Preparations are moving along. But, not without some new hurdles popping up out of nowhere. We had a scary one on the weekend.
This weekend we discovered a problem that initially caused us grave concern. It appeared at first we had a major structural problem with the boat, but it turned out it was “just” a mistake made during manufacturing that made it look that way. The problem involves a long metal track slide that goes along one of the bows to hold up one of the two trampolines between the bows (mostly used by sun bathers, but also used for setting up sails during passages). The slides hold plastic “slugs” which are little square shaped “holes” that hold the lines which are connected to the trampoline mats. The slugs are designed to break if a large wave hits the mats (just one or two might break if the force is strong enough).
We had a little wave action on the trip when we came back from Beaufort weekend before last. But, not much. Until Saturday when we were doing some waxing of the bows and noticed the slide on one of the hulls had been pulled out about an inch! This should never happen because the slugs should give long before the hull should give way. I immediately jumped in the v-berth in the bow (this is on the port side), and saw that the washers on the bolts for the slide – which serve as a “backing plate” on the inside of the hull – were pulled through into the “wall” on the inside!
I had all sorts of visions of our having to do major fiberglass work, but I took some pictures and sent notes to the builder. He responded on Monday with a calming, but apologetic, voice. The issue isn’t structural. It turns out they put about an inch of insulation on the inside walls of the living spaces (to prevent condensation). Where these bolt washers went in place, someone was supposed to put a hard “spacer” against the inside of the hull, and THEN place the washer on top of that. But, instead they just stuck the washer on this thin shell of inner wall covering the “soft” insulation. Well, they held for the last 8000 miles, but gradually weakened. Then during our last trip, we finally broke through.
Needless to say, the builder has said we can get it fixed and he’ll pay for it. He even gave detailed instructions on the best way to make the repair. Now we have to find someone available on short notice to get the work done.
The good news is that this happened before we left. Once fixed, we’ll have great confidence the problem won’t happen again. We also have had no other issues of significance with the manufacturing of the boat, so our confidence isn’t greatly shaken.
I just wish it didn’t happen this close to the end of our preparations.