The window project in question, by the way, is the complete replacement of Tackless II's large salon windows. The original windows, each a slanted parallelogram about 17" x 41", were tempered glass in aluminum frames. Over the years the frames have deteriorated from electrolysis from their own fasteners and begun to leak…the worst leak being right over the nav station where our nav computer used to sit! Don has had two of the four windows out several times in an effort to reseal them, but in truth, every time the frames came out, things just got worse. Some of our sister-ships (see www.soggypaws.com) have dealt with the problem by removing the old windows and frames and replacing them with Lexan. The problem with Lexan is that any kind of fastener mounted through the Lexan has the potential to crack it in response to flex. Most modern production boats, however, use the Lexan without fasteners thanks to new space-age sealants. Brian of Baobab Marine persuaded us that he could retrofit Tackless with this kind of installation, mating together ½" ledges routed out of both the Lexan and the cabin top.
We pulled back in to Vuda on Sunday afternoon…a hot sultry Sunday afternoon. Since it is inappropriate in Fiji to do visible work on Sundays, we spent that first afternoon with friends listening to "jazz" over chilly beers at the Vuda Yacht Club. We regretted that decision Monday when we woke to rain. Rain was not something we had factored into the equation. Not only could Baobab not get started on the windows, but we couldn't get started on getting the sails down and the boat packed away. The forecast, once we finally checked it, looked bad for the whole week!
Mother Nature took pity on us and, ignoring the forecasts, sent us a pocket of blue sky and hot sunshine on Tuesday. Don and I were up early, hoisting all the sails and draping wet canvas all around the boat to dry in the ever-so-slight breeze. Miraculously (and with a little help from our friend Tricky), we managed to get everything dry enough to drop, fold, and pack up! In the afternoon they moved us to another "slip" where it would be easier for the Baobab Marine guys to work on the windows, but nothing got started and by 10pm it was raining again! We were beginning to feel discouraged.
It wasn't until Wednesday afternoon that work finally got started. Don and I had gotten two windows out first thing that morning, but the Baobab guy with the router didn't show show up until after lunch. Unfortunately, once he did get to work, despite his careful prep, with fiberglass dust flying the boat became an unpleasant place to be. Fortunately, I had used the wait time well to clean out and pack up the cupboards, the fridge, the salon and our clothes lockers, to cover the bookshelves in plastic and bag up the TV, printer and stereo, and to seal off the forward and aft cabins. The good news is that Baobab Marine has storage and they did take away our sails, our life-raft, the two kayaks and the fuel jugs before the rain! With these bulky items out of the way the boat will be far easier to clean up afterthe fiberglass work not to mention far less congested while stored
Don and I spent much of my last two days in Fiji hiding out from the noise and the dust. Progress seemed very slow, and by the time I was ready to take the taxi to the airport Friday evening, only one side of the cabin top was ready for Lexan. It was disappointing to leave without seeing the finished results. Don was booked to fly back the following Friday. With the weekend upon us and the haul scheduled for Tuesday, things were not looking good for him keeping to the plan. Not only had we wanted the window project done before we left, but we'd wanted to see the boat hauled and get the results back on a planned moisture test on the hull. In fact we intended to be on hand to see Tackless placed into her pit (next to a half dozen good friends) for cyclone season storage. However, the moisture test (and our strong suspicion that we had a serious osmosis issue) complicated things. The moisture test required the boat to sit out and air dry for at least a week, and if the test results came back as we feared, then the bottom's barrier coat and gelcoat would have to peeled off, any blisters opened up to dry, and the hull washed with fresh water daily for several weeks to draw out the moisture that has accumulated in the resins before she could be moved into her pit. Even as I was taking my leave, Don was realizing that, despite his inclinations, he was probably going to have to leave at least some of this to Baobab to do.
Lest anyone think too unkindly about my leaving poor Don on his own in the yard, let me point out he was last seen squiring two women off to the weekly half-price pizza night. Marinas and boatyards are rarely lonely places for sociable cruisers!