28 December 2017 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala
Susan / cloudy, rain, 81 degrees F
A fairly new to the RioD rigging expert, Freedom Rigging, does a standing rigging inspection this morning. Cost: US $80 / Q.577 at today's exchange rate. Vida Dulce is a French-manufactured boat, so it somehow seems appropriate to have a Frenchman doing the work. He speaks very little English, some French-Spanish, so has an assistant / translator along. They've clearly worked together awhile; thorough and effecient.
It's been several years since the last rigging inspection. It's been on our to-do list for awhile, and since we're still here, Jerry called for the appointment. It's a plus that the rigger is here on a boat in the marina zone because is saves us a trip downriver to Cayo Quemado for an appointment there. We're not surprised that he finds a variety of issues, however we are surprised that some of them are critical enough that his assessment is that we should not go sailing until they are replaced. Yikes! If we’d gotten our fridge at the same time as the freezer and left “on time” we would have unknowingly been sailing to and around Roatan / Bay Islands then down to Pamana with rigging one failure point from catastrophe, which would no doubt would have occurred in the middle of the night during a squall.
We're told that standing rigging should be replaced every 10 years on monohulls and every 8 years on catamarans. Vida Dulce is 10 years old this next year (2018). Rather than replacing just the critical items, we decide to do a full replacement. Standing rigging cable & connections are heavy but we are not inclined to use ocean cargo to ship anything new in. Air shipment is more reliable as well as faster but at a much higher cost. He said he just flew in a similar amount for another boat, shipping cost was US $800. On the surface, it would be cheaper to fly ourselves to the Florida to pick up the needed materials however when the cost of extra, oversized, overweight baggage is factored in, plus hotels, meals, buses & taxis, etc. it's probably a wash. Or close enough. We'll stay put and air-freight in the required materials. The website they use to order items is down until 2Jan (Tuesday), delaying their materials & labor quote.
After some thought, Jerry calls Tom @ Cayo Quemado Rigging for a second opinion, perhaps to get a second survey. Jerry tells him "a friend" did an inspection and found cracks in some of the swages, those on the diamond shrouds in the worse shape. Tom's reply was that they need to be replaced immediately, validating what we were told by Freedom Rigging. If we want him to do a full inspection, given our timeline to leave (asap), we'd have to take Vida Dulce down to Cayo Quemado tomorrow. Our friend Charlie, s/v Island Sol, had Tom due some work so we reach out to him for feedback. We'd talked with Charlie & Saundra on Christmas Day so other than a quick update on both ends, most of the conversation was re: Tom. All good; straight-shooter, qualified, quality work from his experience.
Tomorrow morning, we'll ask on the Net for feedback from other cruisers on Freedom - we'll meet them personally vs. over the VHF to discuss as needed - so that we can make an informed decision on next steps.