Slick’s haul out was an easy one. The yard-guys at this marina are very professional and the set-up is amazing. They have two travel lifts, one of which is 330 tons. Its huge, and seeing it pick up a mega-yacht is a pretty impressive sight. Slick was set down onto a cradle and then the cradle is picked up with a special truck to move her about. This is by far the most efficient method I have seen in a yard, but then again, they haul out 2000 boats here every winter, so its a pretty big operation.

I decided to repower, which will be expensive but combined with what will be discussed below (another expensive “operation”) Slick should be good for a other 30 years. Come Spring, Perky will be gone in favor of a new Yanmar type 3JH5E (probably to be named Yanni, after the piano player, but we will see how it sounds first). It has a little less power, but I never rev Perky past halfway anyway. I will do most of the work myself in order to save some money so in the end I don’t think it will end up costing much more than repowering in the States.

On to something much more horrifying and expensive. I knew Slick had some blisters, big blisters. I was even pretty sure that she had some osmosis going on. What I never considered was the amount of water that was actually in her hull. After sitting for a day or two I had two different shops come out and measure the moisture absorbed into the hull and both guys meters pegged high on the highest settings. Well that’s great. So I got out the screw driver and sander and did some exploratory surgery. To my horror the first layer of fiberglass peeled off pretty easily and trapped there was a lot of water. By a lot I really mean just enough to cause problems. I popped all the blisters I could find and sappy-uncured resin and water came out. As I continued prying and sanding I realized that the fiberglass layer that I was removing was not original to the boat, in fact it was fine mat-glass like you would use in a car. Worst of all the filler is Bondo. I have been guilty of using Bondo on small patches before, but this covers the entire boat. Right before I purchased Slick the bottom was stripped down and re-barrier coated, and I am wondering if that was when this was done. I certainly hope not, I hope it was done a long time ago, but some how I doubt it.

In any case, the bottom just kept peeling off and so I finally decided that it was getting too big for me to do myself. I could keep peeling for sure, but putting it back together again is way beyond a one man job. So I have contracted a local shop to take care of it. Next week they will come out with a peeling machine which will take off the first layer or two of glass. Then Slick’s bottom will get a weekly tri-sodium-phosphate bath to remove all the old resin and other chemicals on the surface. When it warms in Spring, they will then put on two new layers of glass-weave and fairing, several layers of barrier coat and then prime and paint the hull. So the bottom will be new, but this time with materials meant for the ocean. Its expensive, almost as much as the motor, but I think it is worth it if it solves the blister problems I have had as long as I have owned the boat.

I guess most people would be pretty upset by this sort of discover in their hull. I am upset that who ever did the job last time cut corners on materials and now I am having to do it all over again. I imagine if I had found this right after purchasing the boat there would be some sort of lawsuit to follow. However, when I think about Slick and what she has done for me in the last 6 years I can’t be anything but happy overall. We sail hard and far. Slick does not have the luxurious life of other boats, she doesn’t sit at the dock and have cocktails spilled on her, nor does she have an owner who drops 10’s of thousands of dollars a year into her for racing purposes. Those of you who remember my first season racing might wonder if I even put any money into it (I didn’t that year). It came later but always at the idea that the racing upgrades would have a dual-use as cruising upgrades too. Then after three seasons of racing, she left to sail away. So I think in 6 years I have put somewhere between 23000 and 28000 nautical miles on her. This is like 30 seasons of normal boat use, maybe even 40 for some people. Most of the miles were in hot water too, which only speeds up engine corrosion and bottom osmosis. So I find it hard to be anything other than elated that I will have both a new engine and new bottom. Not only will the bottom make Slick faster and hopefully take less maintenance, but much like my wallet, the engine will be two hundred pounds lighter. These are good things. I just wish all the people in the yard who stop by to ask me about the work would stop wondering why I am not crying or trying to dump the boat.

Anyway, I also started to finally make a hard top dodger. I found some insulation foam at a hardware store and zip-tied it to the current dodger frame. Then worked at shaping it the way I want and finally cut it down to the final form. I laid fiberglass weave onto the top and pinned it down. Since this is not an underwater or hull part I was going to use some really cheap resin. I bought it and it comes in three parts. The guys at the shop didn’t speak much English and said if I mix two of the parts out of order it will turn into a bomb. Great, that’s intimidating. They gave me the correct formula and so before making a big batch to lay-up the dodger I made a small batch and tried to cover some old wood and bottom chips. I couldn’t get the resin to set up right no matter how I tried and it just turned to jelly. Although when I got home from the bar all the tests where as hard as rocks. I don’t think I will end up using this resin and will go get some good stuff. Unfortunately it is a huge holiday week here in Turkey so everywhere is closed and the dodger remains incomplete. I covered it with some plastic for the coming rain and blow tonight and tomorrow so hopefully it can survive.

Not much else happens here. I eat at the same place everyday and get happy hour beers from the same Humbaba-like bar tender. I am planning out other work too. I did install some water tank meters. They are cheap here and I can finally know how much water I have. This is something really new for me, so I am pretty excited, I turn them on and check the water many times a day, just to make sure it isn’t some sort of fraud. Nothing else except that the only other people my age have flown home to Switzerland and so I think I am the youngest person here by at least 15 years. This wouldn’t be so bad, but I think the next youngest after that is another 15. So eating dinner in the restaurant every night is sort of like being in an old folks home, they all wonder who I could be visiting if I am eating by myself.