|Fitting before cleanup|
|Hefty backing plate|
|Fitting after cleanup|
|Jorge, emissary from the angels|
I woke up to a crisp and cloudless day and decided to spend the morning doing some more computer work at the Club Nautico restaurant. I took the oldest machine, a Toshiba laptop that I had brought from Australia. As expected, 14 Microsoft updates were installed and I upgraded the Panda antivirus and Adobe software. I also installed a copy of David Miller's “MarinePlotter” software (v126.96.36.199) so that now I am able to run it from any of the three computers. Working with the old Toshiba I realized what a great machine it is. It runs XP, my preference, has a large screen that seems crisper than my other two machines, and sports 3 USB ports. The only problem with the computer is that for some reason (I suspect the microcode) batteries do not last more than a few months and for the last 18 months I've run it without batteries, which means that the slightest glitch in the inverter while I am out at sea would cause the machine to drop dead immediately forcing a reboot. … Hmm …. I might give it one more chance and buy a 3rd battery for it during my U.S. visit.
While I was working Jorge showed up for his daily tennis session. I told him that it would be a wonderful day for tennis and he said that he hoped to be able to play singles because he doesn't like standing around getting cold and cramps when playing doubles. This would prove to be very important to me. Just before he set off he asked me if I needed help on the boat because this would be a great day for it. I told him that as a matter of fact I did because I could sure use somebody on the deck holding the bolts (8 of them) with a wrench while I was below tightening the nuts. He told me to expect him in 2 hours so I immediately packed up the computers and set off for the boat to get ready.
I covered the cabin table, set out the tools and materials, then loosened the ceiling panels. Just then Jorge showed up. I told him that he was early and he explained that they were playing doubles and he wasn't interested. That was a stroke of luck for me because he was able to help me with a tricky job: I could drill only from the top and the 4 holes that I had drilled were not exactly parallel and were not meeting the holes on the bottom plate. Helped me sort that out and 90 minutes later we were ready to lay down the adhesive sealant and bolt in the fittings. I had purchased Sikaflex 291 at San Fernando but decided to try a tube of 3M 5200 that I had on board. To my delight the sealant had not hardened and I was able to use it. Jorge had to be somewhere at a certain time and we managed to finish the job before he had to leave.
Before he left I thanked Jorge and told him that an angel must have sent him in my hour of need. It's uncanny how Jorge offered his help at the exact hour that I needed it.
After a late lunch and a short nap I put away the tools and cleaned the cabin. I left the ceiling panels down so that I can test for leaks tomorrow. Jorge told me that a NW wind was blowing cold air from over the Andes and we could expect rain and possibly snow tomorrow. He pointed to the high cirrus clouds. Sure enough by late afternoon more clouds had set in. If nature doesn't help me test for leaks tomorrow I'll use a hose.
At this point the entire staysail system has been replaced: new forestay terminating in a new deck fitting that I put in a few weeks ago, and new deck fittings for the sheet blocks.