Ready for the winter

After yet another year with a lot of miles under the keel, it was time to pull Tioga out of the water early and start the maintenance and winterization process before it got too cold.
The week before we pulled Tioga out, though, we had already tied her up to the dock in Lynn (thanks to harbor master Dave Mcqary) to investigate the no longer furling forestay and found that some wire strands were broken and that the entire forestay had to be replaced. Kevin, Cal and our own, Nick (who worked for NE rigging before going to Japan for his ski instructor training), did as always perform well and made it all happen in one afternoon.

During the last sail of the season from Lynn to Nahant, we used the opportunity to hoist our latest sail addition: an almost new gennaker – a big thank you to Bob Anderson for this extremely generous gift!! Look out for the blue paws on yellow ground (Bob breeds dogs…).

Thank you - Bob!

After the significant amount of maintenance we went through in Trinidad over the winter, we were quite surprised to see the cracks in the hull after Tioga was out of the water. Carefully peeling off the layers, Sean Antrim determined that some of the bottom fiberglass layers were delaminated and went to work to put all together again.

The next big topic was the left-over rigging backlog we did not have time to address when replacing the mast in Germany.

As we had to pull the mast, we decided to replace the entire electronics setup and install a new NMEA 2000 backbone while we had the chance (most of the equipment had given up during the long trip around the northern Atlantic). New wires for radar and wind instrument were pulled into the mast and a new radar dome installed.

NMEA 2000 backbone - first draft
The newly installed partners had to be taken out, fixed and installed back again. The old instruments in the cockpit had to be uninstalled, the resulting cut-outs resized to accommodate the new B&G instruments. Of course, none of that proved too hard for Sean who as always left hardly any trace of the work he performed.

In parallel the boat was winterized,

winterizing wordcloud Tioga

some of the broken parts repaired and the broken staysail halyard winch replaced (the drum had cracked and the winch could only be disassembled by destroying it.). The new winch is from Lewmar (Ocean Series).

For good luck, Peter, Dan and Philip placed their lucky coins  on the mast base before the mast was stepped again.

good luck coins

While the list for the remaining winter work is still quite long, we managed to get most of our action items taken care of and have the new B&G system almost fully working. Pretty cool to have radar, wind, log, depth, temperature, AIS, instruments etc connected into one system and accessible via iPad etc.

A huge thank you to Josh and Rex Antrim for allowing us to store the mast in the yard during this time. It made working on the mast so much easier and kept the mast out of the way. – Thank you!!

Mast storage in the Antrim yard


Making a life

The captain left the boat early in the morning to go to work (and enjoy the beautiful view) while Peter and Corinna found and fixed the leak in the aft cabin and also installed the new wire for the lpg shut-off valve that stopped working yesterday (and with that stopped the stove and oven from working).

While the girls enjoyed a day at the nice beach around the corner, Peter and Philip continued the troubleshooting of the electrical system. With the help of our master mechanic/shore crew, Dan, they concluded that the alternator was fried (probably because the grounding cable broke off during the trip). Dan and Ulf are working on getting us a new alternator in Marblehead that we are planning to install over the weekend.

We finished the evening with a sushi dinner at Angie Dickinson’s restaurant at the Antigua Yacht Club (Angie turned the old attic into a kitchen and doubled the upstairs patio size after the AYC moved into the new building next door) and a walk to Nelson’s dockyard.

A great trip is coming to an end. We have only one dinner left.

And don’t forget:
Never got so busy making a living that you forget to make a life

And they sailed into the sunset

First of all,
yes, they finished all the work in time and we launched in the afternoon. And yes, we made it past Venezuela without a pirate encounter!

While Dynamite marine took the depth sounder out of the hull, cleaned the hole and rebedded the sounder with a new custom-built foundation, Cow’s crew worked until 03:00 in the morning to grind out the old material under the stuffing box, fill it with expoxy. From then on the new structure had to hard quickly and then barrier coat and antifouling were added.
In the meantime, we had another breakfast at one of the road vendors that sold “Doubles”. A typical Trini breakfast (very flavorful and messy to eat). From there we went to the bamboo cathedral, a beautiful coastal walk through a troplical forrest with lots of bamboo, followed by another swim at our local beach. We tested our new snorkeling masks and also managed to finally get the correct courstesy flag for St Vincent and the Grenadines.
When all was ready, the crane put us in the water, checked for leacks (there weren’t any), started the engine and prepped the boat for departure.
Unfortunately, the gas station was out of diesel and we left with what we had.

This time we did sail into the sunset…

They got it all done

A lot of action items got taken care of today.

The Awlgrip cured enough to buff out the last imperfections, put the name back on and install the Aries windvane.
The fiberglass job outside and inside the boat were completed. Barrier coat and bottom paint were applied.
The shrink wrap cover was removed
All remaining items were taken out of storage, lifted on the boat and installed.
After long discussions, we were finally able to convince the local hydraulics store to put 500 PSI on the serviced vang. And yes, the boom is now able to carry the main without a topping lift again.
The hydraulic tank was refilled and cockpit lazarettes loaded.
Kitchen and bathroom were cleaned, water tanks filled.
Late at night, when the wind had calmed down, we even put the genoa on.
On top of all this, Cathy managed to drive to the airport and pick up Linda and Lilly. We are now complete and celebrated that with another dinner and drinks at our local hang out at the water.

So far so good.
Unfortunately, Powerboats determined that the outside epoxy was not hardened enough to allow the crane to pick us up. We therefore moved that appointment to tomorrow morning.
While we still have quite a few action items left, they are all manageable and should Tioga float and the engine start we will be able to leave in the afternoon tomorrow.

We can’t wait to finally get going again.

Race against the clock

Now that the Awlgrip is sprayed on and curing, Kemba’s team changed gears and ground away all the filler around the cracks on the bow and around the strut. With the launch set to 3pm on Tuesday, the clock is ticking and the team set up floodlights to work late into the evening to get at least all the outside fiberglass and filler work completed. And they just did after 4 layers of epoxy and then filler on top.
We were quite lucky that they found these cracks as the about 1 cm thick filler (way to thick of a layer of filler) was not only of poor quality (autobody filler that does not do well with salt water) but also not connected to the epoxy underneath. With the vibration caused by running the engine, this could have ended very badly…

The inside (in the aft cabin) is prepared, ie all the old material has been cut away, and the final fiberglass work will start tomorrow morning. The plan is to put 6 layers of epoxy mats in. Makes you nervous with the light shining through the currently thin floor.

Of course, the wind picked up when they removed all the screens and covers in the aft cabin so that a lot of the dust that these screens were supposed to prevent from making it into the boat – made it into the boat.
We’ll have to throw all the sleeping bag, towels, pillows of the aft cabin in the washing machine tomorrow, but should be good to go then.

In the meantime, we enjoyed a nice Roti lunch at our favorite lunch hang-out before Cathy, Lauren and Corinna took care of the non-perishable groceries, while Peter and Philip stowed away all the sails, covers etc.
We even managed to put the main back on, while still under the shrink-wrap cover. After some struggle, Peter and some helpers managed to put the steering wheel back on.
Lots of other smaller items got taken care of and we believe we can complete all the remaining items by tomorrow in time for the 3pm launch.
Again, dinner (food and drinks at the waterfront) did not disappoint.

We are moving back in again

Roughly 3 months went by since we completely cleaned out Tioga and handed her over to Dynamite marine. The idea was to replace the worn out teak deck and to get a few other maintenance items taken care of.
In parallel, Kemba, aka Cow, stripped the underbody, replaced the barrier coat and also repainted the blue awlgrip above the waterline.

Philip arrived in Chaguaramas late last night. Although it was dark, there was enough light to appreciate the new awlgrip paint job as well as the amazing new teak deck.

Of course, nothing is ever as easy as it seems. These projects are no exception. Cow and team where putting on the last coat of awlgrip when the wind picked up and some dust (although they had wetted the yard with water before) found its way to the paint before it was fully dried out (the entire hull needs to be lightly sanded now and new awlgrip coats need to be sprayed on after that!).
What had fully dried out was the bottom’s barrier coat and unfortunately a couple of cracks started to show, indicating that more fiberglass work was needed.
We decided to move Tioga to a more protected location and the team got going.
While these items still need to be taken care of, we are on track to get the boat in the water early next week and leave on Wednesday afternoon.
Until then, truckload after truckload of stored equipment is being delivered. In between conference calls more and more items are finding their space in the boat and soon we will be able to see the floor again.
With 32C/90F and lots of humidity, this is quite an exercise. It would have been much worse, had our friends at Dynamite Marine not reinstalled the air conditioner.


The teak is complete

We are getting there. Last week, the teak deck work was completed (as was the other woodwork) and most of the hardware is back in place (genoa track and windlass are still work in progress).
The boat is painted with a base coat that looks like stars and stripes blue. This allows to better see the blemishes etc. “Cow” will paint the last two coats today.

On Thursday, Philip, will get to see the results first. Saturday most of the crew will get there and help prepare for the trip to the Grenadines and Antigua.
A few days later, our team will be complete, Tioga will be in the water and we should be ready to start up our journey again.

Life is good…