Dec 152011

It took longer than I would have wanted. So it’s only borderline possible to reach Ascension Island before Christmas. We will see…

But it’s done.

I was surprised that the one single can of aluminum hull compatible anti-fouling that was available on the whole island was the same color as the old one!

On the whole, the repair is reasonable given the conditions: Almost impossible to find the right materials, no vacuum pump or even a simple thing as a belt grinder available. The tools they use in the fiber-glass workshop are hammers, angle grinders an rollers. That’s it. The repaired rudder is not as strong as the original, and the shape is a bit irregular. But it is going to work.

Language and communication problems, plus the disapperance of the rudder for a day caused most of the delays. Bu today we are off towards Ascension. Longest leg so far for Journeyman.

Dec 122011

The weekend was a bit of a roller coaster ride emotinally. The first thing that happened saturday morning was we went over to the shipyard to continue work.

Only the rudder was not there anymore. All that was left was some water damaged foam that we had removed the day before!

Now when things like that happend in small poor places such as this I know that going to the police to report the theft is a bad idea that usually takes you lots of time and has no result. There are lots of better ways to handle it. Such as hooking up with a local guy from the marina and take a ride over to the local metal scrap dealer and make sure he knows what the thing looks like so no one can try to sell it for the auminium scrap price. Another good idea is to take a walk along the market place and talk to the bums that hang out there. Spread the word that a broken rudder is missing, and getting it back is worth 5000 CVE.

Saturday evening we decided to go partying hard, to forget the troubles. I ended up at a great party thrown by the local university. About 2000 people dancing to great Reggaeton and Drum-n-Base. I remember I had trouble getting the hang of the whining dance style when I was in Trinidad 10 years ago. It is practiced here to, but this time I did a lot better ;-)

Anyway, it was not very long before we had our rudder back. So work could continue.

Now we are at the point where the basic shape has been remodelled in polyurethane foam, and made (almost at least) perfect using polyester filler. Next step is to start laying fiber glass. Unfortunately I have not been able to locate a vacum pump so the whole thing will be old school manual work. The heat makes it a little different than usual, since all curing processes are much faster than I am used to.