We decided to haul out here in Raiatea. It was a tough decision but ultimately we decided that we should haul and paint the bottom before heading further west. I explored a bunch of options and weighed the alternatives. We even considered shipping paint to American Samoa and doing the bottom ourselves in Tonga. Turns out that getting the paint to Samoa is a lot harder than we originally thought. We are not planning on spending the cyclone season in New Zealand or Fiji, otherwise we would have waited. There are no real boatyards between here and Fiji. The boot stripe is peeling and the growth is out of control and driving me crazy. The bottom paint is super thin, gone in some spots and about to wear completely away on the rest of the bottom (it’s ablative). So we are on the hard and I’m writing this from about 8 feet above sea level.
We hauled out this morning. I had to remove the forestay so the small travel lift could get the straps under Ellie but otherwise it went smoothly. They put us down on a steel cradle. The bottom paint looks pretty good. Predictably there are a bunch of spots where the paint has failed so I spent all afternoon poking, prodding and scraping the spots that have failed. It started to rain so the work is put on hold until tomorrow.
We have made a common concession that many cruisers before us have made. We are raising the waterline. We could have made the more prudent decision and lightened up the boat instead but that didn’t sound like fun: get rid of dive compressor, dive tanks, kayak, extra spares, tools, extra fuel jugs, generator, heavy 10hp outboard and all the other gear we have on board to make life fun and comfortable. So instead we are raising the waterline by 2.5 inches so our white gelcoat doesn’t get so much fouling and my sanity can be saved.
You probably don’t know this but there has been a war going on between me and the sea and the battlefield has been at the waterline. See once we loaded Ellie down with all our cruising luxuries she sat about an inch into her bootstripe. That bootstripe does not repel growth. So as a result I have had to scrub the waterline on a weekly basis. This is not so much fun. Lately the sea has been winning the battles. She threw something at us that I just couldn’t rebuff. Hard red algea that I couldn’t get off even with the most abrasive scotch pad I have in my arsenal. It has taken over (see pic below).
So we are in the yard and the algae is dead. Let’s see how well it fares when they take a mechanical sander to it! The sea may have won the last few battles but I will win the war!
We are planning to be on the hard through the weekend and will most likely launch mid next week. The rain has brought my favorite insects, mosquitoes, and they have taken over the public restroom. How fun! We’ll surely be going through a few cans of repellent over the next week. On a positive note we can still see the sunset over Bora Bora from the yard, there is coral under the dinghy and we hear there is a pizza place just a 5 minute dinghy ride away.
We’ll keep ya posted as the work progresses.
-Lewis and Alyssa
July 2, 2014
Raiatea, Leeward Islands, French Polynesia