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Quixotic Update – We have bows again!

Quixotic is being brought back to life as our A-team of Fijian fiberglass artists charge forward. She now has bows, most of her topsides are enclosed again and the keels are prepped for glasswork. Alyssa flew to Australia last weekend to visit her sister and she brought back a whole checked bag worth of engine and saildrive spares along with other crucial parts. The superyacht ENCORE, that we sailed on in Hawaii, is bringing us the much-needed closed-cell foam core material that we will use to finish repairing the topsides. ENCORE left Hawaii early last week so she is due in here end of this week; at 150ft of waterline, she makes very fast passages! Thanks again to Jono, Jarnie and the “Encorians” for the help!

The local welder has straightened the bent crossbeam and reinforced some key areas with aluminum plate. It doesn’t look pretty, but it’s functional and will serve until we can afford to buy a new one. We’ll probably end up painting it to cover up all the scratches from the dozen or so boats that hit Quixotic the night of the cyclone. But for now it will be like a piece of German engineering – more function than form. If anyone asks about all the scratches we’ll just tell them that we have had incredibly bad luck with other boats dragging down on us in anchorages!

Our local welder, Rotesh, is also going to start fabricating stanchions for us. We’ll use the base plates that are still on the boat and salvage what tubing we can. For the tubing that is bent beyond repair we will replace it with some new material that has been brought in from NZ and AUS. In the end, our new stanchions will probably match our crossbeam and be more function than works of art…but hey, it’s better than falling overboard and it will serve for now. Instead of sitting in the bow pulpit chair, go lay in the nets!

We have decided to glass over the bottom of the port hull. She was originally built with holding tanks in her keels, one of the main reasons her full flooded in the cyclone. We will feel much more comfortable knowing she is watertight with or without her keel, so this week we removed all the hose and inspection ports and will be laying glass over the bottom before attaching the new keel. We will also be filling the new keel with marine grade foam flotation for extra insurance/buoyancy. If and when we charter, we’ll just tell the guests to use the head on the starboard side during the day. It will also save me the disgusting job of dealing with another holding tank! 

We’re hoping to make a lot of progress this week with a lofty goal of having a keel by Friday and be finished with the bows. Our current timeline has us completing the major fiberglass work in two weeks. Then we transition to glasswork on the inside, followed by paint – inside and out. We are thinking of putting some absurd amount of epoxy barrier coat on, like 6 coats, why not…

Enjoy the weekend! 

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Of course there was more bike riding this week...
Of course there was more bike riding this week…

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This time out to the property… love that view!
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We rode out to our neighbor Chota’s farm…
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…and of course gorged ourselves on Celestiny’s awesome Indian cooking!

 

 

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Quixotic Update and Vanua Levu Motorcycle Adventure!

Progress marches forward as our elite team of Fijian fiberglass artists continue repairing Quixotic. We have removed all the damaged glass and prepped the areas for new glass, which we’ll apply this week. The weekend was busy as we hired another group of locals to deep clean and remove all the fiberglass dust – and there sure was a lot of glass dust! They showed up on Saturday afternoon a bit daunted by the task at hand… I was also a bit confused by the “team” they brought as the average age of the “workers” was about 10 years old… But any moral dilemma I was harboring was quickly dispelled when the Fijian child forces got to work! Those kids can sure clean fiberglass dust!  Is it still wrong??  Anyway…. by Sunday afternoon Quixotic was cleaner than she’s been in months. I’m sure the guys will be impressed with their clean work environment tomorrow morning.  

Today I had an epic motorcycle ride into the interior of the Vanua Levu and over the highest mountain range. I am blown away by the beauty of this island. The rugged, gorgeous peaks, the pine forests spread over lush foliage, the tidy and colorful villages with friendly waving locals, the powerful rivers cutting through valleys; and the icing on the cake: a smooth, twisty, well maintained highway with almost no one on it! I have died and gone to biker heaven. I even found an overgrown dirt road up to a cell tower that I followed and was rewarded with a panoramic view of Savusavu bay. My ride today ranked in my top ten best bike rides of all time. I’m excited to explore the rest of the island.

Here are some pics of (part) of the cleaning team and from the ride today.

Cheers from paradise!

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Quixotic Update – A Catamaran OR a Block of Swiss Cheese??!?!?

Bula Vinaka All!

Our incredible team of local Fijian fiberglass workers continue to charge forward and dig out all the delamination from Quixotics’ hull….and see for yourself in the pictures – it’s a LOT!  There are now enormous holes in her hull and topsides, ready for glasswork. Today we actually started putting new glass back ON the boat as opposed to just grinding broken glass OFF her. Alsace Miller, the “Sensei” of our fiberglass team, mixed up some polyester and chopped strand glass and started fairing the void in the starboard keel. Looks like we’ll be able to grind the shape back into it tomorrow and then we’ll lay up a few layers of the very strong quadraxial glass that arrived today. We plan to reinforce the keel before taking a mold for the port side. When we’re finished, Quixotic’s keels and areas of repair will be much stronger than before; basically the original polyester glass will have to break before our epoxy-based repairs would let go. We’ve been given a lifetime warranty from Sace and he is adamant that the repairs will outlast us! Sounds good to me!

Here are some pics of the progress…..

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We're not sure if they are doing it right but they sure made some big holes!

Quixotic Update – The Heavy Lifting Begins!

The past few days have been busy. The Mermaid and I spent a backbreaking day pressure washing the rest of the mud out of the port hull and engine compartment. We removed the saildrive, changed the oil and treated some surface rust. We disconnected the forestay and ran some more lines to support the rig. Then Sunday afternoon we called it a day and I finally got on the motorcycle for an awesome ride up the coast. This island is so beautiful!

Although we worked our asses off this weekend, our efforts paled in comparison to the progress made the past two days with the addition of five hard-working local Fijians to team Quixotic. In one day we had the crossbeam removed, a wood shelter built, and the entire boat jacked up and level on wood blocks. Today we started cutting away and grinding the broken glass. I ordered the quadraxial fiberglass cloth that the boat builder in South Africa recommended we use; a 100 lb roll is coming directly from the manufacturer in Australia and should be here by Friday. 

Have to get to the ‘yard’ so I can open the shed for the guys to get their tools. I’ll write another update in a few days. Here are some pics of the progress…

Cheers!

Step 1 - pressure wash mud out of closets!!
Step 1 – pressure wash mud out of closets!!
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Jacking up the cat – Fiji Style!

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It can't be ALL work and NO play. Sunday bike ride!
It can’t be ALL work and NO play. Sunday bike ride!
Shelter built
Shelter built

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Not enough clearance? No problem mon! We dig holes under keels!
Not enough clearance? No problem mon! We dig holes under keels!

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Sweet ladder they built in like 3 minutes flat....seriously
Sweet ladder they built in like 3 minutes flat….seriously
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Alsace Miller – the local boat builder and our project manager

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We're not sure if they are doing it right but they sure made some big holes!
We’re not 100% sure if they are doing it right but they sure made some big holes!

Stay tuned for more updates!

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Our Quixotic Catamaran Purchase!

We bought a 43 foot South African-built Voyage catamaran named Quixotic, a most appropriate name for an impulsive catamaran purchase. Quixotic means exceedingly idealistic; unrealistic and impractical; impulsive and often rashly unpredictable…. I think the name suits the endeavor and our current lifestyle perfectly!

Our new-to-us catamaran was one of the many boats driven ashore in severe cyclone Winston. If you look back at the pics we posted you will see her on her side, port hull underwater, and piled up with a few other boats on the rocks. As you can assume, she is a project boat. She has many holes in her strongly-built hull, currently doesn’t float, was pulled up onto the beach in her current location, has her engine and saildrive removed from the port hull, and most all of her electrical on the port side is a write off. The good news is that most of the rest of her is OK. Her rig looks fine, sails are OK, most major electronic systems are OK, her skeg-hung rudders are OK, and the majority of her hull is water tight. So we have our work cut out for us. But it’s all possible and with patience and hard work we will return her to her former glory.

We aren’t usually of the mindset that things happen for a reason but I must say that we sure have that overwhelming feeling that we were suppose to be here at this time to save Quixotic and make her our new floating home. We couldn’t be more excited. We also need to thank Bruce “the Pirate” for tipping us off about Quixotic being for sale – he knew we’ve been looking for a wrecked cat for years – thanks again buddy!!!!

Once she is patched up, cleaned up and back together she will be an incredible vessel and outstanding living platform. She boasts four queen size staterooms, three heads, an expansive galley and salon, hard dodger, large solar array, a 25 foot beam, and is well equipped. NOW we have room for our friends and family so start dreaming of your trip to Fiji! She is also fast and can reach double-digit speeds!!

Thank you again to Ed and Nila, the former owners for trusting us and being our friends. We promise to take great care of Quixotic and will work diligently to see her sailing again soon. We wish you both the best of luck and happiness wherever your next adventure takes you. 

Well, as you can imagine, we have another full day of work ahead of us so must sign off, don sunscreen and bug spray, hydrate and get back to work!

Cheers from Savusavu,

Lewis & Alyssa

I've been carrying this book for years and scanning the horizon and reef breaks for my wrecked catamaran.....well we found her!
I’ve been carrying this book for years and scanning the horizon and reef breaks for my wrecked catamaran…..well we found her!

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Coming back to Ellie at anchor after a hard days' work. Not a bad place to be stuck for a while after all...
Coming back to Ellie at anchor after a hard days’ work. Not a bad place to be stuck for a while after all…