The Big Refit 2011/12
28 June 2011 | Nautec, Monfalcone, Italy
Update. Launch booked for July 3rd!!
Uneventful drive out to Monfalcone with a Honda dingy in the back of the car at beginning of May.
Had a dry week and a wet week before the summer heat arrived fortunately.
Managed to sand down and repaint the rear cabin, last painted thirty six years ago. Two pot polyurethane does what it says on the tin!! Real struggle to remove 27 port rear window machine screws over two days but gleaming new window now in place.
Failed to remove the P bracket but one of the Italian engineers on site has a special tool to remove and refit the water lubricated shaft bearing. Also sanded and painted stbd float bow to cover repair. Karl had indeed arranged an insurance payout, I was very grateful!
When it rained I further improved the wiring. And even did some painting cosmetic work in rear cabin.
The Icom 706 (from ebay!) was fitted and worked surprisingly well. They're no longer made but still sought after by skipper Hams!
Stella flew out to join me and we drove back via Bolzano to see Otzi. Then Trier to see the Porta Nigra and other late Roman remains before moving on to Reims to see the huge Cathedral again and also stumble on another huge Roman gate, two in one day!!
I hope to return to relaunch AB at the end of June. This month I must help my daughter move flats!
For various reasons my departure from Brighton to Monfalcone was delayed this year. Plus I had finally decided to replace the 24yr old 2GM20 with a new Yanmar 3YM20. Three mechanics at Felton marine manhandled the iron lump into the back of my ten year old Saab on May 3rd but I did not get away on the Newhaven ferry till the 23rd! The rear springs were pretty low with all the other essential new junk as well. I had forgotten that the electric fan was kaput, it's so rarely needed in the UK, and the old bus was overheating on the autobahns although still hauling the Yanmar up the Bavarian hills at a respectable speed. However the contaminating water in the (unchanged for years!) hydraulic fluid boiled and I came to terminal rest in a service station several miles later, after having to pretend I was a rally driver (gearchanging without clutch). The German Automobile Club had me in a garage in Augsburg with impressive speed and the mechanic amazed me by immediately changing the fluid to get me going the same night. However it was not to be, and I spent two days in Augsburg, an interesting ancient town, while the master cylinder was rebuilt. Still we made it to Monfalcone on the fifth day!
I did not use the car again till the engine was sitting on the cockpit seat, just in case. My 99 euro bike form the local Mercatone Uno worked up an appetite for dinner every night. It was a bit of a struggle to undo the 25yr old rusted coupling plate nuts but I eventually managed it with a borrowed "monkey wrench". I also reglassed the engine bearers and rerouted the exhaust in the five days that the engine compartment was empty.The main sheet from a boom supported by the main halliard then lowered the new Yannie onto the carefully positioned new mounts. It was a pretty tight fit and my arms were rather bruised by the time all the ancilliaries and the exhaust were reconnected. May/June was wet too and the new engine wore oilskins during it's time in the cockpit.
Of course this meant that all the other jobs on the never ending refit list were still there. Including the necessary repair of a hole in the starboard float! I gradually came to the conclusion that by the time they were all done the sailing season would be over. So this is labelled the 25yr refit completion year. And Stella and I plan a fly drive holiday in southern Norway in mid July. The refit will recommence in the boatyard cauldron of August. There is a masochistic penitential element to boat maintenance which may appeal to my Catholic upbringing!
We did indeed enjoy a fly/drive trip round southern Norway in July accompanied by our daughter Louise. Picking up the hire car at Oslo airport we headed north to Trondheim and stayed in the maternity hospital! There was a mini heatwave and great light for photographing the Cathedral and all the wooden architecture. We continued to Alesund and Bergen and returned via Geilo to drop the car at the airport again, followed by three nights in Oslo, coinciding with the terrible events that summer. I visited the ship museum and gawped at the fragile boats Thor Heyerdahl crossed oceans in. I can recommend the healthy trip since you won't be able to afford any booze!!
I returned to Aqua Blue in August and indeed the boatyard was an ordeal for an Englishman. The temp varied between 83F overnight and 103F mid afternoon. Eventually I just sat under a tree with a bottle of water and a book from 3 to 5pm, till the sun hit the treetops. However useful work was done with two hatches rebuilt and refitted. The damage to the starboard float was repaired with epoxy and glass, not much hardener was needed! A tough looking crew were starting to dismantle an old wooden trawler nearby, I gave them some scrap metal!
I also returned in October, just as the temp plummeted, and the rain prompted me to fix more deckleaks and further improve the wiring. I also replaced the third, fourth and fifth of six slightly corroded forestay chainplate bolts, quite an undertaking crunched up in the foc'sle, since they've been done up tight for 36 years! I opened my scalp on a deckbolt and wondered what was running down my neck!! I also started reorganising the foredeck fittings to facilitate handling the ground tackle. We do a lot of anchoring, marinas do not welcome boats 25ft wide, and I prefer not to pay their prices! The Nautec staff are friendly and Karl is expediting an insurance claim for AB.