator? Sometimes we thing the boats designers simply have a dark sense of humor knowing that someday owners will be cursing them!
With Mark gone, to weld the offending piece of metal, we can finally relax and eat. It’s 5pm and no food since 8am. We connect to shore power, turn on the AC and hibernate inside till we cool down a little. What a crazy day it’s been!
Once the sun has almost gone down, we go back to where the bits of battens were left and try to sort them out. It’s a bit of a puzzle to match them up, but Oana is brilliant at things like this. Before long she has all 6 of them lined up, ready to be put back together again. The ones that are broken we have some replacements for. At 6m long per piece, we keep them inside the boom. This is where we are glad Ellie had put good lines on them so that we can retrieve the spares from the end of the boom easily.
When it’s too dark to do any more, we retire back inside Cloudy Bay. We will finish the battens tomorrow. But before the luxury of a shower, we use de-rusting liquid to clean up the rust stains that were under the exhaust silencer. After 3 applications, 90% of the rust stains are gone and the compartment clean again.
After a day like this, a hot shower in the boat seems pure luxury. And tonight is no exception. We are both dirty, hot and sticky.
In the evening we relax and wonder what surprises tomorrow will bring. Hopefully it will be another productive day, but a bit calmer please!