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October '05: S/Y MELMAR Y - Refit & Overhaul

previous logbook entry

'Hoi zäme', Hello and 'Bonjours' – may I quickly introduce myself: I am, or I'd better say I was an old Lady from a good family. I'm quite proud to be born from the French family of Amel. My age can't be changed, but I feel like I've been reborn: during the last few months I got a 'lifting'. I think, my colleagues around me are a quite jealous! – But lets start from the beginning.

Last summer I got a new boss. If my count is correct then he's now my fifth owner during my 24 years of life. He was quite anxious to bring me into the Med as fast as possible. But I guess he just wanted to avoid the storms starting in fall. I would be better off experiencing them out of the water … well, that's easy to say for him! October 18th they took me out of my beloved surroundings and put me onto my 'foot' and four hard poles – not really comfortable! There I waited. Ok, mid February my boss and his fiancée visited me. I guess they wanted to see how I do – cold it was, freezing! That wind, I have experienced quite some winds, but this one! They call it Bora and it was freezing cold! But I think my two bosses didn't like it either. They barely left the aft cabin. There they could heat up the temperature a bit with a small electric heater. They took quite some measures of me and spoke about 'buying new fabrics', 'new curtains' and 'make new upholstery covers'. I didn't understand at that time what it all meant.

Beginning April my boss came with some gold on his finger. I heard later something about a wedding and marriage, but I don't know anything more about those things. Then he just sat there – he measured absolutely everything throughout the boat. Again and again he searched catalogs and brochures for the right parts. 'Refit', 'upgrade', 'replacing' were the words I heard so often.

But so far not much happened – well almost nothing: during the first few days he dragged some poles, planks and huge wooden plates behind me. Then he built a small but stable hut with a ramp to come up to my deck. Now he relieved me of many equipment: sails, dinghy, life raft, numerous ropes, wind vane steering and many more items went into the little storage hut. I felt much better afterwards. At last I got back the wonderful spacey feeling which I was given to me by my builders.

Mid May my boss' wife came to visit. She was keen to work a lot. But I think she was a little disappointed. There was so much to do but mainly bigger jobs which they didn't want to start yet. But I got a first small refreshening: together they sanded the teak parts in the cockpit and gave me a massage with a special teak oil – that was wonderful.

But in June all was quiet again. I was alone and enjoyed the warm temperatures. In July my bosses came back. But whow! They came with an over packed car. They unpacked so many things that I started to wonder what they had in mind with all those things: fridge compressor, solar panel, water tank, wind generator and numerous more items. Also quite some tools: small circular saw, band grinder, a big drill, battery screwer, flex, excenter grinder (more about this one later – haha), MultiMaster, …

The weather was still beautiful even though it got quite hot some days. Soon I realized that now my peaceful and quite time was definitely over. My lady boss began to scratch my belly. That was really a joy – to get rid of all those tiny dried mussels – but she was sweating doing that work. Right after they started with the excenter grinder to rub the complete underwater antifouling / primer part of me - it seemed they wanted to get through all my protection layers. After only one day they had to stop – the grinding machine broke (I overheard it had been a cheap one – well, it was about time that they learnt that only the best is good enough for me!!). Not much later my boss came back with a new strong machine. Instantly I felt how much easier the work went on. But my boss was sweating like…! I think for her it was just too much – she started working with a special rubber drill on my foot. She freed the iron cast from the small loose rusty parts.

During that time they got some more help: my lady boss' father with his partner arrived from Switzerland. From then on I got almost no rest at all. Both men were working now in shifts on my belly. But hot it was! I got one half day rest – guess what (hi, hi) – the new grinder broke also! Only now my boss purchased a professional machine. I guess he had to learn it the hard way. But from that point on the two worked in parallel with the pro machine and the repaired amateur one. At least around noon everyday I got a nice lunch break. That was the time when they got a beautiful lunch served on a veranda overlooking the sea. All prepared and cooked by the partner of my lady boss' father.

Completely sanded down I felt quite naked – down to the so called gel coat they worked with finer and finer sanding paper. But they where positively surprised when they learnt how good my former boss had treated me upon falling ill on osmosis. They were professionals and did a good job! Besides that my new bosses found some old deep scratches – if I remember right, one of my former bosses had me ram a pontoon or quay. But all heeled very good.

The point where I really started to worry about my boss' mental state was when he started to drill a huge hole into my belly, nota bene below the water line. I thought he is out of his mind to make a hole about three inches wide! But then he put a very stable special tube with epoxy back in that place. Then everything was fine again. But what it is for I didn't figure out yet. Something about 'Forward Looking Sonar' I heard. Something like a depth sounder which also looks ahead? Must be very useful in areas with shallow water and reefs.

Well, then they started with the new coats of my protection around my belly: in total they put eight layers on my fourteen meters (48 feet) of hull length! They really had to get into it - get some experience with all the different brushes and rolls. I was also surprised on the number of all those various pots – my former boss didn't use so many of them. Tins with 'BOB Rostschutz', 'Light Primer', 'High Protect', 'Poly Best', 'Antifouling' and Epoxy. Every time they had to mix two components just before the application – two times the temperatures were so hot, they had to throw away the second half of it as it got too hard to apply. And other times it suddenly started to rain… Every time just before they put a new layer on, they gave me a quick soft massage with some scotchbrite (like a sauna glove!) – that I enjoyed enormously, though I didn't get why. It seems that the next layer will then hold tighter to the underlying one – my boss was very keen on having it done properly.

I didn't count it all but they used quite some material: for sure more than 50 sanding sheets, about 800m tape, aprx. 30 painting rolls, roughly 250 latex gloves and gallons of nitro to clean all tools after every painting.

Next to my new hull coat my boss worked again and again on my interiors: almost all electrical wiring had to be replaced by new cables. In the engine compartment he had to take so think cables, they barely fit into the spaces provided. He seems to know something about electrics – he talked about 'a lot of current and power' and 'safety'. By now I like it too: all is nicely done in red and blue with a system.

Also the forward head had been worked in. The nice strong orange my builder had chosen for me and the almost dissolving linings at the walls were to be replaced. With heavy machinery my boss removed the cabinet – whow, that man was completely dusted by this very fine glass fiber dust… luckily he wore all the protective gear. As a next step she sanded the bottom of the head so a new color could be painted over it.

Suddenly a huge black strange plastic container came – it barely fitted through the doors – to be mounted as a waste tank for the forward toilet. That's new to me, but it seems that more and more countries do require such installations aboard a boat. It followed a very long lasting process of fitting the new walls - thin plywood plates of Okume. Next to the terrible noise that this MultiMaster made, I overheard my boss adore that genius universal machine. Over and over I saw him cut through the Okume like it was butter and most cuts were not straight since the corners were all angled. Only now his wife came to work again on the head parts: she painted it with a couple of layers in a mild warm light orange. Meantime only the corner covers in Mahaghony are missing for making it look perfect!

Did I mention that my boss took away my masts? You wouldn't take away a bird's wings, would you? On the other side it was necessary for a thorough inspection: the stays, the fittings, mast foot plate, all the electrical connections and lights, the rolls for all ropes, and so on. For example the rolls at the mast top, they needed replacement. Now I have some new ones of aluminum which will most probably last for quite some time. My old forestay including the very old furler went for a completely new set and at the same time I got the aft stay from my main mast replaced.

Ah, and they put some kind of hooks of aluminum on my main mast – I've seen such things also on masts of my colleagues: they are used to climb up and down the mast. On top of both masts my boss - with the help of his wife - mounted several antennas. Even a strobe light for special cases is now fitted on top of the mizzen mast. Now my mizzen mast looks more like a instrument support! Personally, I don't think it looks very pretty on me, but in terms of long term cruising those things seem to be very useful… For sure I will be able to see it in future. Also a huge piece with a propeller has been mounted above the radar dome. As a wind generator it generates electricity from the blowing winds.

Furthermore they replaced quite a number of rusty rivets on supports and plates on the masts. I think by now everything is strong like in the early days. For a week my boss' mother stayed with us. She cleaned and serviced all winches! Must have been a hell of a lot of work. I guess she must have been quite happy when she finished them all. And I got new ropes resp. halyards – they look so pretty on me! I still have to get used though to the new colors, but at least there seems to be a system behind it.

Putting back up the masts was quite a story! Normally (that's the way they took them down) a big crane drives alongside the boat and takes them one by one down or up with its huge hook. But that crane was broken. Since my bosses needed to have them up by a specific date (something with 'before traveling back to Switzerland' I overheard) they couldn't wait till the crane was fixed. The people from the Shipyard proposed a different way: they put me into the slings of the big travel lift and drove me back to the water - lowered me into the water - with the little crane on top of the big travel lift they took now mast by mast to position them onto my deck (being in the water my deck's level was now much lower than on land). Unfortunately they took me out of the water right after that and put me back onto those hard poles at the same spot as before.

Shortly afterwards it was time to get dressed – well, first they took my measurements. A local sporty guy came and took the measures. I knew this from before! And I was looking forward to finally get a new wardrobe: a new huge foresail, a new mainsail and a new mizzen sail. Puh, what a cut, what a material! Even though that sporty guy had to come twice for some corrections … now it fits perfectly, now I can show up again!

By the way, also inside I got some new fabrics: my boss' wife sewed new curtains. With a nice light yellow they lighten up the inside of the cabins and the pillows done in the same color give it all a special note. Sooner or later the upholsteries will also get new fabrics. I've seen already the material!

My navigation corner got also a new look. My preowners didn't put too much emphasis to renew that part of me – well, besides the fact that they invested into new electronics which are quite clever connected – it looked for a long time old and messy. My owner now seems to have fun in working with wood and rebuilt it all. The nice big chart table with its drawer he left original. But everything above it shines now in a new design, of course with the same Mahaghony look as the other wood work.

The only sad thing is that my bosses didn't have time yet to redo my deck. My lady boss' mother came with her partner the whole long way to us for a week. But unfortunately the weather wasn't so good. They started to sand parts of the deck, but for painting it there was not enough time – anytime the rain was due. Just the aft deck got a new coat of epoxy, that is now sealed. But I keep on hoping that one day some more work might be done on the deck…

What they did though were the sealants of some windows. They are made of long small pieces of plexy glass glued onto the deck structure. My bosses took them off completely. That gave quite some draft through the salon and the aft cabin! They sanded and cleaned it all to stick the windows on again with Sika the same day. Now there are no leaks along these windows anymore!

I think especially my boss intended to do too much at one time! Again and again I saw many parts and equipment laying around. They are now nicely stowed away. Right, time is running! I don't mind if we don't start our journey with too many storms. It's already mid October and they both want to reach the Canary Islands! I'm not sure…

Some close friends and my boss' mother and sister came for the last couple of days (with even more boxes and stuff!) and helped clearing up – the sister fell in love with that battery screwer. She unscrewed the little hut behind me in no time. And my bosses actually stowed away everything (I didn't think they could do it!).

After a shaky night just in the slings of the big travel lift a nice little rewatering ceremony took place this morning. I was officially introduced to big Neptune (although we met already before…) and we asked him to provide us always with good winds and weather. In the afternoon I got poured over with Champaign again: once more a small celebration in my honor!

Well, now I'm lying here in the Marina of Izola in Slovenia and waiting for the things to come. Almost everything is ready for the big voyage! But I think my two bosses take some time off to recover from the quite stressful time – especially the last few days, but also the last couple of months were very busy. Always something has been done and there is still a lot to be done!

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