Posted by: catamarantwooceans | October 19, 2017

Back in French Polynesia

12.10.17 – Thursday – My return to the boat was delayed by more than a month due to the sail drive saga. A few days before I left home I was told that it would be sent on a ship called Taporo on the 6th of the month and that it normally takes 5-6 days to reach Hiva Oa. That meant we might get to the boat together.

After landing in Hiva Oa I met Vincent near the small terminal. The man is originally an aviation mechanic and in addition to his boatyard he works for Air Tahiti, the only domestic airline in the country. He told me that the sail drive arrived the day before and that as S.O.P.O.M, the company which inspected the ruined drive, did not return it to Hiva Oa so the shock absorber needed to complete the assembly was missing. They want 350$ U.S for the work they had done; if I let them keep the drive – they would forgo that payment. Big joke! Just the diaphragms cost around 600$. I asked Vincent to try and bargain with them, insisting that they send the shock absorber and the diaphragms back.

Coming to the boat I was happy to see the drive in place but other things that I was told were already done were not even started, like sanding and preparing the hulls for painting. Now that I am here everything will start moving faster. The rest of the day was passed trying to put the boat in order, plan the necessary provisioning and do a lot of cleaning. There is a long list to be accomplished before we can refloat her.

13.10.17 – Friday – Jet lag hit me, waking me up at 0230. I passed the time reading my book – The Way to Paradise by Mario Vargas Llosa – which is partly about Paul Gauguin’s life in Polynesia. At 0500 I saw light outside and noticing there was no wind, decided to lower the old, torn jib. Having done that in the past several times the operation was quickly concluded and I continued to install the new one. Normally it is done by two people, one hoisting the sail and the other feeding the luff into the groove in the fore- stay profile; being alone on the boat meant that I had to run back and forth between the sail and the winch. By seven o’clock the job was done.

After breakfast I marched to Atuona, a walk of about 40 minutes, combining exercise with the necessity of doing some shopping. Took a taxi back and continued working on the boat. After lunch fatigue sent me to bed for an invigorating one hour snooze and then more work. Number one job was removing the old mainsail lazy-bag. Again, working alone required some improvisation, especially in the matter of distancing the mainsail from the boom. That task was finished close to 5 p.m so I decided to delay the installation of the new bag for the morrow. 

14.10.17 – Saturday – At 0515 I started installing the new lazy-bag and connecting the lazy-jacks to it; I finished by eight o’clock. Having promised the sail-maker in Israel to send him a picture showing his logo with Hiva Oa mountainous terrain in the background, I took the following picture. 

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Another important job had to do with my solar panels. On the way to Pitcairn Island we experienced a squall during which we took the mainsail down; part of the sail spilled out of the old lazy-bag, chaffed against corners of the solar panels resulting in some infuriating tears. To prevent such thing in the future I attached simple household furniture corner protection gismos; what’s good for one’s baby should be good for my sail!

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15.10.17 – Sunday – More work – cleaning the outside and then a part of the inside. I am looking forward to the coming work week hoping to see some real progress.

16.1017 – Monday – Again, very  early in the morning I was at work. I decided to install the starboard alternator, the one I home to repair and while doing it I tried to move the engine pulley and found that it was STUCK! What the F—! From home I asked Vincent twice whether the engine was turning freely after the drive was separated from it and both times he confirmed it did! Had he checked the engine himself he would have had four months to fix it! After I sounded the alarm, demanding fast action, Vincent and Willie, his mechanic, came to have a look. The result was that the engine was taken out to the shop, all the work done installing the drive was for nothing, as they had to take it out before dismantling the engine.

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                Tattooed Willie

Vincent worked hard into the late evening to release the seized motor and to make a list of the needed parts. At close to 10 p.m I had the list with the part numbers and sent it to Marine-Warehouse in Florida, requesting a speedy delivery by air. Let’s see how this turns out.

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                                       Vincent on the job

To be continued…

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