Monday, June 30, 2014

Oh, the Fun’s Over Now!

[Kyle]We left the quiet paradise of morning on Waikiki Beach for the noise and grime of the Keehi Boatyard. The staff was ready to go at our appointed time and we were soon hauled out and blocked over what seemed to be the only mud puddle in the yard.

We removed the old starboard rudder, which had done double duty for an amazing total of 4,405 nautical miles. Some of the paint had worn off, but otherwise it looked no worse for wear.

We then removed the remainder of the port rudderpost. It broke just above the lower bearing about three inches into the tube. It had some growth and some rust staining. There seemed to be a defect in the material that slowly developed into a crack. Once water got in, corrosion started and it was just a matter of time. Even so, it made it thirteen years and over 20,000 miles before it finally broke off.

Begonia being hauled out - and the culprit! The sheared rudder post that made such a mess with our plans and our bank account.

Our rudders made it just in time. Actually, they had arrived the previous Friday, but the yard had refused the shipment on the basis that they had no idea who we were in spite of our many emails and phone calls leading up to it that specifically dealt with the rudder delivery.

The yard was weird. They were efficient about getting things done when they said they’d be done, which is great if you’re on a schedule. The staff is hard working and couldn’t have been friendlier or more helpful when we needed anything at all.

Management was another story. The office staff was also nice, but the paperwork had a very adversarial tone to it. We had to sign form after form with long lists of dos and don’ts as if we were checking into a Catholic boarding school and there were little fees for everything. I’m surprised we weren’t required to weigh our trash and pay for its disposal by the pound. Most irritating was that there were no showers provided and we were absolutely not allowed to use the Keehi Marina showers next door. We were told that was because we were supposed to be working in the yard, not living, even though it cost a LOT more to be in the yard than in the marina and they were the same company. Well, I’m sorry, but if I’m splashing through the mud puddle under my boat while doing hot, sweaty work covered in full-body protective painting gear in the tropical sun all day, I am NOT getting into bed without at least two showers first! We did what everybody else did and snuck off to a corner with a hose and a bar of soap at the end of the day. Same story for laundry.

Rudders arrive and undergo various stages of attention before FINALLY they are back on Begonia and we can return to the water

Once we were out of the water, the usual boatyard misery began in earnest. The engines, which still had a surface temperature of 55°C (131°F), needed oil changes, as did our saildrives (the long underwater units that connect the engines with the propellers). The paint on the hulls, saildrives and propellers needed sanding in preparation for painting. The new rudders looked great, but of course they were new. We had to remove all of the gummy tape they had used to attach the packing materials, then we had to remove the mold release wax used in manufacture, then they each got four coats of a special sealant and primer before we could even start with the antifouling paint. There were also lots of other little miscellaneous jobs we figured we might as well do while we were out of the water. It was all miserable, hot work. Begonia quickly became covered in dust and mud and her interior was soon a two-foot deep pile of tools and spare parts, which had been brought out for the occasion.

That was day one. On day two, Maryanne “escaped” by renting a car so we could divide and conquer (she is severely allergic to bottom paint so it is important that she keeps out of the way while it is being applied). I spent the entire length of daylight that day in dark blue coveralls breathing the steamy air through a respirator. In between, I drank five gallons of Gatorade, which still wasn’t enough.

Maryanne says she got the better end of the deal that day, but I’m not so sure. She spent the whole day running around chasing up every possible thing we might need between Honolulu and California. She arrived home after 9pm with a car stuffed to the ceiling with hundreds of pounds of groceries, all of which had to be carried up the ladder and put inside for the night out of any potential rain. She spent most of day three packing things away, including all of the tools and parts we no longer needed. Apart from the floors, Begonia looked even better than when we hauled out.

By Thursday, all of the paint had dried. The yard lifted the boat up nice and high to make room for the shafts and we got both rudders installed and working properly. We finished up the last of our jobs and by nightfall we were ready to hose off and treat ourselves to a celebratory night out. Despite being in an area that is, oh… not nice, there is a really nice restaurant at the marina with a lovely tropical Hawaiian atmosphere. It was such a much-needed escape from the yard. In the yard we'd met up with some Turkish sailors we'd first chatted to in Hilo. They were just about to leave, so the four of us dined together and celebrated their imminent escape from the yard.

We were back in the water first thing on Friday, filled the fuel tank and the spare jugs and headed back to the main part of Honolulu in a boat that seemed so much more responsive on the helm.

{Maryanne: After almost a week in the yard, hard at work, doing a job that seemed cruelly forced up on us rather than scheduled maintenance, we were very ready to leave. Not to mention we needed to get a shower soon so we could feel properly clean again.}

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