A day worthy of its own post …… Launch day.

Yep thats right, Kata Brava is in the water.  You’re probably thinking we kept that quiet, although anyone who knows boats would have guessed that we were close from last weeks post.  We set this date to launch two weeks ago.  Last week I was still second guessing whether we were ready or not.  But as Morgan constantly tells me, we will never be fully ready and the fact is we need to get her in the water to get all her systems checked.  Plus once living on board we might actually progress more to.

To say the last few days have been stressful would be an understatement, I have woken up every night for the last week at 2am and find my mind racing until nearly 5am. 

We bought Kata Brava whilst she was sitting on the hard four and a half years ago, and as far as we understood she had been on the hard for 6-7 years prior to that.  So that comes to approximately 11-12 years out of the water.  She’s an impressive sight on land so to be honest I struggled to imagine what she would look like in the water.  We have just one copy of an old article on her to go by.   I kept saying to Morgan ‘Will she float’ 🙂 .

Our anxiety about the launch meant we couldn’t say anything in fear of jinxing things.  What didn’t help either was that a month ago whilst we were in France the sea wall along where the travel lift pit is collapsed. This meant that boats are being hauled and launched via crane and then travel lifted the 200 meters or so round to the yard.  This all sounds reasonable until you have a boat like Kata Brava.  A heavy steel boat that is too heavy for the resident crane.  So a bigger crane had to be hired for the job and Friday we got notified that our launch would cost over four times more than what it would if we had been launched via the travel lift.  This made us both pretty pissed of and angry to say the least.  We don’t see it as being fair, but what can we say……our backs are up against the wall. We needed to get in the water and start thinking about getting out of this country.

So this morning at 8 am the 200 ton (imperial) crane arrived along with his truck full of weights to act as counter weights.  KB was prepped for the ride from the yard to the new launch area and then it started.  It was quite a process to get the whole operation set up.  Fortunately everyone seemed to know what they were doing and everything went smoothy.  On transferring her from the travel lift to the crane slings we got a accurate weight reading of 55 000 Ib’s which is approximately 25 tons for us Europeans.  Everything happened pretty fast from there and at 10:35 she touched the water.  What a wonderful sight and a wonderful feeling.  We checked and still continue to check her, seacocks, transducer, shaft and rudder stem are all dry.  YAY we have a floating boat.

To top it all of this evening Morgan wanted to connect the batteries for both the engine and generator and start them both up.  The generator had to be kicked over 2 times before it roared into life.  All systems checked…..all systems go. Next it was the engine and of cause first turn of the key and she came to life to.  Once again all systems checked and all systems go.   Its been a good day on the water and tonight we spend our first night aboard our home.

Cheryl & Morgan

Week 19. – Phase 2. – Frustratingly slow…..but slowly progressing.

Summer is officially here in Charleston.  We knew it was going to be hot and humid but I don’t think we realised it would be this bad.  Its horrible.  With the intense heat comes the nearly daily thunder storms.  We are so glad we got the painting out of the way when we did.  We did it thinking of the heat but didn’t realised it would be so wet also. 

Just when you think we should be building momentum it feels like we are slowing down.  Not because we really are, but because things are taking longer and most of this week I have found myself stuck without ‘constructive’ jobs to do.  I so want to start rebuilding the interior, the two heads, the aft cabin and the pilot house, but its not like I am a carpenter or master of anything crafty.  In fact I can’t even carry any of the wood or tools up the ladder, which in my defence is 4-5 meters high.  Morgan has been going non stop and I often feel like I will slow him down if I keep asking for help in the jobs, so for now they are pushed to the side.  He promises we will get some things done within the next few weeks.

So this week we have spent nearly every other morning running errands or getting the last of the supplies needed.  Coming to the end of the ‘BIG’ spending now means that Morgan often has to rush of to get another clamp or a tool that we need to make the job easier. A small stop on route to the yard means we often get there a hour or two later than we had anticipated.  The traffic here is crazy, especially in the morning and if there is one thing we have both realised in living here for the last 6 months, it is that we would never want to live this ‘rat race’ kinda life. 

So Monday with a quick stop of at West Marine to pick up our Port Supply Order we finally got the majority of the lifelines and terminals in.  We got all four of the top life lines measured of and cut and then I spent a fair few hours crimping the terminals on the lines with the hand held crimper.  We were missing a few terminals so I had to finish the rest of at the end of the week once the remainder of our order arrived, but now all the lifelines have been changed out and is looking good.

Whilst I busy myself with this Morgan installed the water pump and heat exchanger back on the generator.  So now the generator is all ready to go, lets keep our fingers cross that it will start up.

We also got the Pedestal top and navigational light mounts installed in place.  So this is now another job coming to close.  By the end of the week we got the compass block temporarily dry fitted and its all looking good.  The compass did get shipped to Germany. Hopefully we will receive it back in a week or two.

Tuesday our day started of with a survey from True South Marine.  We have been looking at various insurance options and everyone wanted to get a survey report before making any final quotes, so we had to get this done earlier than we had hoped.  However at the end of the week when we got our Survey Report back we were happy that we got it done.  Jeff Kibler the surveyor did a great job.  Fingers cross we can get some more solid answers now.  We are still waiting on our Registration Certificate from St Helena, I believe they are waiting on the Certificate template from the MCA, so everyone is waiting on someone which makes it s a bit of a slow process in itself.

The afternoon before we had finally humped the life raft up the ladder and on deck.  Not easy weighing 48 Kg and just the two of us.  However Morgan needed to make 4 steel supports for the life raft bracket.  So after measuring and cutting 4 pieces of steel the life raft was installed in place.  Previously there was 2 x 6 man life rafts on deck however these had been last serviced in 2002, 15 years ago so definitely wouldn’t be any good right now.  We had enquired about getting them serviced but was told that nearly everything would need to be replaced after all this time which in the long run would probably be more expensive than getting a new one.  A life raft should be serviced anything from annually, to every 3-5 years.  Luckily the Viking 8 man life raft that we have will only require servicing every 3 years. 

Morgan started looking at the battery installation.  Previously the house battery bank was split into two, with an additional two battery bank for the engine and a two battery bank for the windless.  These all consisted of various different batteries.  Now that we only have one main battery bank and an a two battery bank for the engine and a two battery bank for the windless Morgan wanted to wire things differently. 

Wednesday our morning started of running around looking for a battery cable crimper.  We literally tried everywhere and finally found a place that would rent out a crimper.  With only being able to rent Morgan went back and got himself organised with what size lugs he would need for the different cables. 

Whilst Morgan did that I continued to organized the interior and put non slip linings in all of the cupboards and draws.

We also pulled out the oven to check the propane gas line.  Whilst the whole stove unit was out I got the area behind cleaned up.  Four years ago when we were doing the welding jobs on the hull, one of the areas that needed welding was directly behind the stove.  So we had to remove the stainless steel plate and cut out the wood lining of the bulk head to access the area.   Now that this was all done, insulation was put back in the open space and everything was secured back into place.  This weekend Morgan connected the gas line inside.  We filled up our two propane gas tanks last week.  Originally there was a gas locker inside the stern steering compartment, however for now we will secure the tanks outside.

Thursday we actually took a day of and drove two hours away to meet up with Jon and Nicki in Savannah.  In February when they were here in the US they came to visit us and we had promised to go and see them.  It was a great day away and so nice to have the break and to catch up with friends.  I think we all talked non stop for 8 hours.  It was good to see where they were settling down on land for the next few months and to see a little of Savannah. 

Friday our day started of on the wrong foot.  We will reveal more later.  However the travel lift was there waiting for us and once the back stays was released they lifted KB in the slings about two feet so that we could access under the keel.  Morgan spent a few hours chipping away and grinding at the rust spots.  We also lightly sanded the spots where the chuck supports were.  Once these areas were all cleaned I gave the first coat of primer.  That afternoon Morgan applied the second coat to these areas.

In between drying times I continued the life line crimping whilst Morgan started on the battery lug crimping.  We did the same thing on Saturday.  Unbelievable how much time it all takes.  He didn’t count them but Morgan estimates that he crimped between 30-40 battery cable ends.  

Over the weekend several coats of antifouling was applied to the spots where the chuck supports were and under the keel. 

It hasn’t stopped in the yard, the last few nights Morgan’s been preparing our fender and dock lines.

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Preparing the dock lines. 

I also purchased a spot cleaner to get the upholstery cleaned this weekend.  However I only got the master cabin bed done before the little machine started spitting out water from everywhere.  So in the end the rest of the saloon upholstery was done mainly by hand.

Morgan installed the Fire Boy Extinguisher in the Engine room and went over his engine installation and also through the battery bank installation.  Everything is ready to go and will be connected this coming week.  Wish us luck.

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Fire Boy Extinguisher installed.

Fingers cross for a productive week a head.

Cheryl

Week 18. – Phase 2. – Slowly slowly.

Slowly slowly things are coming together.  As each day passers we wonder where the time has gone. 

We’ve concentrated our efforts this week in a few specific areas.

At the beginning of the week we took the big step of applying our anti-fouling.  So once again a new look for Kata Brava.  I’ve been dreaming about applying this black antifouling for weeks now.  The first coat was tough but the following two coats applied much easier.  So three coats in total, each taking the two of us two hours to apply.  Morgan worked on the flat surfaces whilst I did the joins, the T bracket which in our case is more like a V bracket and the rudder and skeg. 

 

So this is the perfect time to reflect on what we have done these past few months.

 

Once the antifouling was completed I started the process of lightly sanding, priming and then antifouling the prop and shaft.  Every few days another coat was applied until we finished the little tin of paint. Hopefully this will stop any growth for a while.

 

In the final prep of the below water areas Morgan got the anodes installed.  Being a steel boat we calculated the amount of zinc needed to last us for several years. This equated to 9 anodes on the boat it self and 2 on the shaft.  Of cause they needed a little modifying to install on our existing bolts, which again took quite a bit of time. 

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Anodes installed.

Morgan finished of the last of the engine plumbing. This is pretty much completed now so he will move onto the electrical requirements in there from this week. 

He also took apart the generator and got the injectors sent of for testing.  The heat exchanger had quite a bit of build up, so this had to get a full clean along with various other parts.  The raw water pump was taken apart and cleaned also.  When we got the injectors back at the end of the week we also got a can of Westabeake red paint so we could get the parts sprayed and looking in top shape again.  All new hoses were also installed. Hopefully this little red beast will work a charm.

 

He also worked on the fuel system this week getting the fuel day tank filled up.

We’ve both worked on the pedestal area.  We got the remainder of the existing holes closed up.  After several attempts of applying a final coat of paint to the marine ply this piece is now in place.  We had hoped to finish this project early in the week, but its been a little windy and dusty and our freshly painted parts kept attracting the dust. Its looking good though.  We just need some more sika to finish the trim and then this will be done.  The compass block is also coming along after several coats of epoxy resin and a light sand in between.

 

I know we mention dust a lot, but we are probably in one of the dustiest areas and with the ‘sand like’ pile in front of us there are days when its really quite bad for painting.  So this has been going on for two months already and this is where they are right now.

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Lots of dusty activity right in front of us.

Unfortunately the compass that was sitting on the pedestal is in a sorry state. After we took it apart the half gimbal literally shattered into pieces.  After lots of emails back and forth to Carssen & Plath the manufactures we’re thinking of getting it shipped to Germany for the installation of the new parts. I didn’t realize a compass would be so complicated.  Its such a shame we didn’t realize this earlier as we could have taken it ourselves when we went to France. 

Morgan finalized the main battery support this week, adding a additional steel strap across the top of the bank to limit movement with pieces of wood between each battery to allow adequate ventilation.  He also worked on the area in the bow where the two batteries needed to be installed for the anchor windless.  There was a battery support already there, however the new batteries we have are a lot slimmer than the older batteries so he had to modify the support to hold the batteries snugly in place.  Whilst in there he got the rest of the storage area closed up and supported better.

 

We also spent a fair amount of time this week running errands.  We got a a good majority of our safety equipment in which included a Jon Bouy, Life sling, Epirb and Life raft.  We also received our Fire Boy Extinguisher for the engine room, this along with our existing two fire extinguishers on board was sent for servicing.  Staying with safety we also got our existing life lines measured.  The currently life lines have been on board since day one so we figured it would be time for a change.

 

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3 Fire extinguishes all serviced.

Morgan also did some work on the steering this week, connecting news cables and installing the sheaves for the cables. He also had to make a step key to hold the quadrant on to the rudder shaft as the original key had worn out and in turn wore the rudder shaft. 

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Steering quadrant.

Along with all of this and assisting Morgan where possible I gave the entire interior of KB a good and thorough clean this week.  Every cupboard, draw, and bilge was vacuumed and wiped out.  We still have lots of work to do in the interior, but with a good clean she looks a whole lot better.

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Hopefully this week we will get our provisional registration documents.  We’re also narrowing down our insurance options.  I didn’t realize this process would be so complicated either.  With hurricane season officially on us, we want to make the right decision. 

Cheryl

Week 17. – Phase 2. – Back on board.

Well after two weeks in France we are back in the USA and back with our girl.  However this time our time here is even more limited and we need to get ready to leave.  I’ll tell you more about that later. 

Since we’ve been away Charleston has been experiencing a lot of rain.  We were a little concerned about this before we left so had covered all the hatches with plastic just in case and am happy to report that all was well on board and dry.  That was a huge relief. 

So this week we have been full steam a head. It always takes a little time to get organised. After giving KB a well deserved clean down, as all the rain and wind had left our nice grey deck brown with dirt, we got stuck in. 

You will remember in our last week of work we gave the engine room a coat of top coat. It continued to rain pretty hard at the beginning of this week so Morgan spent three solid days pretty much in the engine room.  He installed the engine muffler which he had to first fibre glass a elbow and reducer to prior to installation, he connected both exhaust’s and installed brackets to ensure minimal vibration.

He also connected the raw water system to both the main engine and generator.  He installed the fuel filters for both engine and generator and plumbed the fuel line from the day tank to the filter to the engine and back to the day tank.

He installed the teleflex control cables to the exhilarator and gear box and connected the lever outside. The water heater was bolted into place as well. 

Its really coming a long nicely.  You might think how much time can one person spend in a engine room, well it was completely stripped out minus the generator, so he’s pretty much rebuilding our entire engine room from scratch.

We bought new cawl’s whilst we were in France as the old ones were pretty fried from the sun.  All the dorade box threads had to be re- tapped before the cawls could be installed.

We continued closing up some of the openings in the cockpit. 

New latches were installed on the cockpit lockers and we also started working on the pedestal.  Originally the pedestal had teak on it but this was removed as the teak was starting to lift of.  We’ve decided to keep it simple and clean and put a painted marine ply instead with a vanished compass block. 

With getting this ready we also inspected the original compass that unfortunately needs a little TLC.

We got our new anchor roller back from the machine shop this week and got that installed.

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Old roller versus new roller.

At the end of the week once the weather got better we decided to concentrate our efforts below the water line.  First Morgan added another application of filler to smooth out any uneven crevices.  Once this was dry we gave the entire hull, below the waterline, a light sand down.  Between us this took about 4 hours to do. 

We had a few small spots of metal show through, so after a good de-dusting and clean down and some gardening to remove the weeds that had grown around KB we applied a coat of fresh primer to the hull.  A second coat of  primer was applied to all the shines. 

Its nice to finally have a uniformed hull.

With the current time pressure we have on us, we also spent a fair bit of time this week working on the registration and insurance process.  Its amazing how much paperwork this involves.  We are looking at two different options for registering KB and various Insurance options.  Hopefully things will come clearer for us this week and we can start to finalise things.

So lots happening this week, lots of small jobs not worth mentioning but still time consuming. 

Lets keep pushing on.

Cheryl

Bonjour from France.

I actually wrote last weeks update from here in France as we left the USA last Saturday, but because we were surprising family I didn’t want to say anything and carried on as normal.  Yet the last week was far from normal as we prepared KB to be left alone for a few short weeks. 

So here we are visiting family in Paris and Bordeaux.  Its good to take a break and enjoy some family time in Morgan’s home country.  Just a few weeks and fingers cross we will be back with our girl to hopefully continue the interior and then get her in the water and sailing south. 

We can’t wait.  We miss you already Kata Brava.

Week 16. – Phase 2. – All about the Engine room.

This week’s update is going to be super brief.  We really haven’t done a great deal outside of the engine room.  It feels like its been a slow week, but we have progressed in the Engine room. 

Morgan spent a good part of the beginning of the week working on getting the shaft aligned.  Its really not an easy job and one that requires lots of patience.  He had one frustrating day as several times he got it close and then once he tightened the bolts the engine would shift just the slightest.  I think I heard every french swear word possible and needless to say I stayed out of his way that day. After lots of patience he was finally happy with the result. Phew thankfully that is over. 

Once this was done and he was happy with the rest of the test installation of the other items going in the Engine room he made various brackets out of steel and got Jimmy to come in to weld these in place. Of cause with welding being done in the engine room everything else had to be protected. 

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Jimmy welding the muffler nuts in place.

With any welding comes a clean up and then priming of the areas welded.  However its looking good to see sea water strainers and fuel filters mounted in place. 

Whilst we had Jimmy with us we got him to re-weld the join of one of the hatches we have been fighting with.  Now we have to think of a way to get the hatch frame to conform with the deck and hatch base.

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Jimmy welding the deck and hatch join. 

Continuing in the Engine room Morgan also installed the shaft loc and shaft seal. 

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Shaft loc and seal in.

With most of the the additional items ready to go into place officially we decided to give the entire engine room its final coat of grey top coat.  Again not a easy task in the now tight engine room but at least that is now done and the rest of the installation, plumbing and wiring can go ahead. 

In continuing closing up we also got the transducer housing installed this week.  We had two holes previously so installed our new transducer housing in the starboard side and installed the old housing in the port side just incase we need it for the future.  So thats good, two more holes closed. 

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Transducers in. Notice my eye in the top transducer looking in. 

So for me whilst there has been lots of engine room work, its been a bit of a slow week.  Just cleaning and organising and helping Morgan where possible.  I got to give the fridge and freezer a deep cleaning this week which was a first since we had the boat.  Its all looking much better. 

Just wanted to give you an update on that pile of sand like substance that was placed in front of KB a few weeks back . Its being trucked away daily and slowly slowly the pile is going down.  To give you an idea of how its progress here’s a update photo for you. 

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The progress on the pile of sand like substance in front of us.

Well like I said its been a bit of a slow week so will end here and give you an update again soon.

Have a good week.

Cheryl

A Wedding in the Seychelles – Our one year Anniversary.

Today we celebrate our one year Wedding Anniversary.  Thats right a whole year already.  For those of you that know us well you’re probably thinking exactly what we are ‘where has that time gone’.  For those that do not know us, yes a year ago on the 16th May 2016 we finally tied the knot.

I had given up on the idea of getting married and out of the blue on October 2nd 2015 nearly 12 years after we had been dating Morgan got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. 

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His proposal was made on a beach.

image1It was our last weekend before a long 5 week trip and we went away to Port Douglas in Cairn’s Australia for the weekend.  It was to be a weekend of relaxing and kite surfing for Morgan. 

Little did I know he had planned it all and had even set up the go pro’s to film his proposal.  So there we were on the beach and he returned from kite surfing and the long awaited moment came.  I was so happy and of cause I said YES.

We talked about when we would get married and we both agreed sooner was better than later.  So seven months later whilst on a long stop over in the Seychelles we said ‘I Do’.

We didn’t have a big wedding, however we had with us everyone that was special to us.  Morgan had his parents, his brother Jonathan, his sister Anais and his sister Sarah, her partner Stephen and their daughter Tullula.  I had my Mum and Pete.  It was the first time in 16 years that all of Morgan’s family was together in one place and for me it had been 4.5 years since I had seen my Mum and Step dad Pete.  We talked about inviting friends, but considering how special it was going to be to have our families all together for the first time we decided to keep it small and intimate.  It was perfect. 

Our wedding took place on the beautiful beach of Anse Intendance on the Island of Mahe.  It was one of the wildest beaches we had seen. 

The day of our wedding arrived and the skies had opened up and the mountains around us was clouded with rain. Everything was pre-arranged and it felt surreal getting ready to meet everyone at the beach.  As the time drew nearer the skies cleared of the heavy clouds.  I remember feeling completely calm.  It was a moment I had dreamt about, a moment I had wished for and a moment that was finally here. The ceremony was short and sweet and in many respects quite emotional. 

With in 15 minutes it was over and we were on the beach drinking champagne and eating cake.  The day ended with dancing to our own two person band right there on the beach whilst the sun set. Later that evening we had a wonderful meal at the ‘La Scala’ restaurant.

It was probably one of the most simplest weddings imaginable.  It was by far more than I had expected and the perfect day.

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The most amazing setting.