|With Jill and Doug of Campanera|
Ahead was the large trawler style motor sailor “Companera” with Alaskans Jill and Doug on board. Pachuca had looked familiar to them as they moved her back a few feet to make room, and by morning they had recollected that we had met in Port Townsend where both our boats were having work done by Shoreline Marine Diesel. Brenda and I were then able to recall conversations with them. Jill and Doug are very accomplished seafarers, having done the Norhtwest Passage now the Patagonia archipelago and Beagle Channel. Doug told me that this was their first stay in a marina in about 18 months.
Then there were fellow Aussies Ma and Sandy out of Sydney in their sail boat “Volo”, and Patty and Mark out of New Hampshire, USA in their Ted Brewer pilothouse cutter “Alpha Wave”.
All three of the boats were fairly large – around 45' and beamy - and Pachuca was referred to as a “small boat”.
On Monday I established contact with Pato, who was still awaiting the rigging parts from Buenos Aires. I continued my research into Brazilian entry requirements (must get the visa before arriving in their waters) and booked a 15 minute session at the Brazilian consulate in Buenos Aires on Monday at 9.30 AM for a persona application for the visa.
On Tuesday I booked the bus ride to Buenos Aires for Brenda and myself, for Sunday morning with, sadly, a return ticket for just myself. I also booked 3 nights at the Waldorf Hotel. We decided to return to the Waldorf because it is familiar, central, and they present very good breakfasts.
In the afternoon Pato visited the marina with the rigging parts that had arrived from BA by truck. The riggers had not been able to put up the new backstay during their visit because the threads on my HF radio insulators was incompatible with their rigging, so they had taken my backstay to BA and put together the new one using new insulators. For over a week the mast had been held securely in place with the main halyard and the running backstays. Also in the consignment were the ropes for the new running backstays and the topping lift. The topping lift had looked pretty tatty when I had purchased the boat in 2005 and it was definitely time to change it.
Wednesday was dedicated mainly to the rigging work. Pato had spoken earlier about possibly doing the work alone while I was in BA and I'm glad that I was able to help him because it was definitely a 2-man job. He started off by climbing to the top of the mast and fixing the upper end of the new backstay with the rigging bolt that had been left in position. The length of the backstay was perfect, which meant that we had a difficult time in screwing on the lower fitting because the mast had shifted forward. However, by loosening the forestay and then the inner forestay, tensioning the halyard to the limit, and loosening the lower turnbuckle to where only about 3 threads were holding it together, we managed to get the lower pin in with some gentle persuasion from a hammer. When Pato had finished the tensioning of the rigging I walked over to Club Nautico and eyed the side of the mast using a plumb line and judged it to be spot on, with an ever so slight bend above the inner forestay. Pato had used the main halyard as a plumb using a large adjustable wrench at the lower end and found the distance from the back of the mast satisfactory. I checked all of the rigging and it was nice and tight all around.
Then it was time for the new runners. The old runners were tired and stretchy polyester ropes that were long enough to pass from the mast through the blocks at the stern then forward to the winches. They had been on the boat when I purchased her and had never performed satisfactorily in that they would not hold the required tension for long. The new design called for unsheathed “Spectrum” lines (which I understand to be UV resistant Spectra) which reach almost to the cockpit frame. At the ends of the Spectra lines will be large snap blocks that I happened to have on the boat. Then separate lines will pass from the beckets of the stern blocks, round the blocks at the ends of the Spectrum lines, then back to the stern blocks and on to the winch. When it suits me I'll be able to put the runners away by releasing the snap blocks, tying the Spectrum lines at the mast, and stowing the lower lines. The Spectrum lines are amazing. Although they are only about 5mm in diameter they are rated at 7 tons, which is approaching the strength of stainless steel.
Pato wasn't too happy with the state of the sheaves (rollers) on the snap blocks because they had been sustained damage from being used on wire lines and were rough enough to possible damage the ropes. We drove to my old friends at Teller Naval and Pato asked that the sheaves on the snap blocks be smoothened and stainless steel beckets (U-shaped bars for attaching ropes) be put on the aft blocks. The next afternoon I picked up the blocks and found that they had done a beautiful job for 200 pesos.
It was also on Thursday afternoon that I finally faced the job of going up the mast and tying the new cords between the steps and the stays that prevent halyards from wrapping around the steps. The conditions were perfect for the job – bright sunshine and little wind – and besides, Pato had inspired me with the no-dramas way in which he had gone to the top the day before. I had to visit the top of the mast twice, and the lower sections about 4 times, but it was well worth the effort. I had used thick and strong nylon cord which should last until my return to Australia and hopefully years beyond that.
During the week we had made arrangements with Fabricio and Vanina and we were looking forward to a visit from them and hopefully Silva on Saturday afternoon.