After getting a slip for Away in Almerimar it is time to get her up on the dry to inspect and repair any damage to the keel. Unfortunately, the boatyard only operates during the weekdays and as I arrived on a Saturday morning I had to wait.
But it was a good pause, getting off the boat and having a long, hot shower for once. I managed to find a store to replenish my supplies and talk a bit with my boat neighbor.
On Monday morning it was time to get up early, at 7:30 I was supposed to be at the hoist and at 8 it was time to get her out. The team was very efficient and it didn’t take long before Away once more was on the hard.
To be honest, I was a bit too eager to get her out of the water. I didn’t get the materials to repair before I hoisted her out, so the first day was to get the materials and try to figure out exact what is damaged. I was invited by some newfound friends to have tapas with them in the evening, which was really appreciated.
As I inspected the keel I could see that the joints between the bulb and the rest of the keel was visible by some of the paint that is cracked or missing. The front of the bulb was a mess, missing most of the fairing, and it was probably where the keel hit the bottom. I could also see that some of the paint under the bulb was missing as well. There wasn’t any marks around the keel joint, where the keel is attached to the hull, so the keel bolts that I replaced in Ireland seems to be holding, which is a relief.
The task at hand was reasonably easy. I had to grind out the old fairing compound, with all the layers of paint on top of it, then add it all back again – primer, fairing compound, primer again and then finish with anti-fouling. Since I had done this exact job before leaving Ireland, albeit only where I saw a thin line of rust getting through the paint, I was more than familiar with the task at hand. It isn’t the most exciting job, but doing it again only two months later didn’t really add to my enthusiasm, to put it mildly. Unfortunately I focused on getting things done rather than documenting it, so if you want to see pictures you will have to go back to the post where I did it in Ireland. Same thing, just different surrounding, but more importantly, different temperature.
The boat yard is mainly sand, both the normal, flying around kind, but also some blacker stuff that sticks to everything as soon as it is in contact with anything moist. So in the morning when the boat had the morning dew on it I always managed to get it under my shoes and inevitable onboard the boat. So the time in the yard was making a mess of the boat, there was sand everywhere. To add to it there were several days with strong winds and the fine dust was getting in my eyes when grinding away on the keel. What I missed the first time was that it also went into the boat. I had all the hatches, all portholes and the companionway open just to try to cool Away down a bit. Because the temperature the days I was on the hard was reaching the low thirties and it is hard to get some sleep at night in a boat that has been warmed up over the day but doesn’t have the sea to cool it down, so it turned the boat into a furnace.
I created a simple routine to get the work done; getting up in the morning as the boat yard opened, having breakfast and then getting down to the keel and grind it all the way down to bare metal. At two o’clock I took a long break (I did have break trough out the day, because it was quite warm, especially in a black overall), to go to the beach for an hour or so, mostly just floating in the water to cool down a bit. After that I went back and continued to work until six, made some food and had dinner and then continued a few hours until it got dark. It took four days grinding.
At the end of the week when I started to reapply everything I could only work one layer at a time, since it all had to dry before I could give it a light sanding before the next layer, so it got a bit slower. The fairing compound needed twelve hours to dry hard enough to be sanded, but as I managed to apply a first layer in the morning and one in the evening, so it only took a day to get it faired. I admit that I wasn’t putting every effort in it to make it perfect, my goal was to have it done. On Friday I asked them to have Away in the water again by Monday, and spent Saturday slapping on the paint. Sunday I mainly spent cleaning up the worst mess on the boat. It felt good to have it done in time.
Monday arrived and as soon as the yard workers showed up they started to move her into the water again. It is always nervous to see the boat dangling just a foot above ground while they drive around with her in the lift. It was a quite experienced crew though, so she was in good hands. It only took about 30 minutes from me leaving the boat and removing the ladder for the last time until she was picked up and put back into the water. As soon as she was in, I went below to check that everything was okay. No gushing water anywhere, everything looked fine. They removed the wide slings and she was once again free to roam.
The trip was short though, I motored around the dock to the other side and there a person from the marina was waiting for me to dock. This time it was a bit easier than last time, as the wind was pretty much non-existing. It felt good to be back in the slip once more, reassured that the keel was in order.
Now it was time to relax a bit, since I more or less has been sailing for the last month non-stop. It has been a good run, and I have learned so much these weeks. But at this point I just need to have some time off, regroup and recharge. I also needed to get the energy to start planning for the next projects coming up, as well as getting the boat in decent shape while getting to know the town I’m in.
But before I can do any projects I really need to get my bank affairs straightened. And to get to that point I have to go to Sweden.
So that is what is happening next.