It feels like I have spent the last 7062 days working, dawn till dusk, beneath the decks of Monty B. I haven't, of course, but after finally getting the boat onto her cradle (the boatyard kept her on a buoy for 7 days until I went mad in Serbian), we have worked our pale, winter asses off.
Monty spent 8 days in total in the yard and we achieved almost everything that we had wanted to get sorted out of the water. Which isn't bad going considering that were planning on having her out for 3 months. However, in lieu of time has been a large amount of money. We ended up paying men to do jobs that we would have done ourselves, had we had time. But I, for one, am quite pleased that I didn't have to spend the winter inhaling old antifouling and breaking my back holding an electric sander above my head for hours on end. Terrible admission, I know, but as I have now certainly lost my "inhalation of highly toxic chemicals" virginity, I am glad that I have paid some old guy to get the cancer rather than me. Particularly as they are happy to use the age-old health and safety technique of holding a cigarette in the mouth, puffing on it continuously whilst dry-sanding years of old antifouling paint. I couldn't do that, you see. I've given up smoking and respirators just don't cut it (for a claustrophobic).
So, we had donkey's years of old antifouling removed, two coats of epoxy primer and two coats of antifoul added, a new dark red boot stripe and Monty's bottom was reborn. She looked like an Orca with her slinky, black below-waterline hull and fin keel. Gorgeous girl.
The second good decision made was to employ a very un-Montenegrin Montengrin, Miko, to repair our stern. Half hippy, half Francophile, Miko showed us how fibreglass work can be treated as an artform and taught me the value of patience. After many days of his detailed, deliberate, painstaking brushwork, we now have a beautifully rebuilt stern. And he has become a new friend.
While all of this was going on, we were sweating it out below decks (summer has arrived). Seacocks replaced, plumbing all checked, continuation of hull-strengthening involving daily epoxy poisoning and cleaned out fuel-tanks. God, was that it? Surely we did more than that..... oh yes, lots of chemical cleaning of the hull (which we've decided needs repainting in full next winter).
As agreed with boatyard (for once, as it was in their favour, they did what they said they would, when they said it), we were plonked back in the water on April Fools Day (30 minutes after midday so all the seacocks worked).
The difference in handling was unbelievable! The photos show how many tons of mussels we had clinging to the bottom (though the cold water of winter had done for most of the barnacles). But it was still slowing us down and affecting handling much more than we ever realised. It was like driving a new boat!
Plus having seen Monty stripped down to her bare bones, inspected every inch of her and cleaned and serviced all the motorised parts, we are now fully confident in her ability to do her job.
Now we just need the sails back on.
Back in Kotor harbour, after a day off nursing celebratory hangovers, we've been working full on days ever since in a race to finish the re-structuring work so we can put her back together and move back in. It has just taken us three days to do what we wanted to do in one.
We have about five days of work left to make the boat fit for living on and only two days to do it. Bugger.
So tired. Body threatening illness at the beginning and end of every day. Next day off in 4 days time and even then I'm meant to be DJing. So tired, so tired........................ keeps me out of trouble though. And it is all GREAT! No horrible surprises, everything went astoundingly well in boatyard, such a relief!