Thursday, April 23, 2020

More about boat projects and cats

And two and a half weeks later we are still in Lanzarote, and not much has changed. We're still in a severe lock-down and despite lots of talk of softening some of the rules or even getting them lifted, nothing happened so far. The lock-down has been prolonged till 10th of May. We'll see when we will be able to go for a walk, a swim, or even sail between the islands.

We were constantly checking on our cat family - this is mom, very friendly and talkative.
She moved the babies from an older bigger sailboat to a car on the carpark, where they all lived under the hood of a car. Babies are sooooo cute. Half of the marina was feeding them and bringing them water.
There's four of them, apparently the fifth fell in the water and drowned when mama was moving them. Poor baby. As the babies were growing, they moved to a bigger car. Logical.
This one was particularly brave and active...
...and probably the cutest.
This is the last photo I have of all four of them, because couple of days ago the people from animal shelter started to catch them. They were afraid that when the cars start moving again, babies would be in danger.

Next days there were only three left.
They caught them in next two days. They were all vaccinated and mama was also brought to the vet and got a surgery, so now she can't have babies any more. A couple from Argentina is going to adopt her, and a couple from Swiss adopted one of the babies. So these two are going to live on boats. And the shelter is going to find families for other three babies. The sad thing is that mama cat is missing her babies so much, she is constantly looking around the cars and calling them. Heartbreaking.

While our days still mostly revolve around food, we're still working on boat projects. One of them was to waterproof the sprayhood. Surprisingly we had some rain a week ago and we saw it was leaking.
On one of the days, can't remember which one, it all feels like Groundhog day anyway, Captain climbed on the mast to check on things. There was nothing specific to do, but it was a good exercise.
And opportunity to make some photos from up there.
Then we started a big project of replacing a hatch. The old hatch was leaking quite a bit, which wasn't surprising since it has been bent and didn't lay on its frame flat and tight. Probably at some time or other a line came between the hatch lid and the frame, even before we got the boat, because I remember it was always leaking.

This is a new hatch we bought already before we left Monfalcone last June. See how Captain is still smiling at this time.
Next step was to remove the old hatch. We worked with carpet knives...

...spatulas and wooden pegs and finally managed to separate the old frame from the deck.

We naively thought that all we need to do after this is a bit of cleaning of the deck around the hole and then we could glue the new hatch into its place. Well... Once we put the new hatch into the hole for the test we realised it's too small. One centimetre on each side. It was a big shock. Obviously we made a mistake when ordering it. We were both frustrated and angry. So, what do we do now? First we needed to close the hole in the deck, because the forecast for next day was rain. Lots of rain. Here, in Lanzarote, where it almost never rains. So we put a big piece of insulation, like the one we used in our fridge, on top of the hole and over it we tied an even bigger piece of tarp, Sunbrella actually. This is how it looked from below.
Then we decided to clean the old hatch and try to repair it. It is a looooot of work, over the years we tried to stop the hatch from leaking with silver tape, which we now had to remove. Even with the blow drier (to heat the glue of silver tape), tweezers and lots of patience, the progress was very slow.
Next day the rain came. It was much more than we ever saw here. The covering for a hole in the deck we made a day before worked well, but the sprayhood was still leaking. It will need another coat of water proofing liquid.
Captain went to bathroom without umbrella and came back completely wet. I guess the nature was grateful for all the rain, people maybe not so much - the streets of Arrecife got flooded and some cars got stuck in the water.
Sprayhood wasn't the only thing in the boat that was leaking. One more hatch in saloon will need to be repaired as well, and the big panoramic window that we were re-sealing in Autumn while we were in marina Rubicon, is also leaking again. On boat you just never run out of work.

It took us few more days to clean the old hatch, disassemble it...
...straighten the bent parts without breaking them...
...replace the seal and put everything back together. Just to put hinges back together took couple of hours. And then today was the big day - we put hatch into the deck for test and everything looked good and aligned and level.
Then we put some SikaFlex on the frame...
...and put the whole thing into its place and screw it down.
It looks good...
...everything nicely aligned and the seal sits nicely and even on the frame. It never looked this good. Hope the water will stay out and then we'll be very happy.
Next hatch will surely take much less time and by the time we finish it, we'll be experts.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Boat projects

Let me start with good news - authorities here in Canaries think the peak of pandemics here have been reached already a couple of days ago, the numbers of infected and dead are sinking. While state of emergency is likely to be prolonged until 26th of April, it is possible that also non-essential businesses will start opening on 9th of April. I hope it will work and more and more restrictions will be lifted in April.

We're ok and got somehow used to this situation and established new routine. It revolves a lot around food - going out for shopping, planning meals, cooking and eating. We will definitely not get skinnier during this pandemics.

Occasionally we manage to also get some boat project done. Here are a few that we remembered to take some photos of.

Since last year we have new solent sail on solent stay - it is a smaller sail between mast and genoa stay. In lighter wind we often sail with both front sails, but we only had one set of winches for genoa sheets (škote), so we always improvised where to put solent sail sheets. We bought two new winches already a year ago, and we installed first last August in Sardinia - you can find the post here. Now we finally got to install the second winch. The procedure was much the same as for the last one - first Captain drilled some holes in the deck beside the big genoa winch. The holes were bigger than needed, because the soft balsa core, that is sandwiched between fiberglass layers, need to be scraped out, and holes then need to be filled with epoxy resin, that seals the balsa core. When it's dry, usually the next day, the smaller, right-sized holes are drilled into epoxy. This way the water, even if it gets into holes, doesn't get into balsa core.
After that, we disassembled the winch, greased it, installed the base - after applying lots of SikaFlex under the base - and assembled the winch back together. This is how it looks now.
And this is the one we made first, last August in Sardinia. They are not symmetrical, the winch handle has limited work space, but it's fine.
Next bigger project was the sealing off of the mast. Our mast is keel-stepped, which means it is going through the deck and through the saloon down to the keel, where it's attached. This makes boat more stable, but it is almost impossible to prevent some water to drip down along the mast and get into the boat when it rains or if the sea gets over the deck. While the boat moves, the mast and deck move as well, not necessarily synchronised. We try to disassemble both collars around the mast base on the deck, but we only managed to lift the upper one for couple of inches, and even for that we had to remove all the lines and blocks that were installed around the mast base. We cleaned everything and scraped away as much of old sealants as possible (there were several layers of different kinds), and then put lots of sealant everywhere and let it dry.
After putting all the blocks back we tied them so they didn't disturb the sealant while it was drying. We put lost of sealant around the base of the blocks as well.
From below, on the ceiling in the saloon, we put some more sealant...
...and tucked away all the wires.
Next day, after the sealant was dry, we made the "wet test" - since rain is very rare here and we wanted to know right away, we used the water hose to pour lots of water around the collars at the base of the mast. And it stayed dry inside! So the covering panels were installed as well, and now it all looks pretty again, as it should.
Then we needed to reconnect all the lines through the blocks... it is again functional. How well we sealed the mast off will be seen in next months and years, when we're sailing and boat is moving and either rain or sea is washing over the collars. I'm a bit sceptical, for how long it will manage to stay completely dry inside, but we hope it will be better than it was now, for quite some time. And then we'll need to do it all over again.
Besides eating Captain is mostly spending his time on internet and I'm reading. Mostly e-books on my phone.
Next project was cleaning of the speed log. It is installed in front of the keel and it's measuring the boat speed over the water - it contains a small paddle wheel that rotates when the boat is moving over the water. Since it is in the water, it gets overgrown with algae and barnacles and especially after longer period of being in marina or at anchor, it often doesn't work. While GPS devices gives more accurate speed of movement, the water speed log can give us very useful information of the speed of current if it is compared with GPS speed. To clean the speed log one must remove it from the hull and clean it with some acid. It is no big deal if the boat is on the hard, outside the water, but if it's in the water, one has to be very fast and after removing the log one needs to quickly plug the hole, before too much sea water gets into the boat.
Our speed log is in our front cabin. We raised original flooring for 12cm, so we got space for all the tools Captain needs. After taking the log out there was a geyser of sea water that made more of the flooring and the tools wet then was planned. Oh, well...
This is how log looked before...
...and after cleaning in acid.
A small crab came into the boat with the log, but we managed to catch it and released it into the sea.
Because of the sea water got all over the place, Captain removed all the tools, we washed all the floorboards and removed any salt, then let it dry. Captain cleaned and greased all the tools before putting them back.
Occasionally we also get a nice sunset.
There are lots of cats here on Lanzarote and in marina we met this cute little cat. It is very friendly and was begging for food. When I realised its breasts are full of milk, it became an emergency and we had to feed her. First day, last Sunday, we gave her half of can of sardines with some bread and she loved it.
Next day Captain bought a big bag of cat cookies and we fed her that. I couldn't believe how much she could eat! We also brought her some water, but she wasn't interested.
I named her Juliette, since we met her near pontoon J and J in sailor alphabet is Juliette. After couple of days we saw that lots of people are feeding her, which is good. We also noticed she was often climbing into a bigger wooden sailboat on next pontoon, so I suspected that's where her babies were. And today we got to see her kittens - she brought them to the parking lot and hid them into the engine room of a car that's next to the van in which the surfer dude lives that's giving her the most of the food. I only saw one kitten, for a short while before it disappeared  back into the engine room, but the surfer dude told me there are four. So she brought them closer to the food source and to the person she trusts the most. Nice. Nevertheless, we'll still bring her food from time to time.

Next project we did was the insulating of our water heater. It can be heated when we are on shore power, then it works just like any electrical water heater at home, or when the boat engine is running - by the heat of the engine. Heater is located under the beds and between two back cabins behind the engine.
It is the shiny metal box down there.
In fact it is round, but packed into the square box and the space between the two is filled with insulation. 
But it is not insulated very well - as the thermal camera shows, it was pretty warm on the outside of the insulation. That means water cools down faster and we need to heat it more often, if we want hot water for showering or washing the dishes, and the back cabins get warmer, which can be annoying in the summer. 
So Captain decided to put some layers of additional insulation around the heater. First we glued it on the back...
...then the sides...
...and on the top.
Front required more work, since there's lots of hoses attached to the heater there.
But we managed that too. It might not get the best marks for aesthetics...
...but on thermal camera it shows that the temperature on the outside of the insulation is pretty much the same as that of the surrounding air.
After all this work it was time for gin&tonic (with Menorcan gin, lemon and cucumber)...
...and a beer. This is as close to summer vacations as we can get at the moment.