WildlifeSAIL - Log No: 26

Date: 2003-02-02
Time: 2400
Location: Le Marin, Martinique
Latitude: 14.2800 N
Longitude: 60.5200 W
COG(true course over ground): dock sides
Ship's Log(distance sailed, nm): no data
Sail Status: stowed
Weather State: scattered clouds
Wind Speed(knots): 2|
Sea State(Beaufort): 1
Barometric Pressure(millibar): 1015
Water Temperature(C): 27
Air Temperature(C): 22

Text Author: John-Frederick Thye

Wildlife sets sail again...after being delayed for 4 weeks in Le Marin, Martinique, because of essential repairs, the Wildlife catamaran is ready to head out to sea and prove herself against the elements. Repairs undertaken include:

1) Re-boring of starboard diesel cylinder block, which had incurred chafe marks from its 4 cylinders. This was complicated and a big deal, ohh boy! The engine had begun consuming large amounts of engine oil, approximately 2 liters every 6 hours.

2) Fiberglass repair on both transoms (the back part of the boat), where cracks in our gel coat (a paint-type material that seals the outer skin of the boat) were indicating flex of a joint close to the beam. This part is not supposed to have any "flex!" The beam is the bridge deck that joins the 2 catamaran hulls. The repair included removing a section of the gel coat and adding an extra layer of fiber glass along the outside of the stressed joint.

3) Fiberglass reinforcement of Wildlife's anchor chain feeding mechanism. The Wildlife cat carries 100 meters (330 ft) of chain for her primary Delta anchor. This chain is stored under the mast foot inside the anchor compartment, which it enters through an aluminum bracket and rollers. The bracket is set into the catamaran's skin. Fatigue over the last year has caused the fibre glass-bracket connection to yield. We laid up an entirely new fiberglass cuff around the existing aluminum bracket to provide maximum support. This has got to hold!

4) Replacing the mast deck light, which was torn off the mast during our Atlantic crossing in 33 knots of wind. During a jibe the leach of the jib knocked the light clean off of the mast. Flo and I have reinforced the light-to-mast connection with 2 extra large stainless steal screws so this baby will hopefully go nowhere in the future. We'll see...

5) Mast sail track alignment. The Wildlife catamaran has a carbon fiber mast. Carbon is very different from wood or aluminum, the traditional materials of which masts are made. Carbon is very strong and light, but it is a plastic and is therefore treated differently in repairs. The mast is made in French speaking Switzerland and the aluminum track which holds the sail against the mast is manufactured by an American company. Stainless steal bolts fasten the track against the mast surface and are threaded directly into the carbon substrate. One of these bolts had dislodged and preventing the sail from moving up and down the mast. The bolt was immovable until we heated the track with a blow torch, expanding it far enough to release the bolt. This was possible because of the difference of materials (aluminum and steal) used and their expansion rates when heated. We then re-threaded the carbon and screwed in a shiny new bolt with lots of Lock-Tight, a screw glue. Let's hope this fellow hangs on this time!

6) Our electronic repairs included broken relays and faulty wires.

5) We installed nets around the interior of the boat to secure equipment during heavy seas. Crashing through waves on the Wildlife cat is like riding a rodeo horse and most items not lashed into place will "leave that place."

6) ... and many other little things... of which a particularly noteworthy one was Flo's heroic repair of our navigation desk reading light... this was the easiest repair of them all, but we both felt very good about it at one in the morning... I'm smiling...

Flo and I regret the delay incurred to our sailing agenda very much, but we seek encouragement in our boat having rebounded well from the items that plagued her.


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