Sunday, December 11, 2011


A wise person has said,
“Cruising is just an opportunity to fix your boat in exotic locations.”
Or was it a wiseass?

On the last Saturday in October, the gang from the Tyrrel Bay
Yacht Haulout took Geoff to the ferry to get the new rudder
from the stacks of goods coming into Carriacou.
Apparently it was here - somewhere.
 And it was.

The 250 pound rudder was lowered onto the work boat
for the final passage to its new home.

The boys carried the plywood crate up the dock to the boatyard
 and Geoff opened the package to reveal the new rudder
protected by layers and layers of bubble wrap.
No wonder it was so heavy.
The arrival of the rudder meant it was time for Beach House
to go on the hard again - the third haul out since July.
But it is what it is - necessary, and the only way to move forward.
We were ready.

Once hauled, work progressed slowly.
Boat parts and bits get ordered piecemeal and take 2-4 days
to come in from Grenada. And there are only so many workers
in the yard. As you’ll see in some of the pictures to come,
one chore can take all available hands,
and, much more time than expected.
It’s too hot to worry about it.

There were many projects to keep the captain busy.
Geoff hung the new rudder off the Beach House stern,
and put nine coats of epoxy paint on it,
putting us steps closer to installation. Sort of.

Back on the day Beach House was hauled, the yard unstepped
our mast. When the boat was surveyed last July,
one of the surveyor’s requirements was that
we check the base of the mast for suspected corrosion.
Any major corrosion issue would involve mucho dollar signs.

We are very happy to report that the corrosion was minor.
Geoff did some sanding and used some ‘aluminum-bonding-goop’
to seal the corroded spots.

Last step was spray painting and voila. Good as new.

At the top end of the mast, the halyard restrainer was worn
almost completely through to the end. The picture of the new one
on the right confirms the extent of the wear.
Geoff suspects that the restrainer is too low. Sounds logical
but our replacement source in Toronto says this amount of wear
is to be expected and means the restrainer is doing its job.
Needless to say, the captain will be keeping an eye on this.

And while the mast was so accessible, it was time to inspect,
clean, and polish the stainless bits. As with most work on
Beach House, the captain did the yeoman’s share and then some
– I help when I can and could do some of the stainless work.
More often I keep the home fires burning
or act as the scrub nurse, handing tools to the expert.

These before and after pictures say it all.

Beach House was beginning to sparkle.
Plus the busyness kept us from thinking about our bigger issues.

You may remember that we were replacing the rudder
because of electrolysis damage to the rudder shaft,
first noticed in July at Grenada Marine. Thanks, Ray.
No sarcasm - we really mean it. Thank you.

This damage extended to the through-hulls.
More arty looking photos show the extent
of the corrosion caused by the stray electricity.
Nolan worked with Geoff to remove the offending through-hulls,
working inside the boat removing the fittings,
and outside the boat, grinding away the corrosion.
The replacement fittings arrived from Grenada.
No prize will be awarded for spotting the new ones.
We’re planning to replace all the fittings next summer
with the new Marelon through-hulls.
These plastic options were unavailable to us this year.

When the rudder was removed, we noticed that
a repair, done prior to our ownership of Beach House,
had cracked and water was seeping. Ugh.
The skeg-to-hull joint had to be dried out
before the new rudder could be installed.
‘Slow’ (yup - that’s his name) went to work
grinding the base of the skeg back to fiberglass.

Dampness for sure – mildew.
We’ll revisit this dampness problem when we haul next
summer, possibly taking the entire hull back to fiberglass.
In the meantime, we left the skeg to dry out as much
as possible before ‘Slow’ built the fiberglass back up.
And check out that shiny prop. The captain is a whiz kid
when it comes to exterior boat cleaning.

Here’s the before picture.

And a new bit of voodoo that several boats in the yard were trying
this year. Cover the cleaned prop with permanent marker
to keep the marine growth to a minimum.
So much for the beautiful, shiny bronze -
but it never hurts to give something new a try.
Besides, it's underwater and I can't see
the ugly Darth Vader prop.

So. It was finally time for the main event – installing the rudder.
Edwin did the honours, driving the travel lift into position
to raise Beach House enough to get the rudder into place.

Damn thing wouldn’t go the final six inches.
 We held our breath for a day,
wondering if we were back to square one.

But with a little percussive assistance from Jorge,
we were good to go! Thank you to the rudder gods!
And Jorge, of course.

We were beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel
and this time it wasn’t a train.
‘Slow’ rolled on two coats of bottom paint and then it was time.
Splash day!!!

First the mast. It took 12 men to carry that sucker from its
resting place to the barrels where the crane would lift it.
Every worker in the yard, plus the owner, the manager,
and another cruiser or two, came to help.
All other work came to a halt. This kind of teamwork
happened all the time - everyone is patient
about making the 'job-of-the-moment' get done.
We learned to appreciate the 'small-town' feel of it all.

The crane was swung into position and Paul attached
the crane belt that would lift the mast.
Beach House waits patiently in the background.

The mast was lifted to upright then lowered again
– it had twisted and needed some adjustment.
But the second time was the charm.
Edwin mounted up again on the travel lift
and drove Beach House forward as the crane
lifted the mast into position.
Another half hour or so of fine-tuning and
the mast was stepped. The boys attached the rigging
and the travel lift rumbled to life one more time for us.
Looks like we had an escort as Beach House
headed to the water.

Floating again. Finally.
Remember Jackie Gleason's tag line? Oh yeah.
"How sweet it is!"
We had expected to be on the hard for 6-8 weeks.
Being back in the water after five and a half weeks
was definitely an early Christmas present.

We hope Santa is as good to you this year!


  1. Wow, m'dears - you've really earned your sundowners this year. Congratulations - Beach House looking dandy and devilish and good to go. Do let us know how your permanent marker solution as a prop antifoul, pans out, please.


  2. Oh god. I have a very vivid sense of everything you're going through. I put a link on our blog, so that if people ask how badly we miss cruising, I can just remind them that it's not all swanning around at the beach and drinking rum....mostly, but not all...Carry on!

  3. Hi Pat & Geoff, Congrats on all the work. Aragorn is hunkered down in Dun Laoghaire harbour, safe enough. We're having a lot of storms at the moment, we just had a new record high wave off the Irish coast yesterday of 20.6 metres, so our cruising is restricted to reading about yours! Keep up the good work on cruising and the blog!
    Happy Christmas,
    Pat & Catherine

  4. She floats!!! Hurray! We think she should be floating in Grenada where we can admire her up close. Good job guys. Beach House looks beautiful!

  5. These posts are great, pictures are worth a 1000 words and you write volumes......