Boat Repairs Generally Turn Out Bigger Than Wanted

Shot from Tahina's mast of Prickly Bay, Grenada anchorageYesterday we went to the Fedex place first thing in the morning to pick up the furling unit sent to replace our broken furling drum. We had to take a bus over to St. Georges (the main city in Grenada) to get to Fedex. Once there, the guy asked if I had the proper paperwork – which I did. He then got out the receipt and said unfortunately I would have to go back to Prickly Bay to get customs to fill out a form. Oh great. I started to walk out the door and saw the nearby yacht club – which I knew had a customs office. So, I walked over there and went to customs and explained I had a part arriving. He got me a form, signed off and stamped it, and sent me back. That was easy! So, I went back and paid a small $35 EC fee on my “duty free” part (there’s always some kind of fee down here). I happily had the package and headed back to the boat.

I won’t go into all the details here. But, with the help of my new friend Gord from Ascension, we started the operation to get the old unit off. We were going to need to take the sail off we thought to lessen the weight so we could get the drum off. So, we re-anchored near the eastern shore of the anchorage. When we unfurled the sail and attempted to lower the sail, it wouldn’t come down. That was not a good thing. We looked up and Gord spotted that two of the several pieces of metal that make the “slide” for holding the luff of the sail into the furling unit (called extrusions) were not connected properly. The screws connecting the parts apparently had come out. As a result, the sail luff was getting caught in the now uneven slide, and had been chewed up in the sailing since it had happened. So, we were going to have to take the whole forestay down.

It ended up taking several hours as we puzzled out the best way to get it down. We actually talked to the local marina and boatyards, but neither had a good spot available at the moment to park Tahina so we could use a dock to get the sail down. But, we ultimately decided to do it at anchor, laying it on Tahina’s deck, with the help of a dinghy and a third set of hands. Before sunset we had it down on the deck, but still couldn’t get the sail off. Looking at the extrusion, it appeared we were going to have to get it replaced/repaired. And, the sail is going to need repairs! Ugh. So, today (Wednesday), I’m going to the sail rigging shop to see if they have the time and parts needed to get this job done quickly.

We need to get out of here by the end of the week or we’re going to really have to rush to meet our guests in Aruba on the 9th of February.

I owe a big debt of gratitude (at least lots of drinks and food) to GB of Djarrka and Gord of Ascension.

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5 Responses to Boat Repairs Generally Turn Out Bigger Than Wanted

  1. Fred Burke says:

    What a mess this sounds like. I hope you guys can get it straightened out today (or tomorrow at the worst).

  2. Chris Myles says:

    Hey Frank,
    I said you should meet my friends (Gord and GB) NOT put them to work :)
    Welcome to the cruising community. If you tried to explain to most people (in the “real world”) that two strangers you just met spent a good part of a day helping you (for free with no expectations) they would probably be confused (and jealous?).
    I actually described that sense of community during a social media brainstorming meeting I had yesterday.
    Good luck with the repairs
    Here’s my post on your rendezvous.

  3. Frank Taylor says:

    @Chris: I’m really thankful for the introduction. We had Djarrka and Ascension over to dinner tonight. They had never played on a Wii before, so I got to introduce them to that as well as show them some of my gadgets and photography. It was a good time.

  4. Phyl Ramsay says:

    Frank – been following your trip since day one and love the photos and panoramas. Also hats off to the both of you for your sense of adventure. My only question so far deals with Tahina. She obviously is a very expensive craft and one would think that the mechanical issues with the furler, water pump, winch etc. would be somewhat less on a top of the line vessel. I realise boats require constant maintenance yet I wonder if you still are pleased with the St. Francis 50 or is it a bit early to tell?

  5. Frank Taylor says:

    @Phyl; The problem with the furler was kind of unexpected. However, Tahina has already sailed over 13,000 nautical miles. The loads on the sails for a boat this size are tremendous. St. Francis chose the proper-sized model and features for a boat of this size. It appears in this case that there was a manufacturing defect in the material of the drum. The company who makes the furler, Profurl, quickly offered a warranty replacement and shipped it to us directly. We are very pleased with our St.Francis 50 catamaran over all. Any cruiser will tell you that things break on a boat through-out its life. I’m sure as we continue on our journey, the smaller repairs will not even make it on the blog as we concentrate on our travel experiences. But, early on during the trip, they seem quite significant to us since we’re still new to some of these jobs.

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