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Ushuaia update 12

Wednesday 2nd March - New boom and staysail furler in place...!

A busy weekend with lots of unexpected help from Nick Koot (in Ushuaia from the Netherlands) who happened to pass by two Sunday afternoons ago, saw the broken boom, heard the new one was expected soon and, with time to spare, offered his help .... Thanks a lot, Nick!   I finished dismantling the box containing the sprayhood & other items before we set to on Saturday ... After careful photos and measurements of lazyjack and other fixtures, the old broken boom was finally removed to the marina workshop by Nick and French cruiser Noel (of 'Enez')

.... and the job of removing fittings and preparing the new boom began - my electric drill came in very handy! Of course, not having done this before, every hole drilled was checked several times beforehand and careful thought was given to positioning of the lazyjacks, since I wanted to change them slightly.... They had been spliced into position originally, so that added a further complication to the proceedings. Danny, one of the marina workers here, was his usual helpful self on the odd occasion when we needed his help in removing difficult old fittings - his electric angle grinder came in very handy at times, too.

By Sunday the boom was placed in position (that made me beam at everyone - I felt really good!)...


and we turned our attention to the new furling system over Monday..... With Alain's help ('Uhambo'), the careful measuring and then cutting of the foil and wire was done - but a problem reared its head when he found it impossible to fit the lower fitting onto the cut wire.... Some wrong fittings had carelessly been sent by Seldén (Sweden) - for 7mm, not 8mm, wire..... unbelievable! Fortunately, my spares kit included emergency rigging fittings - among them the required 8mm fittings, so after a lot of wasted time and effort, and having finally to use one of the old 8mm bits, the furling system was finally completed and ready to be hoisted into place.

Climbing the mast to take down the old furling staysail system had given me the chance to try out my gri-gri and mountain-climbing harness as a safety back-up (I'd had it for a long time without making use of it when free-climbing the mast using the steps). The gri-gri, on a strong loop connected to my harness, was attached to the spinnaker halyard and I slid it up as I ascended,... and slid it down as I came down .... If I were to fall, it would only allow me to fall a very short distance before holding me securely from the halyard. While I worked at removing the split pin holding the clevis pin at the top of the furler in place, I attached myself via another, longer loop to the top spreader and was then able to sit in my harness - very comfortable!

I nearly gave up removing the split pin several times, but after having a couple more tools passed up to me, I finally managed to remove it, only to find removing the clevis pin also got difficult ... but I got it out eventually and then the wire, with its surrounding foil, was lowered down, to be placed on the dock and the job of measuring started. The staysail wire had always been far too loose, since first installed, so now was my chance to make the wire and foil a touch shorter than before, to avoid a repeat of that situation. I also found that it was adjustable to an extent - so can adjust it in Cape Town when the wire has possibly stretched a bit with use.

Darrel of 'Spirit of Sydney' holds the new foil ready to hoist :

While up the mast to fix the new foil in place, I took the chance to take photos of the view!!

The furler drum was fitted last and the sail is waiting for a suitably calm day - it's been gusting to well over 40 knots here today!! So this morning I removed the wooden hatch and side pieces (again!) - after a friend had knocked it hard and loosened the screws on the slider, making them catch with a loud screeching noise when sliding.... that job took a time and then l did some other smaller jobs down below. Yesterday, I'd also finally placed the mended carbon pole in place, after varnishing over the repaired area and then replacing the newly-repaired cover - with some hand-stitching needed where the zip wouldn't close.

Thursday morning I went to the Prefectura where my permit from Argentina to sail to the (British!) Falklands and S. Georgia was awaiting me - official Julieta was extremely helpful finding it where it was buried. The point is that if I visit Argentina again in the future, due to a new law recently passed, they will levy an enormous fine if I hadn't got this permit from them before visiting.... C'est la vie....

In the afternoon, metal-worker Gaspar turned up with the windscreen (after repeated calls and messages left.....at last!) Unfortunately, the windows need adjusting before they can be fitted, so more time needed - early next week? So on with other jobs in the meantime.... Actually feeling I'm heading to the finish now, although lots still to do to make the boat 'ship-shape' and ready for sailing away.

Have organized a 'fuel run' for Friday morning, along with several others here. Not exactly convenient, needing a truck to be hired to bring the fuel in drums from the far end of town to the start of the long jetty walkway, from where the drums have to be moved to the dock by pushing them on a cart to reach the boat ....but a borrowed big pump and long hose will make it easier to empty the 200 litre drum of fuel I need to fill my tank.

Written by : Mike

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