We finally got the hull repair finished! Dan from Fiberglass 1 did an amazing job! You would never know anything had ever happened… the repair is perfect! It took a long time; perfection often does! Dan built the repair in so many layers. There is an internal skin, which is made of many layers of glass fibers in different orientations. There are special tunnels to protect wires running along the inside of the hull. There is a special foam core material that has to be shaped to the perfect contours. Then an outer skin of many layers of glass, and finally several layers of gelcoat. Everything is fit perfectly, then sanded, checked, prepared for the next layer, and repeated over and over. SPOILER ALERT: Now I’m going to get philosophical. It reminded me of human skin. Or maybe a simple cell wall. Everyone in the boat yard was watching Dan and his progress, and we got lots of comments on what a genius he is with fiberglass. It was pretty obvious lots of expertise and energy went into creating this repair. But fiberglass is pretty simple compared to a cell wall, or human skin. Why is it we don’t recognize a genius creating those?
In addition to having the hole repaired, we used the time to do many other updates. Our stern thruster parts finally became available, and we had that installed. We had a forward looking sonar unit that was not working, and opted to replace it with a new Garmin GPS plotter, as a triple redundancy. We worked on our dingy and sailboat, cleaning and touching up some rough spots. We replaced some rusted out stereo speakers and installed the Apple TV I brought from our house.
We’ve gotten good at riding the bikes on errands. 10 – 13 mile trips to find the right hardware or rigging stores. Eddie made us a new anchor snubber – everyone in the rigging shop was really fun!
One thing I was very excited about was installing the video cameras. We had the engine room camera and the flybridge cameras done last week. But we thought we needed reverse image cameras on each corner in the back. This is so it’s like looking in a rear view mirror, like the camera we have on the flybridge, but showing close ups of both stern corners. But the angle didn’t look right, since we were aiming down we decided we needed standard view cameras. (they come in standard or reversed; can’t just flip a switch and change them). So we ordered the standard view versions, and they didn’t arrive until Thursday. We had them installed, and they looked great… for a few minutes. One camera failed almost instantly, and the other a few minutes later. The first had a loose wire in an internal connection, and the second still has us puzzled. They only had one extra, so we placed it on the port side, and the starboard camera should be in on Monday… nothing is easy.
We also polished the entire hull. We have a nice electric polisher, but the boat is pretty big… especially when it’s 90+ degrees! It felt like i’d just agreed to polish a whole apartment complex… but we got a lot of stains off and she really does look better.
The best of all – We could finally launch!!
Here’s how to launch a 50 ton boat in less than 20 seconds:
You speed up the camera! I admit I still think it’s cool how they can move huge boats around so efficiently.
So we motored a bit through the Intracoastal Waterway, under two drawbridges (such a feeling of power!), and to a gorgeous marina. The thrusters worked perfectly and the main camera for rear vision was excellent. We were placed deep inside this marina, and the dock hand was very helpful. We backed into the slip so smoothly it almost looked like we knew what we were doing!
The marina is like a 5 star resort! The dock hand emptied our over-ripe holding tanks after tending to all our lines. The marina office has snacks and sodas, a captains lounge, fitness center and a nice restaurant. Even cooler was the ability to have a pizza delivered right to our boat!
One reviewer of this marina said it was a little weird being surrounded by high rise buildings, but that’s Palm Beach. I’m guessing he didn’t come straight from a boatyard!
So we are now in a beautiful marina, and will hopefully get our final camera working on Monday and maybe head north after that.