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.

Maracas delivers on its promise

We got up early today as we had to leave the boat before the Awlgrip spraying began (right after the sun had burned the dew away and the wind picked up). As we had planned to make Sunday our sightseeing day, all was good.
After a brief tour through the capital, Port of Spain, we went straight to Maracas Beach (it is the largest and most popular beach in Trinidad and mostly frequented by locals) and had a fantastic day; enjoying the view from Maracas outlook, sampling numerous pickled and spicy fruits, liming under palm trees, body surfing in decent waves with just the right water temperature…
Lunch of course included “Bake and Shark” sandwiches paired with a cool Carib beer.
The beach was packed with lots of people and apart from moving around the palm tree
as the shadow moved we enjoyed watching the very interesting characters at the beach, had a few cocktails and of course our first sunburn.
In the meantime, Cow and team sprayed the entire area around Tioga with water to reduce the risk of dust making it to the boat. They then made final preparations and began spraying new layers of dark blue Awlgrip paint.
When we came back to the boat in the afternoon, the boot locked awesome. We prepared the shopping list for tomorrow, fixed a few smaller items and enjoyed a meal at the waterfront.

Life is good

When in Trini

“When in Trini, you have to eat well” is what the nice lady at the stall on the road to Powerboats said (the Roti store on the boatyard is closed over the weekend).
Overall, we are getting more adjusted to the lifestyle and culture in Trinidad. The strong English accent no longer sounds like a totally different language, it is perfectly normal not to have hot water as regular water works just fine for a shower in this warm climate, people go the extra mile to keep their customer happy (we did not ask to get the windlass polished, the motor for it painted or some forgotten vegetables removed, but it just happened anyways…)
and most importantly, we no longer turn on the wiper instead of the indicator when driving on the other side of the road (with our locally organized older rental car we already look like locals).
Apart from that, the boat was fully prepared for the awlgrip job tomorrow, we removed more of the cracked bottom (it looks like a previous owner had some repairs done and use autobody filler instead of epoxy), we got our basic supplies from the local Budget Marine store, had a test flight with the done to confirm it worked again (after a significant amount of time spent on upgrading all involved components duringt the winter) and most importantly, our crew arrived.
Cathy and Peter arrived first, followed by Corinna and Lauren.
We got some groceries and dinner before heading back to Chaguaramas to finish the day off with a cocktail in the local bar.

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.


Fixing Irene’s legacy

If you remember, the summer of 2011 was an eventful one. Hurricane Irene made it all the way to New England in August and Tioga barely survived the by then tropical storm.
While we were extremely impressed seeing her back in the water in Manchester-by-the-sea (she looked like a brand new boat), we relatively quickly started to think that the new Awlgrip job had some flaws.
A lot of small micro-cracks developed within a year and continued to do so ever since. The paint was also a lot more sensitive to scratches than the one we had before.
We think it was caused by not letting the 7 layers of paint dry/harden properly and by not using the correct filler underneath that.
While Tioga continued to look beautiful from a distance, the increase in cracks was unsettling.

We therefore made the call to redo the Awlgrip while in Trinidad (and hopefully in more capable hands).

Kamba, aka Cow, got started last week and is making good progress. They closed the gap between hull and shrink-wrap to protect the inside from all the dust the work is creating. As a result, working on the deck has become a little more uncomfortable due to lack of airflow and increased temperature, but it is continuing as planned.
So far, so good…