Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Yard work

Hi Everyone,
Its been awhile since my last post as I have been working quite hard fixing GL. Apart from identifying that I was right about the coach screw, it was obviously put in because the through bolt had snapped, so its spent some time sort of holding things together until it rusted away. What has been taking all my time has been the upper and lower stempost scarf joint. This starts just below the Bob Stay fitting and has always been a proplem to keep filler in. And as this filler was washed out on last years attempt to bring GL home with the resulting water rushing into the boat, this was another leak identified on the recent sea trial. The shpwrights here know their stuff so I sought their advice on what was wrong and more important, how to cure this problem. The stem post was concidered suspect and has become the first structual problem I have had since owning GL. Under pressure whilst sailing, the top part of the stem has been flexing with the jib forces on the bob stay fitting. It's been scary work, as I have been sawing the bow off! Morgan is the chief shipright here and pops round saying things like, "if it was my boat I would like to see this part" then he disappears, I then pick up the saw and hammer chisels etc. and spend 2 days chopping a bit more wood out! I kept doing this because I nor Morgan could understand what we were seeing as I went deeper into the scarf. Eventually I had to release 3 plank ends each side, to enable deeper cuts into the stem until I finally reached the first frame rebates. It still wasn't obvious what was wrong, so inside I removed the Iron floor! Low and behold, underneath this the stem post coming from deck level was broken across a knot in the oak, I could see the branch going from port to starboard, both frame ends had split off with it, and it has been like that we estimated, for about the last 50 years!!! and this was a build defect, this piece of oak should have been rejected during build. I now had no bow left, just a huge hole with a great heap of oak wood chips lying on the floor underneath. I formulated a plan for repairing it, consulting Morgan all the time to confirm that stuctually it would be stronger than brand new when completed, (as long as I did it properly). I have now begun using west epoxy, glueing screwing and bolting new oak piece's onto the two ends of the stem post, its been a long process for me, I have basicaly been carving the wood into the right shapes required, and its taken a lot of trials fitting and removing the pieces until they fit. I'm still not finished yet, but the big hole is now a lot smaller, inside the frames are glued back into the new stem and screwed in place with the modified iron floor bolted back in position, a new block of wood now holding the frame ends bolted and glued as well to the stem.
I have now of course lost any chance of traveling north or back to the UK this season, having had 2 mini hurricanes already, Bret and Cindy. And I have no plans as yet on what happens next but will post again soon. I have no internet here so can not show the photos of the work so far.
More later

Friday, July 8, 2011

Carnival & Boatyard

Hi everyone,
If you can not beat them, join them!, so the carnival started in Cruz Bay St John on Monday. I arranged with Erin and company to go and see for myself, as I had a lot of info from everyone here about how amazing it is. It starts July 4th US indipendance day, and its a parade of local people, some advertizing clubs, business's, bars, resturants, rock groups and life syles, and boy the effort put into it by the people is quite something else. Some of the live music bands had mobile sound systems, so powerfull it was deafaning. The parade started at 12 noon and was still passing us at 1700hs! The costumes were fantastic too, a lot of time went into making them and choreographing their dance routines, for such a small Island it was all truly impressive, as, it was done the American way, with a Caribbean twist. About halfway round the capital near the beach and ferry dock they have a judge's stand, and all are judged, they make a special effort during this, with the winners receiving prize's. It all culminates at 2100hrs with a firework display, I can only say you have to be there to appriciate what a good time everyone enjoyed.
Tuesday saw a lovely dawn sunrise with a promise of light winds and no rain for a change, perfect to shoot over too St Thomas and Benner Bay boatyard. I made the appointment and left about 1145hrs, arriving there at approx 1530hrs, After running aground 3 times (its very shallow water all over, but only a sandy muddy bottom), I anchored in 2.8 feet of water (I am aground at 2.4 feet below transducer) opposite the marina to wait till Thursday, my allotted haul out day. So yesterday I was lifted out at about 0830hrs and GL is now ashore were I have already started work.
My Position is: 18,19.28N 064,51.97W I have already met quite a few boat people, they all seem to really like GL, one guy said "thank you for bringing her here so I could see her!" his name is Chris, and he donated 3 x 8" new bronze fastenings for my up coming repair!
Will let you all know how I get on. Oh the weather, it started heavy raining again at about 0500hrs this morning, and at Local Time: 08. July 2011 09:50 it hasn't stopped yet!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Repair issues

Hi all,
I've been sorting the frame Fred was mounted on, also sourcing someone who deals in stainless, an engineer was found 'Stephan' a German guy who twigged what went wrong as quick as myself. He has a workshop and the stock, and so when i've got the frame back on GL we will design and fit new supports for the auxillary rudder. The leak that re-appeared has been investigated again, this time I noticed a coach screw each side that should be through bolted. This I will sort out in the Indipendant Boatyard in Banner Bay St. Thomas. I carn't go yet cos its carnival time again, nothing will happen till after Wednesday this week. The weather that hit me is described as a weak tropical wave, we have had high winds and torrential rain here every day since my return. Friday I prepared the boat for a sea trial, a hard one as there was plenty of wind, I recruited 3 experianced local sailors for this job, Colin, Josh and Sean. We went out to trash GL, so I spent the previous 2 days stowing everything away, and tying down the rest, then we left. We went out into deep ocean wind, water and swell, and pushed GL to the limit, this was to indentify just were and how bad the leaks really are. It turned out into an amazing sail, its the hardest I've ever pushed GL, and she loved every minute of it, we delibrately went were the swell and wind was strongest, (a lot of rebound swell) which is off Rams Head St John, and were out approx 2 hours. All leaks identified, the starboard side garboard in way of the mast step being the scariest, so much water coming in it was too much for the 2 electric bilge pumps, so I had to use the engine driven bilge pump as well, only loss was a rope which flew off the deck, and 1/4 ltr of parrafin from my stock.
We then went ashore for a beer, and me a good think about how I will fix it this week. The harbour then got hit by a squall with at least 55knts of wind and horizontal rain, well it felt like a tap running rather than rain, everyone got soaked, inside and out! good job we were back on the mooring!