Monday, June 29, 2015

It feels like going down the rapids

My assistant, Prince, had fun with the Karcher, spreading degreaser
I rafted the Owen falls rapids in Uganda three times. That is enough to have you certified. The major rapid is called Silverback, and you have the whole Nile river going through about 30 meters of channel. It looks awesome from the top, and there is really no way to chicken out and walk back. And when you start going down, there is a moment, as the stream begins to take you and the river makes a hump before you, when you wonder if this was a good idea.

The work on Dreamtime is at a similar point. We did a major degreasing today, washing the whole hull about four times, partly because I tripped over the bucket just when we had washed out most of the degreaser, and spilled a whole lot of fresh, expensive degreaser back into the hull, so we had to wash that out again.

And scrubbing the interior. 
Tomorrow morning I have to get up early to collect the compressor and fill it and the jerry can with diesel. The sandblaster and the spray painter will be there around nine, and then we start.

Once sandblasted we have only a few hours grace before we have to have the paint on. Now, the first problem is: Sandblasting should take about three days. Do we interrupt the blasting and paint when half is done, and risk damaging the primer with the next lot of blasting? Do we trust that the rust will give us time?

One power cord. Two hosepipes to drain the water, one to put fresh water in.
Result: one almighty tangle. They say it has to do with string theory.
Pretoria has beautiful sandblasting weather in May. Cold, dry, clear. But we were not ready. In fact we should have been ready last year in May, but things got complicated. Last weekend we had a cold front move through, which brought some moisture. Fog in the mornings, especially the low lying areas. This morning the hull was wet, even under the old swimming pool cover I have over her. So, no possibility of waiting overnight.

And I have only half the paint I ordered. Which should be OK for the first coat, but... It was promised for tomorrow. Insh'Allah.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Are we ready yet?

Something is dripping ...
And another three weeks have gone. Weeks of grinding drainage holes: Mark Twain told of a steamboat that was like a politician: the whistle used more steam than the boiler could supply so when the whistle blew the boat stopped, like a politician who, when his mouth opened his brain stopped. Well, I have a political die grinder. It works like a charm, for two minutes, then the little compressor has to run for five minutes to catch up. So imagine, if you will, me grinding away for two minutes, then I climb down the ladder to drill holes, grind seams, or do whatever, The moment the compressor stops I am back up the ladder, grind for two minutes....

No, leaking!
The last bit of rewelding of seams had a story to them. Isaac called me to show that they could not weld the central seam, as there was water dripping out where Kenzo had ground it out.
Supports are rewarded

Awkward welding of a support under the side deck

Rudder fittings go on.
So I drilled a little hole.... The closed compartment where the mast support rests was not as closed as it should have been, and was full of rain water. I cut four 50mm holes in it in order to be able to see the hull, which is what I had asked for in the beginning.

I also drilled all the holes where rivnuts must go to 9mm, took out the waste and water tanks and drilled their mounting holes to 11mm for the 8mm rivnuts that will hold them. And today we had the last session of welding the rudder fittings on, and grinding the last sharp edges round. We did not quite finish that, so I have three days to do that when we are back from the coast.

Then the sandblasting and spray painting waits. A compressor is lined up, but I must do the paperwork and pay a deposit. The sandblaster is lined up and a deposit paid. The paint and degreaser is lined up and paid for, but I do not have a delivery date. Airless spray equipment is lined up, but must be checked. The most important element, though, is still missing: the spray painter. I have a name of someone highly recommended, who has worked at the factory before. They trust him on their equipment. But he does not answer his phone...

Thanks to David for helping with the welding, and Bongani for grinding miles of seams and rounding hundreds of corners!

And to the Profection team: Isaac, Kenzo, Lucas and Thomas.

Stay tuned...