Sunday, May 3, 2015

May 1, 2015 Georgetown wifi and sail repair

This morning, I decided to go to shore and go to J&K Productions.  You can pay them $5 for unlimited wifi for the day.  I took the dinghy in by myself.  We did move the boat closer to Georgetown, Kidd’s Cove, so the ride was much easier.  J&K’s was about 2 blocks from the dinghy dock.  It is a small concrete building.  You have to duck to go through the door.  It was about 12 ft by 24 ft.  It had shelves with a few grocery items towards the front half.  There was a wooden table in the middle and 2 folding chairs.  The back half  had shelves with assorted electronics and lots of laptops.  There was a counter for business and Julius and K??? owned and ran the place.  They seemed like they were around 30 years old.  They are open 9am to 7pm Monday through Saturday, if it doesn’t rain.  Rain leaks into the building and they have to close.  There was a big electrical box I plugged my computer into.  It was sitting on a ledge along the wall because there had been rain water on the floor the night before. 

I was the only one there to use the wifi.  Others came and went with assorted business: proofing business cards, printing something from an e-mail, somebody brought in a thumb drive for some business, etc.  And it sounded like Julius did work for people at their place, too.  I was there from about 11:00 to 3:00 updating things on my phone and laptop.  I did some e-mail correspondence,  looked up several things on a list I had made, caught up on Facebook, etc.  By the time I was ready to leave, it had just started to sprinkle.  I noticed as I walked back to the dinghy that there were about 15 cars lined up for the gas station.  Maybe the station’s tanks are filled on certain days. 

Back in Kidd’s Cove, I started looking for our boat as it started to rain.  The one I thought was our boat, I overlooked because there was a guy climbing the mast, and that couldn’t be ours.  But as I got closer, I realized it WAS.  Dave was just coming down the mast as I arrived at the boat! 

Dave had noticed as we were sailing here that the luff, or front of the  genoa sail, wasn’t tight.  Usually you can fix that by tightening the halyard.  But Dave noticed a section of aluminum on the furler was coming apart.  So Dave tried lowering the sail to add a shackle which would pull it up at a different angle, putting less stress on the aluminum sections of the furler and hold the luff tighter.  He thought the levering was pulling the aluminum sections apart. When he lowered the sail to do this, they sections of aluminum came apart to the point where he couldn’t lower the sail.  He tried shaking the furler to get the pieces to line up again.  He did this back in North Palm Beach when he was cleaning the sail and it worked.  It didn’t take long for him realize that they shouldn’t come apart, which changed his plan of attack.  All this time, the sail is flapping in the wind and Dave could see a storm approaching. 

The furler for the forward sail had five sections of aluminum that are screwed together and attached to the forestay.  There is a slot in the aluminum that the sail goes into.   Since shaking the forestay to get the section back together didn’t work, he realized he was going to have to get to the top of the forestay to fix this.  He decided to climb the mast and see if he could reach it about 8 feet away from the mast.  He used a climbing harness and ascenders and a chest harness.  Once he was at the level of the section he needed to work on, he put his feet on the mast and leaned out horizontally to reach this area.  Once he could see the problem, he realized he needed an allen wrench because the screws had come loose in the upper section.  So down he came, about  45 feet, 6-10 inches at a time.  Back up he went.  This time he tied a halyard to his chest harness, which allowed him to lay horizontally longer to work with both arms, instead of hanging on with one.  And he had tools in his pockets which are now horizontal also.  All this time, the sail is flapping in the wind.

For some reason, several boats stopped by to see if he needed help.  One guy was ready to climb on board once he realized there wasn’t anyone else on the boat with him as back up.  Smart guy.  But Dave refused any help.  And then they would want to visit longer, taking his concentration off of what he needed to do.  When he was back on the deck the first time and ready to climb back up, a guy from Australia wanted to visit.  He even asked him “do you think you’ll get it done today?”  Dave didn’t know how to politely tell him “yes, if I could just get back to work.”  Dave did enjoy visiting with him.  But it reminded him of being on a farm.  He said everyone wants to stop and visit. “Oh, I see you got your tractor stuck there.  Can I help you? Think you’ll get it out today and get your field done?”

So back up top, he was able to repair the section of aluminum and tighten any other screws within reach.  He also added the shackle that will hold the luff of the sail at a better angle.  He was just coming down from that job when I arrived at the boat shaking my head.  He reassured me that the most that could happen would be that he would swing freely, then stabilize and climb again.  He wouldn’t hit the deck or fall in the water.  I did ask him to please not do this again, unless I am at the boat.  When I left for town, he didn’t think he would have to climb the mast.  It would be simple 30 minute fix.  But he is a rock climber from way back and never felt he was in danger, like me and the other boaters thought. 

We let the little rain shower pass and let the wind slow down before putting the sail back on the furler.  Now he needed my help.  He fed the sail into the slot as I raised it using the winch.  This was my upper body work out for the day.  It started out easy, but got harder the higher the sail went because of the weight of the sail and because the sail is filling with wind and is being pulled sideways.  As the sail was going into place, Dave could see that the next section of aluminum was doing the same thing.  He tried raising and lowering the sail, with my help, to get the pieces back together, but no luck.  He will have to figure out how to get to that area.  It is too high off the deck and too far away from the mast to reach it on his own.  Maybe he’ll let me help him this time. 

We think all this goes back to when the boat was set up for us in Alabama.  We didn’t know at the time what was or wasn’t done correctly because we didn’t know that much about the boat.  So in the long run, Dave is glad with the turn of events, because things will be done correctly.  He’ll tighten all 5 of the sections of aluminum.

Fixing the furler was supposed to be an easy, quick job so Dave could move on to working on the generator pump.  With stormy weather heading our way, it moved this job to the top of the list.  He didn’t want the sail flopping in the wind any more than necessary.  And you don’t want to roll the sail on the furler if it is wet if you don’t have to.  We’ve already tried to get rid of mildew on the jenny sail. 

Dave came inside about 5:00 when it started to rain.  He fell asleep sitting up.  So I made a simple dinner of leftovers and sent him to bed. 

My only regret is that I wasn't at the boat today to get any pictures.

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