Green Cove Springs Marina, Florida

1st November - 11th December 2006

Anju had looked after us well for yet another year and it was time to pay her back with some serious maintenance.    We started with a job list a page long, which quickly doubled and tripled in length.    We worked six long weeks, seven ten-hour-days each week to tend to our darling Anju.   Much of what we achieved was made considerably easier by the help of the staff at Green Cove Springs, Paul, Tracy, Dave and Crystal.    Topside painting would have been impossible without the generous loan of staging by "Bottom Dave".   Rob from Sandpiper became a regular chauffeur for Team Anju and offered much moral support and the occasional cat-fix in the form of visits from his ship's cat Sharkbait (Sharky).    We commissioned the talents of welder Harry Walden, originally from Norfolk in the UK, who attended to some of Anju's more serious ailments.    

After hauling Anju out and eventually finding a ladder so we could get back aboard, we inspected for any damage from our recent grounding in Wrightsville Beach.   Apart from the loss of some of the black anti-fouling paint from the bottom of the keel, exposing earlier red coats beneath, all seemed well.   The rest of the day was spent clearing the decks and lockers, unloading all the gear we stow on deck; fenders, fishing nets, life-rings, gaffs, boat hooks, piles of ropes, etc, etc, plus lowering all the anchors and the dinghy to ground level.  It really was amazing how much we carried down the ladder for storage!
For over a year Anju's bowsprit, which had undergone alteration by hacksaw, whilst at sea in Maine, when we'd realised that the new roller furler wouldn't turn without rubbing on the rails, had been left in that state, with duct tape covering the holes left in the rails.   We did use the up-market white variety of duct tape to make it look pretty!.   It was time to make a more permanent job of the alteration and also to chip off 20 years of old paint, treat any rust spots and then repaint from primer up to top coat.   We had complaints about the noise from our chipping hammers which went on for two long days, driving not only our neighbours but ourselves a little crazy.  We became nicknamed the woodpeckers!  Altogether the work on the bowsprit took almost a week, it was amazing just how long a "small" job could take but finally after several coats of primer, including our new experiment of a chlorinated rubber primer, followed by undercoat and two coats of top coat, the job was finished and the wooden planking could be returned.   It was time to get started on the "big" jobs!

The bowsprit before and after a week of hard work

Another job high on our priority list was to buy and install some solar panels on Anju's arch at the stern.   The arch had been designed specifically to accommodate panels, to boost our power generation aboard but until now, three years later, our budget hadn't stretched to buying any.   Before going ahead with the purchase of a whole kit, including panels and a controller for around $1700 dollars, we took a stroll along the dock at the marina to take a look at ways solar panels had been mounted on other boats.   As we walked we spotted several panels lying by the side of a trailer parked on the dock and went over to take a closer look at the back of the panels, to see how we would be able to mount similar panels on our boat.   It was then that we met Cole, the owner of the panels which he'd salvaged from an old oil rig which was being broken up.  
Cole wondered if we wanted to buy the panels from him as he had been planning to sell them.   We came to an arrangement favourable for all involved, which involved transfer of a small amount of dollars and one rarely used, almost brand new 3.5 hp outboard engine from Anju to Cole, in return for the four 55 watt solar panels.   There was just one snag, the panels were set up to produce 24 volt electricity, not 12 volt, so Phil's next challenge was to give himself and intensive training course in the wiring of solar panels.   Meanwhile Christine set to work on repairing any rust spots on the arch and in only a couple of days Anju's new solar panels were up and running on the newly refinished arch!

Solar panel wiring 101, supervised from above.

Once the panels were safely mounted on the arch, we had to set to work on the steel under the "cocktail deck" or aft platform, which was looking decidedly shabby.   All the planks had to be taken up and the steel beneath given a dose of care with the angle grinders, before it could all be repainted.   Needless to say this involved the crew perching precariously and uncomfortably on one inch wide steel, high above the ground, whilst operating power tools.   This was followed by several rounds of painting, where much paint ended up in the hair and up the arms of the painters!   It was a great relief to finally re-lay the planks.  We also cut off the rusty boarding ladder on the stern of the boat for replacement with a new stainless ladder made by Harry, the welder.  

Tackling the rust hidden beneath the "cocktail deck"

The finished result, solar panels and new ladder in place.

A problem we had experienced on a continual basis was the rusting of the chain plates, the steel eyes welded to the deck, to which the wire rigging is connected.   The pins on the rigging were made of stainless steel and the chain plates of mild steel and a combination of the constant moving of the rigging pins against the chain plates when under sail and the mixture of two dissimilar metals had led to some corrosion, which on further investigation turned out to be more serious than we'd thought.   It was time to set Harry to work again, replacing the mild steel chain plates with stainless, which was welded to the hull.    Harry's work was excellent and the result was not only a cosmetic improvement but also an essential and timely safety improvement!

This was definitely an "uh-oh" moment

Harry's handiwork, a major improvement!

Once the aft deck looked shiny and new, the lazerette became the next eyesore for attention.   The rudder was disconnected from the hydraulic steering ram, which was also in need of some tender loving care.   Dealing with the rust in the lazerette lockers was another really unpleasant task, hanging upside down with the chipping hammers, angle grinders and the paint brushes.   The only way to reach the really difficult spots was to fold Christine up as small as possible on her side inside the locker with a hammer in hand.

Before shot of the lazerette and steering gear.........

......which fits much more comfortably than Christine!

The finished result.

The glamour of the yachting life!

Working on such time-consuming and awkward jobs, which took days of work before finally being crossed off the job list, could be quite demoralising.   We decided to start on the big jobs.   Christine for some reason and much to the amazement of the spectators on the porch at Green Cove Springs Marina, selected a freezing cold day to chip off barnacles off the hull and rub down the anti-fouling paint with scourers and cold water, ready for painting when the temperature rose enough for the paint to dry.    Despite everyone's insistence that she must be freezing, dressed in thermals and several layers of dry warm clothing, with waterproofs on top, Wellington boots, a woolly hat and diving gloves, whilst undertaking such a strenuous task, was actually warm work.  Two days later, the boat had been treated to two more coats of anti-fouling paint to keep the slime and barnacles at bay, or at least that was the hope.

Warm weather was needed for repainting the topsides, the blue part of the hull, and careful preparations had been made in anticipation of a suitable break in the weather.   The hull was sanded and all rust spots and damage repaired and primed ready for application of the top coat.    Topsides painting was actually quite enjoyable, working as a team together on the scaffolding, Phil applying the paint by roller and Christine "tipping-off" with a brush, to ensure no bubbles formed.    Luckily the rain held off, as did the dust and bugs and we were pleased with the results.  Only one small problem remained, the "Anju" logo transfers we'd had since leaving the UK had gone off and were unusable.   Christine spent an afternoon perched on the staging, re-creating the logo in white paint, which also kept the spectators amused.   It was a task which was tough on the backside and the nerves and she was particularly un-amused when, three quarters of the way through painting the second Anju logo, someone suggested she should get them made in vinyl transfers!   The results, however were pretty good considering the lack of artistic skill and appropriate materials involved in their creation!

Topsides before...

....and after.

Harry at work on the stern ladder.

Next job was repair and painting of the deck, stanchions and white rub-rails, above the blue paint.   Out came the angle grinders again and preparations were made.  Both Christine and Phil discovered that angle grinding skin can be pretty painful, when Christine ended up with a skinned knee and Phil with a skinned wrist - ouch!   

Before painting, we wanted to replace our strange system of multiple genoa sheet tracks on each side of the deck with one continuous track on each side.  Phil began to remove the old tracks, breaking about three impact driver bits in the process of removing the old bolts.   The bolt holes in the deck had to be repaired and the deck filled and faired before painting.   Trying to find track to fit our existing genoa cars turned out to be trickier than you would have expected but finally the new tracks were in place.  Our plan was to paint the deck just before leaving Anju for our visit to the UK, to allow the paint to dry in peace without us walking up and down on it and we just got finished in time. 

Old tracks removed and the deck repainted

By the date we were due to fly to the UK, we'd made good progress on the job list, although a few items remained for our return, primarily re-siting the wind-generator up the mizzen mast as the solar panels had now taken it's spot on the arch.   To protect all our hard work, we decided to pay a little more and leave Anju sitting safe in the yard during our absence.  We were exhausted and needed a holiday, however that wasn't what fate had in store for us.....
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