Not Raining, Getting Ready

Despite the recent rant about the rain , sometimes , like to day, the weather is brilliant. So sunny and so warm , that I got out the paint to do some paint repair. The foredeck paint patch was reinforced with white epoxy. The coal tar epoxy applied in Easter Island has stood up well.

The lower ends of the standing rigging were showing a little rust. However it was not real rust , just a mix of volcanic ash and some grinding slag from a steel project when we were tied up to the dock in Estancilla. Even so I applied some epoxy to the cable and the eyes ,avoiding the turnbuckle threads.

Richard L. has purchased the boat next door , an Island Packet 370 , well equipped but totally new to him. So far he has repaired and made a new switch for the bow thruster (!) , re-built the toilet , been hoisted up the mast to replace a destroyed spinnaker block.He is also learning how to sail a Laser , in preparation to taking his yacht out into the roaring forties. Think about that.

In addition to painting , I made a cover for the windlass , so perhaps less rust from the chain will stain the deck. I also made a high tech heater stove intake chimney cover , from a red pastic bowl. We were getting some sea water down the pipe in rough conditions.

Also I had made a new bow protector from checkerplate aluminum , for enhanced ‘yachtiness’ and to prevent the 55lb rocna anchor from damaging the paint any more.

The rowing shells are constantly on the river in fairweather or foul.

The turtle came out to warm in the sun.

The yacht club marina looks different in the sun.

The Danish yacht ‘Pi’ has left to head up the coast towards Peru. They really need 5 or 6 days of south wind to get far enough north to avoid north winds from the next front. This time they won’t have it , but they wanted to get going anyways.

For our south bound trip we only need a 24 hr window to get to Canal Chacao. Our best bet might be to head out on the tail of a North wind from a front and get there before the south wind strengthens too much.

I have been using a grib file reader called Zygrib for weather maps , which seem really good and fast , from the internet.

The other factor is the Chilean Armada , which keeps very close control over all marine traffic , so much so that the communications themselves require a significant amount of time. We shall see how that all works out.

Hoping for a little more dry, warm weather, in Valdivia.

Haul-Out At Valdivia

The winter is going by. Still rainy and cool , bud blossoms are coming out on some of the trees.

It was time to get going with painting the boat bottom. So I motored up the river 4 km one wet , cold day with Tim and Rowland huddled under the dodger, fo company , and help getting into the slip at Valdivia.

A French boat “Fleur de Sel” had hauled out on the marine railway a couple of  weeks prior , so I was able to observe the process. The upright supports on the cradle were placed to narrowly for their boat , so quite a bit of weight came onto the hard chines of the hull. Enough so that the hull was dented in on port and starboard sides. Not so happy.

This was the first time I had ever hauled the boat out since launching in 1994! Many times on the beach and several on the tide grid. But never on to dry land . Luxury of time.

I had the marineros remove all the upright supports , except for the first two , needed as guides. The spacing of the keels was exactly the same as the width of the carriage , so placement had to be accurate.

No hay problemas.

Except that the weather , while not rainy , was very cold. Like down to zero at night and only up to 5 or 6 degr in the day.

I had new zincs welded on. I was a little concerned about the zincs as I had been in a marina with lots of underwater steel work at Estancilla. They needed replacing , but were OK.

There are quite a few blisters in the epoxy primer underwater. These have been growing slowly over the years. The steel under the blisters when un-roofed is perfect. I was kind of hoping to sandblast and repaint the bottom here in Valdivia ,but weather and expense suggested otherwise. I could do it here in the summer , but forget that! Later.

There were a few area where the epoxy primer was scratched down to the steel. Some are recent , some are quite old. Only in one place was there any corrosion. That was in an area just below the waterline on the port side. So with 40 days of port tack it was constantly in and out of the water , allowing lots of air to get at it.

Therefore I sanded these spots and touched them up with coal tar epoxy. I borrowed Eric’s (Compay) heat gun and spent hours walking around the hull trying to get the epoxy to kick off. Eventually it set.

On the second full day I painted on 2 gallons of reddish Transpacific Copper antifouling. Thinned a bit since it was so cold. I am back in the water and nothing has sloughed off , so maybe it worked.

Getting back in the water was a bit of a production. There are 2 cables on the carriage , the mainline for hauling out , and the haulback line thet goes out around a tailblock on the seabottom a hundred metres out. The problem is , is that the haulback line is broken , and they cannot find the tailblock buried in the mud.

When the time came to return to the sea, Lucho threw the brake off and let us run  free down the rails. I would guess we got going to 10 km/hr , which felt VERY fast. Despite that we didn’t get very far, still the hull was a long way from floating. So I set up a long warp to the farthest piling and winched it bar taut with two sheet winches.

Then Jose and Walter tied on to the carriage with the Club Launch. This is an inboard diesel FG 16′ skiff. It has some weight. They ducked down into the launch and took a run at full throttle. They did this 4 times. Each time the tow line came up tight we moved about 20′ and the tow rope snapped, and whistled through the air. No marineros were harmed in this process. The elastic nylon warp acted as a loaded spring. Finally , on the 4th pull we gently floated free and drifted into the slip. Bueno.

So back in the water and that 3 1/2 day job is done. Good.

Five Hundred Miles

We can smell the flowers of Valdivia , almost. Actually what I can smell is diesel fuel. The 6 gallon tank in the head compartment that holds fuel for the heater chose this night to corrode through and leak significantly. So we spent an hour at 0400 emptying that tank (this time completely) into a jug. Hurlogenic. Aluminum tank that is 17 yrs old. Not bad. Should be able to get polyethylene or stainless in Valdivia to replace.

The SE Pac high is to the north of us so we have west wind at 15 knots. Wing and wing at 6 knots. Yahoo!

I am wearing full ski touring clothing. It is nice and chilly. Full moon.

It is looking like we might make it to Chile. That is good. It is actually hard to believe.

Just keep sailing along and pretty soon 8000 miles has passed under the keels.

38 46 S 85 97 W

500 miles to go.