Life on a boatyard

Life on a boatyard

All journeys have a secret purpose that the traveler does not suspect

Martin Buber

We are in the water again! After we had to postpone the date for splashing the boat a few more times, we finally made it onto the water on June 22. And first and foremost: all new through hulls are watertight, the engine runs smoothly, there are no major problems. Eight long months, Pangolin was on the hard. In a separate blog post, we will tell you what we have done during that refit – just as a little teaser: It was a very big refit, which went to the substance of boat and people.

Pangolin after the 8 month refit

What went on during all that time? Honestly, it was not easy. Worrying about the newly discovered issues with the boat, especially those on the hull and keel, living in a “tree house” 3m high on thin stilts, surrounded by dirt and boatyard noise, the already tight space made even smaller by the refits, was a tough test for us and also our relationship. After last winter’s experience in Licata, we had actually meticulously planned the refit this time in advance, ordered the necessary equipment and hired craftsmen. But then came the discoveries at the keel. We felt thwarted and helpless. We even seriously considered cancelling trip and giving up or buying a new boat. And the more thorough we checked, the more nasty surprises we found. The chaos grew from day to day, at some point it became futile to fight against the dirt and disorder. For two months we had no water tanks, so everything had to be done with a garden hose.

Our main salon table for some time

It took us a few days to refurbish the companionway (the stairs to the inside of the ship), so we had to climb up or down each time. And we counted…every day we climbed up and down the ladder about 20 to 30 times. There was no small amount of strenuous work, of course “preferably” upside down with heavy tools, so the boat became a gym. Half of the boat was unusable as livingspace, and this was at a time when it was still too cold to sit outside in the cockpit. Each day began promptly at 8 a.m. with the arrival of the shipyard workers and the accompanying noise and heavy rumbling noise as the heavy tractors were started. Our ship was right next to the shipyard workshop. This is a good spot to keep a sharp lookout and at the same time the location that collects the most noise and dirt. Of course, we were also producing a fair amount of noise and dirt ourselves. When the hull was being sanded from outside, the roar inside the ship was almost unbearable. At first, we tried to keep the area around our boat stand clean, for example by vacuuming up sanding debris, but in view of the way everyone else around us handled it, we resigned ourselves to letting the pollution take its course. Garbage collection on the beach also seems to be a Sisyphean task, and often the thought inevitably suggests itself that humanity is on the verge of burying itself under a huge pile of trash.

The unexpected repairs have also left an unexpectedly large hole in our travel fund. It is amazing by what factor terms like “marine”, “yacht” the “boat supplies” can drive up the price. In addition, it is common here in the area for the marina to have the outside craftsmen asking to be paid for being allowed to work on the boats, which of course is then ultimately passed on to the customer.

We kept going and persevered, encouraging each other when one(s) reached their limits again. We now know the boat inside and out, thanks in part to good communication with the Contest boats builders and the boat’s designer, Dick Zaal, who sent us some of the construction plans. This is certainly one of the very important positive things of the long refit. We’ve even discovered unused storage space in some corners…so is the Pangolin a little floating space wonder after all?

Watertanks are out, refittting the bilge

And we have now witnessed another sailing life phenomenon. During the winter, we were one of the few liveaboards and more or less alone at the yard and it was almost a bit too secluded. In the spring then came life into the Aktio marina, we met some nice people and when it was time to splash the boat again, it was more difficult than expected to leave.

Sanding countless hours

You may ask yourself what is our next destination? Maybe we’ll set off tomorrow for Italy – but maybe not. We have made the decision to plan less and to remain more flexible with our schedule. On the one hand, because the plans were thwarted too often by external circumstances in the last one and a half years. On the other hand, above all, however, to continue only when our insides want to go further and the right wind has come for it.