The beginning of September on Cozumel usually marks the start of maintenance season in earnest, in particular the boat remodel projects everyone has been putting off. If boats need to be serviced September is generally the month it happens. This would be because it is slow season here on the island. The majority of business here – all business, not just scuba oriented ones – suffer from a lack of sales in September – October. So you’d think this is perfect timing to lift the boats out and work on them. However, it’s a catch 22 as we are slow in business because it’s rainy season. And rain makes fiberglass work and painting near impossible to accomplish. So it’s a little game we play against Mother Nature. A race against the rain. And so far we are not faring well this season.
On September 4 I was quoted about 14 days, give or take, for fiberglass and paint work. We’ll follow this up with a complete new electrical system on the boat, which has been quoted to us at 7 days or work. So essentially we are talking roughly 21 days for the boat remodel project start to finish. On October 11 our boat still sits with the fiberglass shop. At one point work wasn’t performed due to rain for 12 straight days. It happens. But when it is your only boat, it hurts.
Anyway, I figured this blog could be a fun presentation of the complete boat remodel project of the Libra II. Keep in mind that as I start writing, I have no idea how this boat remodel finishes as the project is way behind schedule. Let’s hope there are no surprise endings!
I’ll leave an in depth backstory on the acquisition of the boat for future reflective blogs, but in short the Libra II became my boat on December 1, 2016. The desire was for this to happen in June/July so we could immediately service the boat, but it just didn’t happen. And December begins the ramp up in business for the high season so it just didn’t make sense to put it into dry-dock to start high season. At the time I wasn’t thrilled by this, but in hindsight I appreciate it as it gave me the opportunity to work a season on the boat and envision the changes I saw as beneficial.
Boat Remodel, Step One
On an island in the Caribbean, everything is an adventure. The general trailer used for towing boats are locally custom welded steel abominations. Let’s just say these trailers are nothing like the custom trailer I had on my boat in the USA. The one I’m using in Cozumel has 3 axles / 6 wheels. At anytime I have one axle with both wheels touching, and two axles each with one wheel touching. Hey, 4 out of 6 wheels is better than 50%! And when the boat is on the trailer I reach a total of 5 out of 6 wheels touching pavement. #Winning! Ha!
Then there is the boat launch. It doesn’t extend near deep enough so you make the choice of dropping your trailer wheels over the edge or keeping the trailer shallower than needed. In either case you need all the boat captains gathered watching to assist to either lift the trailer up and back on pavement or lift the boat on/off the trailer. <Sigh> I miss those days at the Lithia Springs Marina boat launch where the facilities were flawless. I mean I don’t miss Illinois, just that boat launch!
This was about as high on the trailer as we got the boat without using engine power and man power. As you can also see the bunks do not run the length of the trailer. I had old tractor tires at the ready to provide a cushion if needed, but ultimately they were not needed. Just the same, the boat doesn’t fit well so it’s sketchy moving it.
A survey of the positioning before moving the boat was a good idea as it wasn’t sitting properly on the trailer. Also you can easily see in this photo the trailer tires sitting off the ramp. I kept one axle on pavement and the other two axles were literally hanging in open water.
In the Caribbean winches and properly fitting trailers are a luxury we are not afforded. So we make the best of it. Captain Felipe ties off the boat and we are off!
And then we are stopped. Flat tire on the trailer. Yes, we are literally filling it direct from a scuba air tank without a nozzle fitting – straight from the tank valve!. When in Rome…
Finally, it’s ready to be moved somewhere to clean it up and give it a detailed inspection and estimate of work needed.
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