October 2002 -- Uh oh

At the beginning of October there are always certain documents that have to be handled. We have to deal with our documentation, and ship's registration for Florida. We also have insurance which comes due in November. So, getting a mail package is very important and we requested our mail to be sent.

We continued doing minor maintenance on the boat while putting together our "Everything that must be completed before our next survey" list.

Everything was going well until we received our mail package on October 11. As we went through our mail, we discovered several things. First, our insurance was due to expire on November 1 not November 30 as we had been thinking. Second, our insurance company had issued a non-renew to all vessels valued under one million dollars! Third, our agent notified us that he could not obtain a new policy for us unless we had a completed survey.

This put life into a real tail spin. Instead of having the customary 90 days after renewal to get a survey, we now had to find someplace to haul that had a surveyor available and we had just 17 days to do it. So we set to work on taking care of our list for two days until Monday morning when we cold start making phone calls to locate a surveyor and yard to haul us.

Monday morning, we contacted the one yard in Puerto La Cruz (PLC) that could haul us and the 3 yards in Trinidad that could haul us. Each yard took our information and requested a fax number so they could fax us a quote for the haul out and bottom painting we would need. Next, Ray and Gail from Precocious Gale gave us the name of the surveyor they used. We sent him an email requesting information on his credentials so we could make sure his survey would be accepted. Then we contacted the Lloyds surveyor in Trinidad for more information from him.

We continued working on the boat and discussing our alternatives for the boat. We knew that the best solution would be to make sure the boat was hauled before our insurance lapsed, while working to obtain either a port risk policy or a regular policy pending survey. When we did not hear from the surveyor in PLC, or from any of the yards, we made another round of phone calls, and this time we called the surveyor there as well. The conversation with the yard in PLC gave us the best information, and the surveyor whose English on the phone was about as good as my Spanish on the phone said that he would be available, and to call us when we arrived in PLC. So, after further conversation, we decided to haul the boat in Puerto La Cruz.

With that settled, we focused again on our list and worked to completed everything before we had to leave on October 29.

Finally, October 29 rolled around, and we pulled out of Porlamar, Margarita at 5:00 AM AST. We had a pleasent sail until we turnd to head between Margarita and Coche. There wasn't enough breeze there to sail, so we started motoring, and we continued motoring until we reached PLC. We pulled into the dock at Centro Marino de Oriente at 3:30 PM AST. We checked in with the office and handed our papers over to an agent for our national check in. We arranged to haul out the next morning.

On October 30, we maneuvered the boat into the haul out slip and watched with trepidation as Nightwinds was picked up. The straps must have stretched a good 12 inches as the yard lifted her. She weighed in at 59 tons. The bottom was surprisingly clean. Our bottom paint was almost 22 months old at this point, and had not been cleaned in several months. You could see where the bottom paint was wearing thin and the old blue paint was showing through though. It was definitely time to haul the boat.

Once the bottom was pressure washed and the boat blocked up, we called the surveyor and made arrangements for him to come out. Next, we met with the yard manager to review what we wanted done. We hoped to be out of the water no more than a week. The yard manager told us that they would need a day to put together our estimate. So, we were done for the day.

On October 31, we reviewed the estimate and signed off on the work. Instead of just prepping the bottom, we decided to have the yard remove all of the prior bottom paint. Little did we know that this would prove to be a wise decision.