Saturday, 15 March 2008

Potential nightmare scenario 1

I have finally finished removing the green stripe from Monty's port side - hooray! Hours of sanding off revolting green paint by hand, whilst balancing precariously in Billy (the RIB) and getting soaked with freezing cold sea water have finally paid off. From the quay, the port aspect of Monty B looks strangely plain without its flamboyant green - but it is a big improvement.

However, the sense of fulfilment gained from a job well done has been over shadowed by my discovery whilst hull scrubbing yesterday. There appeared to be a large indentation in the hull, directly in line with the shrouds holding up our rig. Umm, that's a bit odd I thought. Hoping that it was a poor repair job from some previously undisclosed collision, I checked around the starboard side. Umm. This wasn't good; there was an identical bow in the hull on the other side. Coupled with the (seemingly ever increasing) dent in the deck around the mast step, this was irrefutable evidence that there was something going badly wrong with our boat. The pressures from the rig appear to have warped the structure of the boat. We had the rig tightened before leaving Greece.

A friend of ours, an ex-super yacht skipper and font of knowledge of all things marine, came to look at it today. Upon inspection, his expression was grim. He is arranging for the king of all things marine in Montenegro, the owner of the Kotor shipyard who has built boats for decades (as did his father and his father's father), to come along on Tuesday with an interpreter to cast a professional eye over the problem. We have also contacted Northwind - the boat builder - to see if they can shed any light on the problem.

We don't know the scale of the problem as yet or even what the underlying problem is. The rig could have been over tensioned but what is more likely, is that there is a structural weakness that has caused the hull to flex once the rig was tensioned up.

The upshot of all this is unknown but the outlook isn't too good. At best, we are going to have to shell out a great deal of cash to get this sorted. At worst, it is unfixable and we will have a boat that we can't sail and can't sell. And our dreams will be in tatters.

It is impossible to contemplate the latter until we know more.

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