The work continues on Slick. It has been a while since I made a post but the reality is, at the end of the day I am totally exhausted from the work. The bottom job has been delayed repeatedly due to the rain, which only seems to come at the most inconvenience of times. So at present we are delayed two weeks from our launching date. The reality is though, this gives me more time for other projects on Slick, of which there are many.

The bottom is coming along though. They put on four layers of woven fiberglass and then filler and are currently sanding on the second go around of fairing. The fiberglass lay-up was pretty impressive to watch and I will make and post a video as soon as the silly Turkish government stops blocking youtube. The reality of that situation is that will probably have to wait until Greece so I am in no hurry to make it. The contractor and his boys are currently long-board sanding the hull. This seems to be an excruciating process that is all manual and done above the head. Its coming out beautiful and Slick says she has never felt so, well, slick. I just would like to see them finish. Part of the Turkish working day, like half of it, involves smoke breaks, tea and coffee time and lunch. Plus the yard won’t even allow workers in till 8:30 so it isn’t like they can get an early start. I am more than happy with the work though and I am sure she will be a faster and stronger boat when it is finally done.

The delays gave me plenty of time to finish the engine install too. Yanni, the new 3-cylinder Yanmar is sitting in place. I took the time to completely refurbish the engine room and I am happy with how clean it is. No more oil on everything and new sound deadening too. I should be able to work on it in my best clothes and not worry about any new grease stains on them. That is really to say that my best clothes are barely fit as a mechanic’s duds at this point. The thing that made me most annoyed about the engine install though is that I paid the resident yard shop almost 200 dollars to make the engine stands and when I got them on a Saturday evening they tapped holes that couldn’t even take a screw. I was really pissed as it cost me a few days of work and how can any shop claim to be a machine shop and tap holes like fourth graders. The following Monday I told them as much and that I might also tell them to stuff them up their collective tailpipes if they didn’t compensate me somehow. These things were big and chunky and that would hurt. Well, the Turks are very good at taking money but not so good at giving it back. They refused any sort of partial refund but instead gave me a great price on some other work. When that was off my 2mm and I pointed it out and the boss was furious. Furious in denial anyway. I wanted to chuck him off my boat (we are on the hard mind you, which means we are about 12 feet up in the air) but I refrained. He refused to see it and even told me my calipers were wrong. After that I found a different metal shop in town that is about a third the price and much better. It just takes a whole half a day to go to town and come back. Once the engine was in though, the engine shop came out and used an old log and a chain fall to align it and then I finished the job off. I had a few little hits but I fixed those and now Yanni is right at home in her new home.

The other thing I had been working endlessly on was a hard top dodger. My friend was also making one except he had much more experience in the matter and his came out much better than mine. Except the Turkish guy he hired to paint it screwed him, twice. There is a saying around here, “They made me this but its NQR.” That stands for not quite right. They are awesome craftsman but when it comes to making things to any sort of standard or engineering, they suck. When you buy pipe fittings they are all straight thread, and even they don’t screw together properly. O-rings? Why bother, you can’t get them anyway, so everything is sealed with thread locker. The essence of engineering is completely lost here. But I digress. I finished off the dodger and it is now mounted on Slick and she likes her new hat. Now I just need to sew up the windows and other little features and it should be all set. My contractor was convinced that I would hire him in the end to finish it. But I got him to finally understand that it was more of a hobby and I am stubborn about that sort of thing. In the end though, it came out much better than anyone, including me, expected.

I also have grown very sick of the mystery step on Slick’s swim platform, so with a little encouragement I cut it off. The new swim area is almost complete and I am really happy with it. Sometimes I sit back there and drink an evening beer pretending that I am dangling my feet in the water. I still have no idea why the original designers built the strange step there but now it is smoothed off and has a Treadmaster finish. I put on a new ladder (that was a huge pain) and also a step shower. I have a few things to do to finish it off, but the back of the boat looks a lot more, well, slick.

Since I installed a new engine I thought putting in an engine heated water heater would be a good idea. Its a pity, since we left one on the pier in Ft. Lauderdale so many years ago. As a cheap cruiser I thought I could save some money and got one at the local used shop. The guy pressurized it in the shop and it seemed OK. Well once installed it had a tiny tiny leak that you wouldn’t notice in a short pressure test. I returned it and he took it back, but wouldn’t you know, he didn’t have the money to give me back. I went back to his shop three or four times and he kept giving me excuses. Finally I grabbed two inverters that I just gave him in the fall and he had repaired and told him these should cover it. He put up a fight but I am so tired of being seen as a rich westerner because I have a yacht that I wouldn’t take any of his arguing. Finally he gave in and I left with two repaired inverters. The reality is, they don’t cover the cost but it’s the principle. I went across the street and ordered a new water heater to be fabricated at three times the price, but it doesn’t leak and is now installed. This should compliment the new deck shower nicely.

There are tons of other little projects that I am doing too. Since I have plenty of time on the hard where I can sand and grind and drill to my heart’s content. I am fixing lots of little things that have been bothering me since ever. I glued up some of the kitchen lining that has been hanging poorly with duct tape and will reline the bathroom with new vinyl. If all goes well I will get the supplies to do each cabin as time goes on. I finally am putting on a solenoid gas valve. I rewired some things and installed some strip LED’s for lighting. I traded some scrap metal for a custom bowsprit at my favorite welder in town, he did a great job but I haven’t installed it yet. Hopefully nothing is NQR about it, but it fits up all right. I got new anchor chain, 70 meters, and painted it up nicely and loaded it on. I even applied to a job or two. If things keep going well, I might even get around to restaining my teak this week, something I haven’t done in three years.

Things seem to be moving right along. But Slick needs to get wet and we need to get a move on. Not only do I need to do engine trials and some other sea trials but I am picking up Nathan for his return to Slick, on May 6th in Greece. Then we have to be in Montenegro in early June to pick up a friend from school. He wills stay about a week, and we hope to drop him off at the tip of the boot of Italy. Shortly after that my phantom traveller will return. So summer is shaping up fast, but if Slick and I can’t ever get off land then all will have to visit us in our dusty tree house.

Otherwise, I have stopped going to Happy Hour. It actually was the saddest hour of my day. I miss a few of the regulars but otherwise the bar was full of old people and their parents. The bar tenders are horribly inattentive and rude. The thing that finally pushed me over the edge though was that I got yelled at for taking my peanuts from the bar to my table for dinner. They raised the price of beer anyway, you know, because the Euro is on the rise. Wait, no it isn’t and the local currency is the lira anyway. So now it is cheaper for me to have my evening beer on Slick, plus this way I get to enjoy the swim step. I have also developed a relationship. Well, it sort of developed without my permission. There is a mosquito in my rack. It only comes out after I fall asleep. It seems to have teleporting powers as I swear I crush it each night but when I open my hands there is nothing and it always comes back. I can say though that our little evening fling has progressed from buzzing to biting, so at least there is that.