On this side of the world … While David's working hard on the boat in South Africa, it hasn't been all fun and games here in Boston, although what I'm doing definitely beats polishing stainless. Apart from socializing with my sister and friends, my jobs have been to write and publish the Christmas newsletter, get Christmas cards and gifts sent out to family and, the hardest part of all, gather together boat parts and bits to transport back to Africa. This is not always as easy as you might think.
In many cases, David has specified and ordered parts online and had them delivered. I just have to accept them, make sure they're what was ordered and figure out a way to get them all packed into two duffel bags and still have room for my underwear. Despite the fact I have internet and a car at my disposal, it's been hard locating some of the parts and quite time-consuming.
A “for instance”? An o-ring for the windlass. We purchased a windlass back in August in Australia, if you'll remember. Evidently an o-ring was not seated properly when we received it and got squished and subsequently broke after a couple of uses. We had purchased a repair kit ($150) which included one o-ring among other bits, but now we've used it and wanted a spare. Well, they're not to be found. I've gone to plumbing supply stores, hardware stores, Home Depot, Lowe's. I'm still on the prowl, but it's been a challenge. In the meantime, the clock is ticking and the duffels are quickly filling up.
On the other side of the world ...
Here in Durban, I have been under the gun doing a lot of time critical stuff. There are many very skilled people here – machinists, sailmakers, canvas fabricators and other tradesmen. In addition, the rand is soft against the dollar right now, and we are finding the cost of getting things done is quite reasonable, especially compared to what things cost in Australia. So, the to-do list is longer than just the needed repairs. We are getting a new staysail, new bimini and dodger, and perhaps new upholstery below. I also plan to attach a generator to the prop shaft so we can generate power as we sail. This has been on my list for a long time, and I now have the opportunity to get the necessary brackets and fixtures made.
A complication is that most of the local businesses and their suppliers close shop over the Christmas holidays, more or less from Dec 15th to as late as Jan 10th. Many of the smaller businesses and the individual tradesmen don't all take such long vacations, but they may not be able to get the materials they need during this period. So I have been working at getting drawings made and parts on order before the summer holiday begins.
I also need to get the parts on order for Marcie to bring back. Everything needs to be received by Dec 24th, and I don't want to wait until the last minute and have to pay for expedited shipping.
In between these things, I've been knocking off a few items on the repairs list... the anchor shaft has been straightened, most of the whisker pole repairs are done (I'm waiting on fabrication of a part), the alarm/indicator panel is done, the jib halyard has been replaced, as well as a host of smaller tasks.
I also drank my last bottle of home-brewed beer last night. Fortunately, I had enough ingredients for one more batch, and it is brewing as I write. It will be ready for bottling in a few more days and drinkable in another week or so, but in the meantime, the yacht club bar is only a short walk away where the ambiance is pleasant, the yachties friendly and the beer is cheap.