November 1-30, 2002 -- On the Hard

The month of November was a month of surprises. The work the yard was doing on the boat was moving along very slowly. So, it was the second week of November before we were able to see how the gelcoat looked under 4 years of bottom paint. We could tell immediately that the gelcoat was in bad shape. We spoke with the yard manager about this, and after performing a grind test, he put together a new quote to remove all of the gelcoat from the bottom of the boat and then put on five coats of epoxy and three coats of cold tar epoxy barrier coat. The estimate took another two days. So, it was the beginning of the third week that we discussed the length of time we would be on the hard. The yard manager was hopeful that we would be able to have everything completed quickly. The bottom of the boat under the gelcoat was still in excellent shape. They believed we would be able to launch before Christmas. We figured that this was a good idea. We would trade a month on the hard now for 6 months on the hard in another two years. So, we went for it. Half way into the job, the planer broke it's last belt, and parts had to be ordered from the U.S. We watched and waited. Finally, knowing that no belts would be coming any time soon, the yard manager put his best grinders to finish up the hull, and by the end of the last week of November, the hull was done, with the exception of the portion of the keel the boat was resting on.

It was also about this time that we had a heart to heart with the yard manager. CMO announced that the yard would be closing between December 14 and January 13. We asked whether we would be able to launch. The yard manager looked a bit sheepish and admitted that we would not be ready. So, after a little more discussion, we decided to postpone putting the bottom back on until after Christmas. There was no sense in having the bottom half epoxied when we could get a free month of drying time on the boat.

We had been hearing rumors of a strike for some time. We paid attention to the news and read the English newspaper. Sure enough, a strike was announced to commence on December 2, 2002.

The manager of the yard walked around the yard assuring the boat owners that they would have a skeleton crew working during the strike. They received special dispensation from the Fedacarmus to continue operations due to their international clientele.

During the month of November, we also went to Margarita twice. The first time was for my birthday and the second was the last weekend in November. Both times we had a lot of fun, and enjoyed eating at some decent restaurants again as the food in Puerto La Cruz, for the most part, is really bad.