Wednesday, 19 March 2008

The right place, the right time, the right people

This afternoon, "Kotor's best" trooped on board Monty B. Onlookers thought we were having a party but there was little fun to be had. The visitors included the owner of the Kotor shipyard, a boat surveyor, a translator, Tim's colleague who is extremely knowledgeable and our friend Dave (ex super yacht skipper) who had arranged it all.

The outcome, after much poking about and serious faces, is, as suspected, that the rig is too tight for the boat. The mast appears to be sinking which could, as you can imagine, have some serious consequences. Why the rig cannot take this level of tension is another matter. There is possibly some rot in the deck around the mast step. Until the mast is taken down, it is impossible assess the extent of the problem.

However, the upside of all of this - and believe me, we were very happy with the outcome - is that it is fixable. As a temporary fix for the summer, the shipyard will be lifting our mast with a crane while we are still in the water and putting in a temporary support. The downside is that we are not going to be able to sail all summer.

In the autumn, the work begins in earnest. The plan is for the shipyard to build a cage-like structure to strengthen the inside of the hull and it will become an ocean-crossing beast. The work will be extensive and require the removal of much of the internal fittings - boo hoo - but the end product will be an incredibly strong boat with all its leaks fixed and we will have gained new skills and knowledge.

The most positive part of all of this is the warmth and support that everyone has shown us. The shipyard fully appreciate our financial and personal situation and said "How can we charge them?". They have offered to do the job at cost - with us working full time on the project. Unbelievably generous. They have also offered to teach me how to do glass-fibre work and will show me how to fix the damage on the stern.

We couldn't be in a better place to get this work done. A proven shipyard, a formidable team, a personal approach and an acceptance into the sea-faring brethren.

Interestingly, as the rig was loosened off, the hull let out some mighty cracks and immediately began to fall back into shape. There is still some distortion but nothing like it was. There is still a case to be answered on this one I think but we are not looking for anyone to blame (at the moment!).

We are just relieved that Monty B will live to see another day; albeit after a summer of floating rather than sailing (gutting - but even more incentive to get a few crewing jobs under my belt).

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