Boatwork in quarantine

When we bought Space Oddity we had plans to sail to Brazil and then haul the boat there, somewhere better equipped than here in the remote south of Chile; but it became clear we’d have to do something about the weeds on the bottom anyway, or we wouldn’t be travelling too speedily. We decided to haul in Puerto Williams eventually; then the start of lockdown shut down such ideas for a while. We were able to haul in late April, once restrictions had relaxed partially. This left the last of the early-autumn sunny days, after which the weather turned wintry.

Yacht in travel lift

Boat maintenance: how to stay busy through the quarantine…

After being lifted in the small fishing port of the city, we started on boat maintenance, cleaning off all that flourishing sealife initially. We then sanded to prepare to put antifoul paint on the surface. From the limited selection which was available, we’d bought Hempel antifouling (Gean had used this before). Some time went by waiting for paint to dry when it was chilly.

Cleaning keel of sealife

Mast lowering (fun activity for everybody)

Our steel boat has varnished wooden masts; a somewhat uncommon combo, if certainly pretty. We wanted to re-varnish them to avoid rot due to water entry, and decided to lower them so as to work on them in the shed here. We lowered the mainmast with a ‘gin pole’ system shown below in pictures (click to scroll these), and with a few extra people to pull on ropes, now that lockdown rules had relaxed slightly. Our masts are on pivots to make such lowering (more or less) possible. Next we would leave the masts while we went to the comfort of our berth nearby.

Even with low temperatures and bad weather and the like, we were done in two weeks with all of the above, with a rare lack of real setbacks on the whole. We looked forward to being in the water before the snows came.

Yacht with lowered mast

And then, the twist…

Gean had been inspecting our variable-pitch propeller; as he reassembled it an elderly bolt broke, with our relaunching scheduled for the subsequent day. This part’s imperial measure made it irreplaceable locally; we had to have one forged in far-off Punta Arenas, which was still in full quarantine. It was an extra month before the bolt arrived on the ferry. Now we’ve only got to find the travel-lift guy…

In the end we’ve been two months on the hard, which is colder (as well as pricier!) than the water, though this year the snowstorms aren’t too early. Perhaps we could still be in the water before they come?

Boat from hillside

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One thought on “Boatwork in quarantine

  1. Juana Laloca

    That looks like an interesting way to lower a mast! I’ve never seen that done.

    My first boat had a deck-stepped mast with a nice galvanised tabernacle. It was easy enough to lower it with the boat afloat, with the people manning the ropes standing on the jetty. But in your case, the people would have had nowhere to stand…

    Having enough helpers is crucial, even when you’re afloat and can do it the easy/direct way. I once saw a chap lower his mast on his own. Or rather, I heard him.
    Ouch.
    (He saved himself the expense of having the yard take the mast down, but he had to repair the cabin top and buy a new pushpit.)

    Maamari’s masts were also deck-stepped, btw. Make sure the compression strut is actually directly under the mast….. (Therein hangs a tale, and it was an expensive tale and could have been a fatal tale.)

    Like

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