What else can we break? Hauling out and fixing things...
The theme of this week seems to be things breaking down and trying to get them fixed, whether that’s Matilda the boat, Rada the Lada or even Rosie the Dog (all OK, no need to panic…). Overwhelmingly our week’s been dedicated to trying to get things resolved, and frustration because we can’t.
We were up bright and early (for us anyway) on Monday to relocate Matilda from the marina to the shipyard, a brief journey of only 15 minutes or so. It was the first time we’d actually moved Matilda since the end of October, so almost 6 weeks now and it’s amazing how quickly you forget the various things that you need to do. I couldn’t figure out why the VHF on the fly deck wasn’t starting and just assumed that it was broken, nope, Karina pointed out I was pushing the wrong button 🤦♂️.
The haul out was very quick and very professional. They immediately started disassembling the rudders to replace the packing and quickly started to find other things that needed fixing. The “rack” that connects between the two rudder posts was new to the boat (post construction, but before we purchased her), but had been installed poorly without bushings so the metal was wearing excessively.
All the hose clamps had deteriorated and needed to be replaced. One of the hoses that feeds sea water into the propellor shaft to lubricate it was so short it had been pulling at and bent the nipple it attached to. On the starboard prop shaft, the cutlass bearings were worn out (these are the bearings that hold the shaft and the propellor in place), unsurprisingly the ones on the port shaft weren’t far behind.
Where Matilda had been hauled out previously, the sling had cracked the gel coat on the keel and now when power washed to remove the growth, it came off to reveal a section of fibre glass that needed epoxy filling.
We knew that the bowsprit was cracked and had assumed that it was just a simple cosmetic job, but when they ground it out to expose underneath, some bolts had rusted out and needed replacing and the crack extended right through both sides of the bowsprit, so this was fibre glassed back up again on both sides and fixed properly. Which of course necessitated a tent to do the job properly as the rain wouldn’t let up.
The frustration in all of this is not that it needs to be done, it’s that we just didn’t know how long we needed to stay off the boat and away from our home. While of course we’d prefer not to spend the money, we are very glad that they’ve found and fixed all these things — it really is the case that a stitch in time saves nine. With the rack connecting the two rudders, the machinist who had to create the new bushings felt that we’d dodged a major problem because at least the holes were still round. Another six months and they’d have ground out into an oval shape making the repair much more complicated and expensive.
Fortunately we now have a proper ETA — the inside work on all the prop shafts is completed so we can move back on to the boat today (Sunday) and live on the hard for a couple of nights while the last few things are tweaked on the outside (basically priming and then painting the anti-foul on the rudders and touchups in a few other locations). Matilda is very ready for the new season and we should be popping her back into the water on Tuesday afternoon (the day before we head to Athens!).
Meantime, between visiting the boatyard and travelling around to Airbnb’s, we tried to find a mechanic to look at the issues with Rada the Lada. Finally we’ve got a couple of options and the hope is that she’ll get her few small issues addressed while we’re in Athens and then be good to go for exploring the area when we return. At least having owned her for a week now, we’ve had a chance to find most of the issues, if not get them addressed.
We did get to the bottom of the excessive fuel consumption, when the tank is filled to the top, there’s a fairly severe fuel leak where there’s either a loose or deteriorating hose, or a leaking fuel pump. The hose seems more likely as the leak stops as the tank empties (if it was the fuel pump it would probably continue). Anyway, the main reason we’ve been getting about 17l per hundred K is because about 7L per 100 K is dripping out on to the road (or in a very embarrassing discovery, pooling underneath the car on the fancy dock at the marina).
Which brings us to Rosie. She had seemed a little out of sorts on Wednesday and overnight she was behaving strangely — she went off to sleep by herself instead of on our bed, she hadn’t eaten or drunk anything for over 24 hours. In the middle of the night I woke up and normally she would stir, shake herself out, get a drink and go back to sleep, but she hadn’t moved at all. When I went to her, she was very cold to the touch and her breathing was so shallow that I had to put my ear to her chest to hear her.
Of course, she might’ve just had a cold, but she does have a heart condition and we were concerned that it may well have taken a turn for the worse. When she hadn’t perked up by lunchtime on Thursday we got a ride from a fellow liveaboard who came to pick us up and drive us to the vet. The vet was very comforting, took a good look at her, gave her a saline drip to rehydrate her and suggested that we up her heart medication. She gave us her number to call anytime, 24hrs if there’s any worsening of her condition and we bundled off back to the apartment.
Fortunately after that Rosie started to perk up, possibly the saline made her feel better, she started eating and drinking again and now seems fine. We were worried for her for a bit and are happy she’s feeling a lot better. The craziest part of it all, the vet’s time (almost 1 hour), administering the saline drip and a follow up visit the next morning. €15 total.
So it’s been a week of fixing and chasing up broken things!
It’s not all been bad however. On Tuesday night I headed to the marina and met up with Eric and we spent a couple of hours jamming on the guitar and bass. Shawn is back in Australia but when he returns in February we hope to have the basic makings of a band for a bit of fun.
Wednesday was the regular curry night where we met several new people. It’s fascinating how even this late in the season people are still arriving at the marina. Some are returning after being away, others have arrived for the first time. I suspect it will only get busier from January as everyone starts returning after Christmas and also Croatia is now officially in the Schengen zone from January 1st, so cruisers without an EU passport will want to go somewhere else until the season starts.
We headed to Herzeg Novi on Friday, another medieval era fortress town here on the Kotor Bay and we spent a good few hours walking the town while we left Rosie back at the apartment to rest.Friday we caught up with Steve, Judy, Nat, Colin and Lucy for drinks and then dinner as well as getting caught in the rain. Finally on Saturday, Karina spent the afternoon with Claire doing some “christmas crafts” and getting into the season a bit.
After all these repairs, hopefully everything is finally in great shape and it’s time to sit back, relax and enjoy it all! We’re pushing to get Matilda back into the water by Tuesday, packing our bags and then Wednesday we head off to Athens and then Norway for Christmas! Lots of adventures to come.
Until next time,
Tim & Karina.