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Join us as we sail around the world - share our joy, experiences, trials and tribulations as we proceed.
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JAN
24
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Revelations returning to Cape Town

Our sailing future remains unclear, it is costing a small fortune every month to keep Revelations in Trinidad and we miss our yacht. For these reasons, in October 2017 we decided to bring Revelations back to her home port - Cape Town, South Africa. On 2 November 2017, I flew to Trinidad for a 2 month period to prepare and get her ready for the return voyage. Barring a few great people, almost everybody there sees you as a walking US Dollar sign - the place is ridiculously expensive. Labour is expensive, food is expensive, yacht parts are expensive - even common labourers earn a small fortune simply to stay alive.

I had a hectic (shit) time in Trinidad and spend a small fortune fixing, repairing and hammering Revelations into shape. It is astounding the number of things which went wrong, broke for no reason or simply did not work anymore. A lot of "supposed" work previously done to the engines had to be redone due to the thieving, lying and cheating Adian Gittens, a Yanmar agent in Chaguaramas, Trinidad. What a thief! What an arsehole! Then to get the local tradesmen to work a fair number of hours per day was simply an uphill battle. Some of the workmanship delivered was pathetic to say the least and had to be redone a couple of times before it was done proper. For me, it was a very frustrating two months. On top of it all, when I arrived, I found a large number of items stolen - these items were locked up inside one of the cabins. Somebody gained access to the yacht by removing a set of burglar bars over a hatch and helped himself (herself) to almost five hundred thousand Rand of items and equipment. Damn thief! Now we probably face another big fight with the insurance company!

The delivery crew arrived in Trinidad on 30 December 2017 and had to work their backsides off to get the last remaining things done. Revelations finally managed to leave Trinidad on 20 January 2018 and set sail for Antigua - they safely arrive there in the early evening of 22 January 2018. They will leave Antigua within the next couple of days for the next leg to Natal, Brazil where they will stock up on supplies before the long voyage home. We simply cannot wait to have Revelations back home!

  406 Hits
406 Hits
MAY
19
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Clear coats and Anti Skid

The workers in Trinidad have now completed the charcoal colour coats of paint to the hull and they are now busy flattening these coats of paint - sanding it with a very fine grid sandpaper. This is a required process for the three clear coats of paint which needs to be spray painted on top of the charcoal base. The three clear coats will create a deep lustre in the finished paint work and help protect the charcoal base.

Once the clear coat have been applied, Garth Walker will apply the anti skid paint on the deck. This is detailed work and requires a lot of careful masking to paint the anti skid patterns over the entire deck. To minimize heat absorption, we opted to do the anti skid in a light grey colour - white and black paint mixed in a 9 to 1 ratio.

AntiSkid

  816 Hits
816 Hits
OCT
14
0

Epoxy work - replacing wet balsa. Episode 3

The work continues to open up the outside skin laminate and remove the wet balsa. The port transom bottom step is now completely redone, sporting new balsa core and epoxy skins, it has been faired - now awaiting primer paint coats. The starboard aft transom was opened up even more as Garth discovered more and more wet balsa. They are now into dry balsa and the repair work can commence. Whilst Garth was checking for other bits of damage to the hull, he found a section of laminate near the starboard transom which did not bond to the balsa. This laminate has since been removed, new epoxy skin was laminated applied and a fairing compound was applied - waiting to dry and be faired within the next day or so. The work done is thorough and much faster than experienced in South Africa.

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Repair10

Repair10

Repair10

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1135 Hits
OCT
13
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Epoxy work - replacing wet balsa. Episode 2

It is day two of replacing the wet balsa core on Revelations and Garth is making good progress. He already replaced all the balsa on the port transom which he opened on day one, inserted new balsa core and solid glass where the fittings will be bolted on and closed everything up again with a new epoxy skin, this will now be faired (made smooth) in the next day or so - ready for painting. In addition, he started work on the starboard hull, cut the outside skin and dug out the wet balsa core. This starboard wet area is larger than shown in the picture and will be opened up even more. Besides these two areas, there are other places around the yacht with wet balsa and which will also be opened up and repaired in the coming days.

Garth Walker really knows about glass and epoxy work, has a easy going manner about him and gets the job done. But these guys all talk in "Trini" which is a superfast dialect of English without the restrictions of the formal English language. So one have to listen very carefully as they talk this machine gun version of Trinidad English and they have to repeat things a couple of times for me to catch what is actually said.

BalsaCore2

BalsaCore1

  1863 Hits
1863 Hits
OCT
10
0

Epoxy work - replacing wet balsa. Episode 1

Revelations is a balsa and epoxy construction and there are a number of places on the yacht where the balsa got wet and spongy. This is due to holes drilled into the deck for fittings and the people who did the work never plugged the drilled holes with solid epoxy resin. Over time, water seeped through the holes and the balsa then got wet. The result are "spongy decks" - extensive damage, lots of hassles and money to get everything repair. Despite paying people to do the work properly and later instructing Jacque Basson and Johnathan in Cape Town to once again make sure that it is done correctly - it was never done.

Here is Garth Walker from Trinidad starting to repair the damage. He seem to know what he is talking about and comes highly recommended. He opened the soggy areas in no time and will replace all the wet balsa.

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20151010 161329

  1174 Hits
1174 Hits
OCT
07
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Insurance - Further delays

Pursuant to a lighting strike on Revelations, we started getting quotes for all the repair work to be done. The list was long as most of the electronic and some of the electrical equipment was rendered useless. These quotes were submitted to the insurance company and they duly appointed a assessor to assist in this matter. I was hoping that the insurance claim would all be done and dusted at the end of our one month trip back home. But not so fast; the assessor now wants more other suppliers to look at the work and give their opinions. This will now cause further delays in getting the ball rolling and repairing all the damage.

  1191 Hits
1191 Hits
AUG
13
0

Bare Poles

The sail people from Ullmann came around earlier yesterday morning and removed the mainsail, stack pack and jib. So Revelations is now bare pole without any sails. I will be going around to their loft later today and discuss the various bits of work which needs done. The also took the torn spinnaker which is beyond repair, they will use this to work out the dimensions for a new spinnaker. A mast rigger came around and spend about 2 hours trying to remove the broken topping lift which fell back into the mast - only partly successful. The remainder of the topping lift is stuck higher up in the mast, so we will have to see whether it can be done. I also learned that the electrical wires within the mast are not in tubes or channels - this means that the up and down movement of ropes will eventually chafe through the wires. To fix this, the mast must be taken down - why the job was not done right first time by Sparcraft in Cape Town beats me.

In the interim, Sue has been packing everything within Revelations into boxes for soon the boat will be swarming with workers doing all sort of repairs. She should be more or less done by Friday. Shit, we have a lot of stuff on board!

GOPR0384

  1313 Hits
1313 Hits
AUG
05
0

Pulled out of the water

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Early this morning, Revelation was pulled out of the water on a custom built flat bed trailer. We untied the yacht at the fueling dock, slowly moved away from the jetty and motored to the slipway where a bunch of crew from PowerBoats were waiting. It was a bit tricky to maneuver this big yacht around the tightly confined spaces - but it all worked out in the end.

The flatbed trailer was partially submerged and it was a simple matter of lining Revelation up in a straight line and slowly motor onto the waiting trailer. The workers then made quite a bit of adjustments to the various bits and pieces of the flat bed trailer before tying her down. A big tractor was initially employed to pull Revelations clear of the water and up the 10 degree or so embankment. But the tractor was not up to the task and they then brought in a small bulldozer to do the job. Soon after this, Revelations was steered into her allocated spot and lowered to the ground with supports under the keel and struts at the front and back of the hull.

Water and electricity was connected and we can now go through the entire boat making list of all the things damaged, needs replacing or to be repaired. A short while later, a small tractor with a compressor built onto a trailer arrived to high pressure clean the hull in preparation of new anti fouling paint. PowerBoat must have well over 1000 yacht of various shapes and sizes in the yard and the place is a beehive of activity. There is nothing quite like this anywhere in South Africa - not even all the yachts in the entire South Africa will be able to match the scale of this boat yard alone - let alone all the other boatyards. It is simply astounding to see so may yachts in one place and the shear scale of work going on here. We are meeting with the yard manager tomorrow morning to discuss and arrange all the work which needs to be done on Revelations.

  1231 Hits
1231 Hits
JUL
28
0

Port engine fixed

In the heat of the day (read tropics) and almost 90% humidity, enough to pass out into a sweaty slumber, it was time to see what was going on with the port engine. I climbed into the cramped engine room and immediately broke out in a heavy sweat. There was no breeze, the air was stifling and I had to contort my fat as a pig body in weird shapes to fit into the available working space. With sweat drops dripping on the inside of my glasses, I at least had a distorted view of the various engine parts as the rest of the lenses fogged up almost completely.

Sue started the engine and I took the GoPro video camera and stuck in a opening facing the water leak. Then it was back to the computer to view the footage and I could clearly see where the engine coolant water was gushing out in a strong flow. It was a water pipe which leaked at the hose clamp. Back to the engine room I went, went through the whole rigmarole of contortion Houdini would be seriously impressed by. Man, did i battle to get the water pipe sorted out. The heat was sapping my strength and each attempt to force the water hose over the moth of the relevant metal pipe, was weaker than the previous and the one before that. After perhaps 40 attempts, knuckles badly bruised, bolts and screw viciously attacking and near penetrating various bodily parts, small droplets of blood forming where I scraped myself against sharp protrusions - I finally managed to get the water hose to slide over the metal pipe.

But that was just half the battle won for I still had to tighten the hose clamp. I could barely get my hand into position, let alone still use a screwdriver. Now completely soaked as if I just had a shower, with hands cramping up, I finally managed to get a small ring spanner into position and was able to start tightening the hose clamp - a quarter turn at a time, then turn the spanner around and do another quarter turn. It felt like ages, but slowly I managed to tighten the hose clamp with each hand cramping quarter turn.

I topped up the inter cooler with freshwater and adding some anti-freeze which will prevent further the inner engine rusting any further. I then ran the engine for a couple of minutes and now need to again check the coolant level again tomorrow. But for now, everything seems to be back to normal and we once again have the use of our port engine. Holding thumbs that it remains the situation.Roll Eyes

  1142 Hits
1142 Hits
JUL
27
0

Returning to Saint Laurent du Maroni

We did leave at 10H00 on Saturday (25 July 2015) morning and motored out of the Maroni river, heading for the open sea. The trip down river was simple, easy and uneventful whilst we did last preparations to Revelations in the calm river water and before entering the ocean. Where the Maroni river enters the sea, the depth is shallow for a long way offshore and we followed the beacons indicating the channel for about 8 nautical miles off shore before we turned west and started sailing towards Trinidad & Tobago.

We unfurled the jib and in about 10 knots of wind, Revelations settled into a 5 nautical mile rhythm which would be our daily routine for 4 to 6 days. After unfurling the jib and now on the correct compass course, I switched off the starboard engine, lit a cigarette and settled in for the first shift until 18H00 when Sue would relieve me when she came on duty. We sailed for about 30 nautical miles and I then switched on the starboard engine ... but nothing happened, only deathly silence from the engine.

Already the port engine was not working due to a major water leak, the generator also not working as it needs a new sea water pump, we cannot raise the main sail due to tangled ropes within the mast, we cannot raise the screetcher because of damage on the top of the mast ... and now the starboard engine also fails! We only have the jib to sail to Trinidad & Tobago and this makes for a slow journey. Running the navigation equipment 24 hours a day and also fridge, freezers and other electrical equipment - there is no way in hell the solar panels, which are our only means to generate power, would keep up with the battery power drain. This means that we would be without battery power within two or three days and then we would no longer have any means to keep the essential navigation equipment on.

We decided it would be best to return to Saint Laurent du Maroni and have the engines repaired. with this came a new set of challenges which would soon be upon us. With sunset within the next 4 hours, some 30 nautical miles away from the river mouth and channel, which does not have lighted beacons, a strong up river current (fortunately in the direction we wanted to go) and with dying wind the further we sail up river. Fortunately, our chart plotter shows a snail trail and we could follow our own tracks back. We reached the channel at sunset and slowly sailed in the channel towards land in the fast failing light. The tide turned 2 hours ago and was now rising, the flow reversed up river and we soon we where in the clutches of the strong current sweeping us along at about two knots per hour. The wind dropped and now there was only a slight breeze, barely enough to keep the jib deployed. But this was enough to give water flow over the rudder, so we had traction and could steer Revelations - back tracking our previous exit trail.

We sailed like this until about 23H00, slowly making headway up river but the wind kept dropping. For several minutes at a time, the jib would collapse upon itself and with that, we had no steerage. Unable to steer Revelations, we were at the mercy of the current only and then there would be a slight breeze for a minute or two - just enough to make a course correction before the wind would die again. But then the wind died completely and for the next forty minutes there was not even a slight breeze - only the current sweeping us up river. Fortunately, high tide at Saint Laurent du Maroni is some two and a half hours later than at the river mouth - so in other words, we had a prolonged rising tide.

Slowly the current took us off course and we were no longer following in our exit footsteps. This was a problem especially in view that the charts are off by at least half a nautical mile - at certain sections of the river, it was off by almost one nautical mile. This means that we could not be sure of our exact position in relation to the actual surroundings, with no visible lights, numerous shallow areas and other obstacles and only the light of the half moon, we could barely make out the river banks. It was time to drop the anchor and continue the journey the next day. We had everything ready, was about to go forward to drop the anchor when I decided to one more time try and start the starboard engine - it did!

With the engine now propelling us, it was a simple task to continue our journey up river to the SLM Marina. We arrived at 02H00 at the marina and with the aid of the town lights reflecting on the water, it was easy to spot our buoy. By now it was also slack tide and with no current running it was an easy task to tie up to the mooring in the middle of the night. So we are once again tied up, safe and sound - but back in Saint Laurent du Maroni until we can get things repaired.

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1329 Hits