"What have you been up to? Why haven't we heard from you two in so long?" We're sure that's what our loyal readers must be saying to thenmselves. No doubt!
As is our custom when in New Zealand, we've come up with a long list of things that the skilled craftsmen here can assist us with.
Our primary reason for returning to NZ was to have Steve E., master cabinet maker, plastics fashioner, upholsterer, and general "fix-it guy" install glass windows on the back half of TabbyCat. Regular readers of this blog may recall that Steve installed windows on the front half of the boat 3 years ago.
We've been so pleased with them (dry, clear and safe) that we decided to bite the bullet and come back to NZ one more time to similarly encase the rear of the boat. And ...... since we were here, and having gotten Steve's attention focused on our to-do list, why not a few more things? The list morphed into 14 major items, including new cabinets in both hulls, a re-make of the office, a laundry room, refinishing the downstairs cork floors and cabinets, a valence for the upstairs windows, replacing the "escape hatches" (both leaking "acccidents waiting to happen") with solid 12mm plexi windows, and even a new built in-toolbox.
The biggest "this isn't easy, ya know" project, by far, was the back windows. As Steve frequently pointed out, our boat has lots of curves, and most of them are slightly different from one side to the other. Since bending flat glass around corners was not economically feasible, Steve was able to give the appearance of rounded corners by making the columns round.
That required adding on an extension to the aft part of the cabin, which will be cleverly disguised as a planter for herbs and flowers.
Dust was flying everywhere, so we made a wise decision to let the workers get on with the mess and went for a family vacation to Panama with Susan's Mom.
When we returned, the columns were installed, but fiberglass dust was everywhere, and we had to sleep in the cockpit for a week while work was completed on the cabinets below decks. Susan worked on sanding down and repairing a few blisters on our rudders while Colin worked as Steve's assistant.
The two of them masterminded a mutiny and convinced the captain that now was the time to "straighten" the waterline. Not "raise" mind you, but "straighten".
The captain got even by requesting that a leaky through hull be replaced with less than 24 hours to go before launch.
We're happy to report that the messy part of the project is over and we're back to sailing about this beautiful land. In fact, we've had two sets of guests since re-launching - Maggie, one of Colin's friends from Outward Bound visited us for a month, and Rick & Bozena, Colin's Brother & Sister-in-law, visited us for a long weekend. We'll post separate entries for those two visits, as we took some rather nice photos during all the walks we went on. Thanks for reading & keeping in touch,