Monday, August 8, 2011

Stuff Is Getting Done, Slowly
By Michael

Applying two-part primer to the old, prepped non-skid.
The heat and humidity are sucking the life out of us. I think we’ve acclimated as much as we can acclimate and it is still oppressive. Within an hour of starting work on the boat in the morning, our shirts are sopping wet with sweat. I drink six or seven 20-ounce bottles of refrigerated water a day. I rarely have to pee.
Yet, stuff is getting done. The non-skid on the topsides and cockpit looks sharp, the bilges are starting to shine, and I ran about 130 feet of 14-guage wire for six fans down below. Since Saturday, we’ve had a crew stripping all of the varnish off the teak. Windy plans to apply new varnish to the toe rails, companionway hatch, and cabin-top handholds, but paint the teak on the two forward hatches—an off-white to match the gel coat.
The start of the bilge under the v-berth, all clean and shiny.
I also found the source of the leak on the exhaust manifold where the hot salt water is injected downstream of the heat exchanger: a pinhole at the weld. After asking around town for a guy who could repair the weld, I found a shop just across from the airport. When I entered the place, I could see a few guys grinding and welding metal for various projects. There was a line of about a dozen ornate street lamps, a stack of custom iron fencing, and a pile of fancy metalwork that looked like bird cages. Off to the side was an office that looked empty. I walked in the door and called out, “Buenos tardes.” A guy appeared. I showed him my water injection manifold. He nodded and walked me outside. He showed it to one of his guys, asked him to fix it, and walked away.
I was hoping for a price quote or something, but the guy was already grinding at my piece, hitting it with the spot welder, and banging on it. Except for the welding, I watched intently. After a long 15 minutes, the guy stopped, nodded to himself, and showed off his work to me. It looked great.
“Cuantos? Y se acceptan tarjetas?” He shrugged and directed me to ask El Patron. I walked back to the office again, told the boss it looked great, and asked how much I owed and whether he accepted credit cards. He shook his head and told me to simply settle with the guy who did the work. I thanked him and walked back out.
“Cuantos?” The welder looked confused and directed me again to his boss. I told him that it was up to him to name a price, per his boss. He thought for a second and then asked, “Cinquenta pesos?” That is less than $5. I told him that was fine, but that I would have to leave the piece here and return with cash in a few minutes. I returned with 60 pesos and thanked him again.
I saw this leak a year ago, even before it showed up on the survey. In my mind, it had grown into a much bigger problem and I imagined working with a Mexican machine shop for a week to refabricate a new piece, and paying a lot of money. Now I can install this (dripping in sweat) and rest assured that the girls’ cabin aft will not be filled with carbon monoxide from this leak.
The girls and their cousins with their new, temporary pet.

1 comment:

  1. Dripping in sweat in Mexico working on your boat vs. dripping in sweat in a suit on Metro - pick one.
    Does one install a carbon monoxide detector near the berths?


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