Like buying a house, when you buy a yacht you get a survey done…we had one done, but our surveyor failed to find a crack in our steering quadrant. Sounds serious? Well it is, and I’m glad we discovered it now rather than halfway across the Atlantic. Bad news, but with 2 kids on board…doesn’t bear thinking about. No rudder, no real control. Sure you can balance the sails, rig a jury rudder from a saloon door or two and a spinnaker pole…but, really, a thousand miles from home it’s less than ideal.
Anyway, how the surveyor missed it, I don’t know – but then, I guess it wasn’t easy to see. But nevertheless it was there. Caveat Emptor. So, we are having a new one fabricated in Denmark. Should be delivered in 2 weeks. Fingers crossed. The surveyor also felt that our rudder had water ingress and needed to be dropped (taken off) so as to ascertain its integrity. All good, as we were aware of this and negotiated a discount to the boat price to compensate. Happy days. Dropping the rudder is a reasonable job…and we enlisted the support of a specialist.
However, what we did not rely on was that the specialist was not really a specialist….its kind of funny, all the warning signs were there, but in a foreign country options are limited you don’t always go with your gut. Still, the specalist has got the rudder off, but it is (was) fixed in place with copper rivets (half inch diameter and five inches long – good old solid British engineering) to a bronze shoe at the base of the skeg. Good news, the rudder condition is great. Bad news, our specialist can’t put it back on as he can’t locate the copper rivets, and to be honest didn’t seem to care. How you can remove something as substantial as a yacht rudder and not think through how to replace it is, again beyond me. When you are doing work in a country where you dontaspekathelanguage, its hard to get advice (i.e, before I remove these rivet’s with an angle grinder, please be aware that you cant replace them…) …hey ho. Part of the experience.
After extensive research in English, Spanish (broken) and Heathers French, it turns out you can’t get them in Spain. Upside, heather and I have learnt a lot about copper rivets and my dad has come up trumps and found us some three quarter inch copper bar (in the UK) , which we will get machined down locally (in a metal working shop we have found in figueres, a town not far from here). We will then, it seems, end up re-hanging the rudder and riveting it ourselves as the skills aren’t available locally. Not something we are comfortable with….but then repairing a 42ft yacht in a country where you don’t speak the language and you are sourcing parts from at least 6 different countries with a tight time frame does that anyway.
Tomorrow will be better.