Scrapes, scratches & sliver linings

“It’s alright mum, our boat isn’t badly damaged, just a few small repairs and we’ll be off again”, wrote Zephyr on the day of our incident… (cf. Obelix on the rocks)

The small repairs took three weeks, and, thankfully, no one dared tell me at the time it would take so long!

Apart from the minor scratches on the keel, the damage of the rudder needed serious repairs, all undertaken by professional boat builders (Brin Wilson) and covered by insurance (minus excess) to much of our relief. Besides, to optimise the time on the hardstand, Thomas threw in some evening and week-end sweat to assist the smooth running of professional operations, and carry out additional maintenance jobs, so that Obelix is sleeker, safer, and stronger than ever.

*WARNING* Reading the following DONE list might urge you to yawn or even take a nap to recover from the induced exhaustion:

  • Water blast hull (Brin Wilson)
  • Switch boat from “house” to “boatyard” mode (Thomas):
    • remove all carpets
    • cover all floors with cardboard
    • remove all bedding from the kids room
    • protect bench and lounge table with newspaper
  • Repair scratches on the keel (BW)
  • Repair rudder (BW):
    • manufacture new bottom part that was ripped (probably wet/rotten before)
    • repair cracks from the bottom bearing (one was an existing crack which had been repaired before, sign that someone else must have hit rocks at some point, just saying…)
    • re-skin very tip and trailing edge, where the old skin had cracked
  • Reinstate rudder (Brin Wilson):
    • service rudder bearing (changed packing in stuffing box)
    • apply Propspeed on bottom of bearing and propeller shaft bearing at the exit of the stern tube (areas covered with barnacles due to anti-fouling failing to adhere to stainless steel)
  • Service propeller shaft stuffing box (Thomas):
    • tidy-up
    • change packing (which meant ½ day bent upside down over the engine to remove the old one, and then ½ day to put the new one)
  • Failed attempt at removing the propeller shaft to inspect it (Thomas):
    • soak shaft with lubricant
    • hammer taper-lock nut & washer with big spanner
    • get them loose
    • try to break taper grip on shaft
    • fail
    • re-tighten everything
  • Full diagnosis and change of the fuel line circuit (Thomas & Brett):
    • buy new pump to suck diesel @ 8L/minute (fits on a drill)
    • transfer diesel from front tank to aft tank
    • suck diesel from all points of the fuel system, including removing the floor boards to reinspect the pipes
    • remove all parts of the fuel line to suck through them individually
    • find out valves were ok on close position but leaky when open (by blowing through them like a trumpet)
    • change both valves with similar model as original, although these are supposed to be gas and not fuel fittings
    • remove Racor separator filter
    • clean Racor filter
    • change fuel filter on engine
    • change impeller in saltwater pump
    • clean saltwater sieve
    • realise the end fittings (where the hoses clamp to) were corroded
    • change sieve
    • re-tighten 3 out of 4 belts (saltwater pump + 2 alternators)
    • rig saltwater hose to a bucket to be able to start the engine
    • bleed engine
    • successfully start the engine
  • Sand bottom of the keel, inaccessible last time it was on the hard (Thomas)
  • Inject resin in delamination pockets at the bottom of the keel (Brin Wilson)
  • Tidy up bilges (Thomas)
  • Apply antifouling around waterline (Thomas)
  • Remove jib port winch to clean (Thomas)
  • Measure hull humidity level with moisture meter, to enable monitoring of osmosis going forward (Thomas)
  • Clean deck, cockpit, carpets and vinyl floors from all the antifouling marks (Thomas)
  • Switch boat back from “boatyard” to “house mode” (Thomas)
  • Fill diesel tanks (Thomas)

And just as every cloud has a silver lining, once again I felt blessed with the unfolding situation. First, the repairs were mostly covered by our insurance, second, Thomas turned into a competent project manager supervising the whole operation, and last but not least, we found new friends that offered us much more than a place to stay!

Indeed, with the boat being immobilised, we needed to find a new home quickly and preferably a local one to minimise the disruption to our life, with kids going to holiday program at Bayswater Primary School, and us going to work every day in opposite directions. And after a few phone calls and messages in a bottle, we found an overwhelmingly generous offer (Thomas nearly cried on the phone) to stay at Ines and Raul’s place (one block form the school), and pitch our tent in their garden for what I initially thought would be a few nights, but soon turned out to be an indefinite period of time. We barely knew them from school, and having looked after our kids on play dates a few times, and not only didn’t they seem to mind having us, but on the contrary appeared quite happy to welcome us into their home. And what a perfect fit! Similar values, education, and activities, we couldn’t hope for more.

Boys on the roof

We got extremely lucky with the weather too and for three weeks, apart from the fact we all had to work during the day, it felt like being on summer holidays with our best friends, with long meals on the deck, philosophical discussions, and kids screaming in the background. The boys were thrilled to have their friends Julian and Marco to go to school and play with every mornings and evenings, and the parenting was made easier by having four adults between whom to juggle schedules and alternate cooking dinner every night. There was even a huge palm tree for the tropical vibe, a swimming pool to splash in, a cat to pat, a roof to climb on, and plenty of bikes and scooters to go on evening missions before getting to bed. What’s more, after a week, we upgraded to the garden shed as Ines and Raul got a new bed and relocated their old one there. Comfort + connection, what else?

With that new experience of happy community living, we had mixed feelings when Obelix got all fixed up and made it back in the water, ready to welcome us back on his board…

6 thoughts on “Scrapes, scratches & sliver linings

  1. que d’aventures que de moments magiques à vivre je suis heureuse de vous suivre les garçons sont magnifiques et Obélix aussi bonne continuation et de gros gros bisous à vous quatre

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    1. Et je devrais ajouter que grace à cette connexion, vu que Julian et Marco font tous les deux de la danse, nos enfants se sont inscrits aussi! Hip-hop pour Azur et contemporain pour Zéphyr. Ils ont eu leur premier cours la semaine dernière, et je ne les ai pas encore vus danser mais Zéphyr a exprimé le souhait que je vienne le voir cette semaine…

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  2. Je me suis juste réveillé de cette interminable liste pour lire les paragraphes qui racontent le revers de la médaille… Rencontrer des amis est parmi les récompenses les plus notables de la vie. Bravo de les remarquer et de les souligner.
    J’ai aussi noté sur les photos que les deux garçons grandissent à une vitesse stupéfiante, Zéphyr sera très bientôt un très beau gars.
    Bises à vous quatre et vos nouveaux amis

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  3. Thanks for the update. Two of my three gorgeous sons are boat builders. Let me know if you ever get stuck. Ollie’s only 14, but who knows, he might make it a hatrick?

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