Friday, January 7, 2011

George Town, Bahamas

27-28 Dec 2010 - Bimini Repair
05-06 Jan 2011 - Boomkin Repair
07 Jan 2010 - Dragging at Volleyball Beach

Back to Top of Voyage
Back to Part 01: Key West, FL to George Town, Great Exuma, Bahamas

On to Part 3: Voyage to Cartagena, Colombia

27 December 2010
Still in George Town, Exumas, Bahamas
- Bimini Repair

Today's weather is a continuation of yesterday's. Cold (62 degrees) and windy (20-kts). Too windy to try to launch my dink off the deck. The last thing I need is to have a couple hundred pounds of aluminum hanging on a line from the masthead and swinging out of control.

One of the chores on my list is to repair the stitching on my bimini. It seems the thread can only survive a couple of years in the sun before it begins to disintegrate. The stitching was letting go on all the zippers attaching the bimini to the support bows. That and additional chafe where the mainsail cover abraded on the center of the bimini. So I have to replace the stitching on the zippers and cut, form, and stitch on patches on the top, center of each bow area.

Fortunately Galena has onboard a very nice Sailrite zigzag sewing machine. I've only used it once before and now I had a full day of sewing to do. With the wind and cold outside I set up in the main saloon. We'll see how it comes out.

Repairing the bimini onboard Galena

Now that the wind has at least begun to abate some of the boats that had moved to Kidd Cove or Redshanks to hide from the wind are returning to the eastern anchorages. I poked my head out of the hatch to find I was now surrounded by boats.

28 Dec 2010
Still in GT still onboard
- Bimini Repair II

I finished patching and re-sewing the bimini. This morning I put it back up on its frame. While zipping the second bow pocket I found that I had missed one seam. I found that when one whole side of the zipper sleeve pulled off as I zipped it up. Rather than get everything out again, I'll just hand stitch this one seam. It might last for a few months…

The still-torn seam on the bimini

And one of the patches I put over the bows where the sailcovers rubbed through the bimini

I had splashed the dinghy yesterday and this morning I put the motor on it; I plan on heading to shore this afternoon and trying to get some internet time. The outboard wouldn't run. Sounded like a clogged main jet. So I hauled the motor back up to Galena's rail. I pulled out my (now separate set of) tools and pulled the carb. I ran a wire through the jet, blew carb cleaner all over it and reassembled everything. One gentle pull and the engine purred like a kitten. So now I'm ready to go to shore.

05-06 January 2011
George Town, Exumas, Bahamas
- Boomkin Repair

One of the projects I had to complete before I hit the open sea again was to rebed the bolts holding the boomkin to Galena's aft deck.

About four years ago I had replaced both the bowsprit and the boomkin. I had laminated some Fir lumber together and machined the proper dimensioned timbers for each. I had then secured them as they had been secured, with carriage bolts. The story of the rebuild can be read at: and

In the past couple of open-water transits I have heard a slight 'working' of the boomkin against the deck. In some harsh conditions I could place my fingers under the boomkin and feel the joint move. I have tightened the bolts and that provided a temporary fix. But the bolts were now being pulled into the timbers. Aside from not being able to tighten the bolts further I was concerned about possible water penetration and subsequent rot around the bolts.

So I procured a handful of large fender washers and repaired as follows.

First problem was to get the bolts out. These are very long, 3/8" bolts that have been sealed in place and then worked for several years. They were quite tight. Of the six bolts I was able to drive out only two of them. The remainder had to be turned out. However since they had been pulled deep into the wood I had to chisel away a bit of wood around each head. This allowed my Vise Grips to get a purchase on the edge of the bolt and turn it out. I figured the amount of wood being removed in this way was insignificant. I was planning on filling the current crushed area with thickened epoxy resin and a little more wouldn't hurt.

The boomkin is the attachment point for the backstay and that holds up the mast. I decided to remove only four of the six bolts, rebed them, and then the next day complete the job by rebedding the remaining bolts on each leg.

Here's a picture of the starboard boomkin leg with two of the bolts removed. One is laying on the timber. You can see how the bolt head has crushed down into the wood. The remaining bolt can be seen in the upper-right corner of the picture. I didn't find any obvious rot around the bolts. I chipped away the loose wood.

Two of the bolts have been removed. Ready to be rebed.

I mixed a small batch of West System epoxy resin. Before adding the thickener I "painted" the raw, exposed wood to seal it and ensure good penetration of the epoxy. Then I added some thickener to the consistency of honey and, with the bolts in place, filled around the shafts. I had masked off the area outside the washers.

Letting the epoxy cure.

The following day I cinched up the bolts as tight as I could make them. There was no evidence of crushing.

The finished job.

The only way to test this "repair" is to get out and put it under serious load.
"If it's gonna happen, it's gonna happen out there." ...Capt Ron

07 January 2011
George Town, Exumas, Bahamas
- A Night on the Hook in George Town

The cold front is coming through as promised. The wind is up and clocking as usual. I'm on the 'wrong' side of the harbor, as usual.

I lost early at poker and I was home and in bed by 2130. So when I awoke at 0200 I figured I'd get up and check the GPS. When Galena swings at her anchor she makes a nice little arc of a track on the GPS. When she drags her anchor she draws a little zig-zag of a track as she moves downwind. This morning I was watching her make that zig-zag.

Galena's GPS track showing her dragging downwind

At first I thought (hoped) she was just pulling back on her chain and straightening it out. The wind had clocked almost 180-degrees and I had over a hundred feet of 3/8" chain on the bottom. But she kept moving back: 15-ft, 20-ft, 25-ft. 30-ft in just a coule of minutes! Since she had changed directions so dramatically I knew she had flipped the anchor over. Now I had to see if it would reset.

Decisions, decisions. I got dressed, went to the bow, pulled one of the chain snubbers off, put the ratchet handle into the windlass. I released the tie-downs on the #2 anchor (it's a Bruce while the primary is a CQR). I came aft and fired up the engine. Options: I could simply drop the #2 anchor where I was (I have room behind me to drag another 300-ft before I hit shoals) and pay out rode till I had moved aft another 100-ft and there snub it off. Or I could motor forward and drop #2 next to the primary and drop back on both. Or I could pull up the primary and move forward and drop it again. That's the hardest option. I'd have to ratchet up the main chain rode and when she came free Galena would swing away in the wind. I have a few boats anchored nearby and it's very dark out. Motoring around the anchorage is not high on my list of wants.

I went below to check the GPS again. She seemed to have reset her anchor after dragging a boat-length. She was begining to drescribe a new track arc. I secured the engine and watched and waited.

The wind is 18-kts on deck; much more aloft. On the plus side the wind generator is pumping out a steady 14 amps. Maybe I should switch on the watermaker. Hell, with that much power I could turn on the freezer and make ice!

She's holding steady on the new arc track. She seems to have reset her anchor. Big gust of wind. She pulls hard on the chain rode and moves aft a few feet. The gust abates and she returns to the arc. I think I'm good.

Once this front goes by we should see rapidly decreasing winds. I'll wait, watch, and have a cup of coffee...

You gotta love this cruising lifestyle, huh? Time for pancakes.

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