III - 2021 The work continues on Sailaway in the boat yard!
Well, after eight weeks of waiting we are eventually in the boat yard and the real work begins, unfortunately the next three days bring heavy rain! We had originally hoped to be in the yard for about four weeks in total, early findings shortly after will definitely extend that! Still we knew Sailaway was in a bit of mess, basically through neglect, two knee replacements followed by "Covid - 19", well that's our excuse! We must now just work through our "job list" and add to it as come across the unknown!
Due to a need to return urgently to the UK, a regrettable family issue, our project is brought to a halt mid May. We weather proof Sailaway and return to the UK for an unknown period. One never knows what challenges life will throw at you, I am a firm believer that your character evolves from "how" you deal with those challenges!
Please read on:-
To view our previous log entries please use the following link:
II - Sailaway Logbook 2021 - We leave Carloforte for Cagliari and Sailaway's lift-out.
Log Entry - Wednesday 12th May - Eventually we arrive back in the UK.
Once at Calais we clear the authorities, and in time board. As per our trip last August we are granted a free breakfast, coffee/teas included. The ferry appears empty, mainly freight which again is understandable, the breakfast and drinks go down extremely well. Its a short trip, 1 hour 40 minutes.
We arrive in Dover as scheduled, raining obviously, next stop about 3 hours to Northampton, our Dartford toll paid in advance the trip is completely uneventful, just as we like it! We have, realistically a few challenging months ahead of us, the return to Sailaway completely unknown at this stage.
Log Entry - Tuesday 11th May - We arrive in France as scheduled, 750 miles to complete, lots of rain and wind forecast for the next couple of days.
We arrive with the welcoming weather as expected, we clear the authorities and their requirements and head north to Calais, our ferry to Dover at 0915 tomorrow morning.
Photographs not our priority, the Alps I always find an interesting sight. We eat and sleep as needed in motorway rest areas, it takes us 22 hours hours to cover the 763 miles, ferry to ferry terminal - nothing more to be said?
Log Entry - Monday 10th May - Well, we are ready to lock up Sailaway and begin our journey back to the UK.
We have Sailaway as secure as possible in the time we have, there is still risk, especially depending on how long we are away, we manage those risks. All seats, mattresses etc are stood up to hopefully assist them from water ingress should it happen? Everything is stored below best possible, clothing, cushions etc protected with black plastic sacks - we have done our best. The car is packed and ready to go, we have our Covid tests (at a cost of €78) to undertake, all documentation is completed, ferry tickets printed etc. The UK entrance/quarantine tests at a cost or £330 cannot be purchased until tomorrow when we complete the UK Our plan is to utilise the same Covid certification for France and entrance to the UK. To avoid quarantine in France we have declared status as "in transit" with the French Government, our declarations complete for Italy, France and the UK - what a necessary "pain in the butt!"
As Ann finishes down below, I pack the car, we plan to leave for our vaccination about 0900 and pick up a few things for our trip, we are well prepared and leave a little earlier to have an early coffee. We are on the road north by 1100 hours, Covid certification, provisions and all.
We arrive at Porto Torres and have a couple of hours to kill before boarding, no problem, we have a look around the local beach area. We have stayed over night here three times and used the port multiple times so we know the town and port fairly well
We board as scheduled, the ferry sails as scheduled, considering the amount of documentation you have to present. The fact that there is only about 12 - 15 private vehicles on this boarding, numerous freight obviously. The over fact is that for obvious reasons the ferry is , or appears empty.
Log Entry - Sunday 9th May _ Good and bad news!
Well the welded repairs to the deck are taking great shape, in my opinion anyway - that's clearly what matters! I have marked the plate areas to remind me what is actually completed, be aware I am not wearing my glasses! The two coats of paint hide a multitude of sins as they say! Photographs are getting less and less as our minds become more occupied with what lies ahead.
We are now in a position to place all of the items temporarily stored on deck, unfortunately rain has penetrated a couple of the containers some time ago - I must confess I had never checked. We loose 6 fuel filters, 2 engine oil filters, a spare alternator and water pump show signs of stiffness and corrosion. I quickly investigate the salvage of the pump and alternator but in view of what we have going on we decide to dis guarded all - less room to find below deck! As I sit writing this in the UK that is a decision I now regret I should have brought the pump and alternator back with us and at least tried the repair? Still, unfortunately one cannot turn the clock back!
Log Entry - Saturday 8th May - Work continues, but we take an hour off on the way back from "Brico" the hardware store.
On the way back from Brico, the hardware store, we treat ourselves to a coffee on "Via Roma." Our ferry is booked to France on Monday evening from Porto Torres, as are our qualifying Covid tests in the morning. The tests are hear locally, Porto Torres is on the north coast of Sardinia. The break turns into a couple of hours as we discuss our work plan and what lays ahead. Well deserved break we believe.
Log Entry - Wednesday 5th May - We bash on with the work on the aft section of the deck..
Well, it's easy to see from the pictures, the spots of corrosion and loose paint is removed, leaving only a "good" base. Even under the circumstances we are meticulous with the exercise, hopefully we will not have to repeat this excessive! We are still unsure as to why so much of the paint has lifted, we put it down to the years of neglect to the deck paintwork, one may argue "with good reason" but that would be just an excuse.
We have our daily visits from our friend, it's extremely difficult not to be tempted to feed him/her, I should at least confirm it's sex from one of my books. Feeding would create another problem!
Log Entry - Sunday 2nd May - We receive some bad news, a change of plans, make Sailaway as weather proof as possible and return to the UK!
We receive an upsetting telephone call, one of our daughters is admitted into the local Accident & Emergency Hospital Department - Cancer! The situation is confusing enough, little is said as I stand and access our position. Sailaway is no where near a position to leave and expect to return to anything usable, or salvageable? We discuss options, does Ann return on her own and I follow, or do we dive in together, seal her up and return together. After a day of updates over numerous calls, we have a slightly better understanding of the position, we opt for the latter - we are to dive in together, seal Sailaway up and return to the UK for an unknown period.
We now have a plan formulated, apart from the many holes in the deck due to removed items, we opt to reseal all of the windows. The UV and years time have made their mark, we have a complete replacement set down below decks but the mounting faces require work and painting so the only fast option is to "over seal" to try and ensure they keep the water out? The problematic areas are attacked one by one, in the fastest most effective manor, each item considered separately depending on state etc?
We also need to carefully plan our our route and the conditions under which we can take the ferry from Sardinia and transit across France. There is then the UK entrance criteria plus quarantine etc.
Log Entry - Friday 30th April - We continue the work on deck structure, both above and below decks.
The fore deck now has all three vents fitted along with our diesel fire's chimney, the surface now has two of the three coats of paint on too. The third coat will be applied when all of the rework is complete so as not to damage it during that process as we work around the deck. The third coat will also contain the "non slip additive" ensuring that the deck is completely safe even when wet. As I work on the upper deck surface, Ann prepares and paints the underside areas, especially around the vents as those areas sustain the most damage from condensation etc.
When comparing the old and new surfaces it is amazing, a fantastic visual incentive to compliment the hard work it's taken us to get to this stage. A welcomed site, it's now two weeks in the yard with barely a "day of rest!"
We seem to have gained a friend, this bird must spend a few hours each day on it's perch watching us, surprising as we do not feed them so as not to encourage their visits. It's clear that some have nests on nearby vessels, you can regularly see them arrive and disappear into various hiding holes.
In this lift-out we are to attack corrosion in the cockpit front, we discovered this "rotten area" probably over ten years ago, the result of poor initial build. The cockpit had initially had a sealed wooden section, unfortunately not sealed enough as water would get to the internals with no way out. This time we will cut out the front corroded sections and replace them, templates are made first to ensure we can repeat the apertures through which several ropes pass through to both the deck and mast.
Further corrosion and lifting paintwork is attacked on what we have called the "upper deck" the aft cockpit vents are removed and the surface prepared for the new paint.
Log Entry - Monday 26th April - A little more preparation, then the first of three coats of paint go on, what a difference!
After a nights rest upon further inspection this morning we decide to sand further, a little more preparation will not hurt at all. It also gives us the opportunity to try out our two new orbital sanders, both of our old ones have failed us, the Velcro bases finally giving up. A search early in the week revealed that our 15 year old sanders were no longer supported, so two replacements were ordered via our Amazon.it account - they work quite well!
Painting then begins, we have decided to apply the recommended two coats for quality of covering and rust protection, a third and final coat with non slip additive will be applied before we launch. At this time the deck fitting will all be in place, sanding and welding completed.
It is extremely motivating to see the progress as this first coat of paint is put down, it's amazing to see the visual difference on deck. The second coat will be put down the day after tomorrow allowing plenty of time for the paint to dry.
Log Entry - Sunday 25th April - We decide to move onto the upper deck and begin to prepare it for painting.
We had already removed most of the fittings from the deck as we were waiting to be lifted out - our trusty "Duct Tape" had kept the internals dry. We remove all of the stored items from the deck and store it to the stern (the back) of Sailaway and then remove all of the tape covering the resulting holes left by the removed fittings. We begin by attacking the rust and loose paintwork with what ever is needed, grinder, sanders and even a hammer in some of the worst areas?
The remaining fittings, rails and chimney for our diesel heating are removed, soon all the decks cleared and then finally prepared for painting. There is so much debris and dust it is too late in the day to paint so we leave that until tomorrow.
Log Entry - Saturday 24th April - As we work on the known issues, other "pop up!"
There is a known statement used widely in the boating world, "One job always turns into three!" We have a high degree of corrosion around both, port and starboard fuel filler caps, I start on the starboard side first. Once the cap assembly is removed the level of corrosion is clear, I had assumed it would need "plating" so suitable, pre-drilled plates are ready to go straight on. First I cut away the corrosion until good steel is evident and then prepare for the welding of the new plates. It's years since I last welded and even then I was not much good, well, practice makes perfect!
The interior area, including the diesel tank access is protected with a fire blanket, Ann is on fire watch, just in case.
All goes well, my first weld is far from "pretty" but I make progress, and for sure it is watertight. As far as "fire damage" damage from burning paint is the most we suffer. That's fine as both internal and external areas will receive at least three coats of good paint - this area will now out last us for sure, especially with the corrosion removed completely.
Once the area is dressed and cleaned up it does not look too bad, especially from a distance. The first coat of new paint really shows what can be achieved with a little hard work!
Log Entry - Thursday 22nd April - The showers do not look likely today, so we continue on the hull.
When in the yard, working probably 8-10 hours a day you forget what is around you - or rather you fail to appreciate it! A gull, with a fish too large to swallow, having to protect it against other scavengers, fellow gulls, or the feeding cormorants, drying off after their breakfast?
The hull work continues, unfortunately, we discover holes in our hull as we do so in a couple of areas. Nothing major as we were not taking in water before the lift out but work that needs to be undertaken by professionals. We mark off those areas and continue rubbing down and priming, we have asked the boatyard for a quotation - doubt if we will ever see that!
Log Entry - Wednesday 21st April - We continue with our work schedule in our new permanent home!
We had started on the hull again this morning then about 0900 we are told that we are being moved into a more permanent position. I asked what time, the reply was now, clearly that's "Sardinian now!" Eventually the guys turn up, start the travel hoist motor up and move us to a suitable position,
we begin work sanding back and priming the hull, tomorrow a further couple of days of showers, Ann takes the starboard front side and I continue down the port side.
We had set a target of beginning to prepare for painting around 1600 hours, that's what we do. We clean the dust off using our vacuum cleaning in reverse to blow off the dust, it seems to work quite well! Then we tape the area's off to clearly define as to where we have completed the rub down.
I must say, after standing back and gazing at what we have achieved today it feels quite rewarding, still lots more to do, around the weather of coarse!
Log Entry - Sunday 18th April - Well the forecast was not wrong, it forecast three days of rainfall, two passed, one left!
As they say here "when it rains, it rains!" fortunately for us all but the heaviest down pours dry up pretty quickly. We have had two days of working around the rain, yesterday we managed about three hours work in total, little more than that today.
We are still adjusting to dry land, climbing 3.5 meters up a ladder every time you need something, still it passes the time. We spend the rainy periods shopping for groceries and any other items we find we need, after all we are still settling in to the yard, the work and it's needs.
Our roles are focused on removing the anodes and all forms of remaining plant life, shell fish and plant growth that the power wash left behind. Slow work as we work by hand, we do not want to use sanding machines as they will expose further bare metal to the rain and atmosphere causing further bare patches to rust. If the forecast stays the same we will sand the remaining surfaces flat and get the first of two coats of epoxy paint onto the steel hull, fingers crossed! We will then move onto the next set of work as the hull will be prepared and ready.
Unfortunately I forgot to utilise the hood of my overalls the result being a blue shading to my hair, makes me look quite distinguished I believe!
Log Entry - Thursday 15th April - Eventually our lift-out, 8 weeks and 1 day after our arrival?
To Summarise: This period has been one of the most frustrating periods of our lives, especially the last five weeks in particular. Promise after promise of a lift-out, then a cancellation at the last moment, with a good excuse of coarse. It is clear now from their "lift-out procedure" there was never any real intention to lift us at all, the fact that they felt, we could be managed in this manor is a true insult of intelligence! We have seen boat after boat lifted and even relaunched, ourselves clearly at the end of the cue. Last week, clearly far over due, an almost "loss of control of emotion" was experienced by myself, a position mostly unknown to me. Unable to converse our displeasure in fluent Italian, it was done in writing, it seemed to receive attention, well here we are at last and we must now look forward. We were again pledged a lift on Monday, which failed to happen, the crane driver failed to turn in to work, eventually the Marina/Yard Manager stepping in to lift us today, why not Monday?
In latter weeks, unfortunately we took a couple of the early lift-out pledges as "real" running out of time, trying to save time in the yard, we stripped a lot of the deck fittings from the deck. Our biggest problem now is that for the last week three days of heavy rain has been forecast, it starts tomorrow - the grey duct tape indicates resulting holes in our deck where we now have great exposure to leaks?
It's approaching 0945 hours so we slip our lines and reverse out of our berth, we are to be in the lifting area at 1000 hours. Even the local cormorant cannot believe we are actually heading towards the cranes lifting area?
There is a sailboat being dropped back into the water, we can see the engine is running but guys are up and down from below deck, clearly checking something down below? In time all is good and the sailboat leaves and we take up position against the wall.
Although 15 minutes late to the dock, our lift is delayed a further 10 minutes or so as the skipper who's boat it is being launched brings the lifting crew cakes! I hope they do not expect the same from us? We take position on a nearby wall to watch and photograph the lift. I am called back on board to help the crew establish the position where the propeller shaft exits the hull as an incorrect position of the lifting straps can cause massive damage. It takes only a few minutes to take one of the crew down below, lift a floor panel and show him the exit point of the shaft relative to the windows. Off they go with positioning the straps, off I go to rejoin Ann on the wall.
We watch Sailaway being pulled back to the road and along to the boatyard, where while held in the slings Sailaway is power washed to remove any growth and a lot of the remaining anti-foul. Sailaway is left in the hydraulic travel unit, her cradle positioned below, I enquired as to where her resting place would be but I did not get an answer - perhaps it unknown? Still we settle in, run hoses to 20 litre containers draining our galley sink and shower. A high and dry, home from home!
The first night in the yard is interesting, we are the only ones in here, we are reminded about the dogs. They keep two dogs in a cage in the far corner of the yard, each night between the hours of 1830 - 1930 the two dogs are allowed to roam free - they are joined by the younger of the three dogs kept in the marina. To us it appears that almost for the full hour, the three dogs in hour yard, flex their muscles and bark at the two dogs in the next yard and vice versa?