Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Refitting Crystal Blues - Island Style

Painting The Mast
With Crystal Blues out of the water we've launched into our refit list, attacking a range of maintenance and re-finishing tasks.

Areas of corrosion had developed on the painted aluminium mast, particularly where the spinnaker pole track was fastened. So we removed the track, drilling out 130 pop rivets in the process, before grinding, sanding and re-priming the metal surfaces with epoxy paints.

Then we faired and finished the front of the mast with high build epoxies and finally applied two coats of Awlgrip polyurethane topcoat by brush. Using the Awlgrip brushing converter and brushing reducer we can achieve a good film thickness and a great finish.

Most of this work was done from a bosuns chair, swinging in the breeze, so it has taken some considerable time. It takes just over 100 turns of the halyard winch handle for Ley to hoist me up to the top of the work area, and she's done that probably 30 times over the course of this little project. Tough work, but someone had to do it!

Sand Blasting With Basic Protective Clothing
Sand Blasted Area Before Priming With Epoxy
The illegal fishing net that trapped us off the coast of Suriname (read that story here & here) did quite a lot of damage underwater - bare wire twists on the top line of the net dragged down the hull gouging the paint system badly.  In a couple of places we it went back to bare metal, so we needed to properly prepare and re-finish those patches.

We purchased a bucket of "black beauty" blasting grit from a local ship yard and used our small sand blasting gun with a rented air compressor to prepare the damaged areas. After blasting we quickly applied the first coat of Jotun Jotamastic 87 (silver), the highest solids steel primer that Jotun manufacture. The repairs were finished off with four more coats of Jotamastic plus Jotun Penguard HB, a high build epoxy primer.

While the work list is still quite long, we do have time for some R&R here on the island.  Regular cruiser BBQ's are held each Thursday night in the boatyard, and on Friday evenings the resident musicians come out to play - usually between six and ten of us working on a range of songs from blues to rock, some new and some golden oldies of course.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Trinidad Boating Services

Here in Trinidad the locals are proud of their boating support services, though nearby Grenada has stolen a lot of the work in recent years. From our perspective, the services and work force are somewhat jaded - yes there are good skills here, but there are also many contractors with disappointing attitudes and indifferent approaches to the task. A real shame.

The result is that many cruisers are doing their own work, where ever possible, or at minimum are having to very closely manage the local trades people. Part of the problem is that each yard hosts a number of trades people as commercial tenants, and naturally refers visiting boats to those "internal" service providers. This makes it tricky when you really want quality - the best service providers may well be partnered with another yard. We've had to part company with two contractors in our yard (Power Boats) due to poor quality results.  It was all handled nicely enough, but we're still looking for the right people.