Current location for King Malu

Friday, 26 March 2010

Life raft and Sails

Today was a trip around to try to get our sails and life raft serviced. The genoa we knew we had problems with and the life raft we were suspicious would be written off.

First stop was Charmiane in Nicosia, who is the sailmaker/repairer in Cyprus. We opened up all the sails with her and checked them all. The genoa was as we suspected needing some work along the leech of the sail. The genoa is furling and had extra material to save it from sun damage. Over the years this had rotted away and Tim had unpicked what was remaining. There was some damage to the leech, but Charmiane had seen much worse and will repair it.

The main sail was in fair condition, needing a very small amount of work. The mizzen staysail was in very good condition, needing only one patch for a very small rip less than 1cm long. The mizzen sail was patched badly, so the old patches will need to be removed and re-patched. The asymmetric spinnaker was salt laden and in desparate need of a wash. There were a couple of places this needed work.

Charmiane will work on the main, genoa and mizzen and hopefully have them ready for us by next weekend so we can sail on Easter monday.

Then on to the DIY store to look for a some tools for the boat. We still haven't found bolt cutters.

Finally down to Limassol to visit Elias Liassis who does all the safety checks for Cyprus life rafts. As he unpacked it he remarked that it was not vacuum sealed, as it should have been, and was not happy with the glue.  He weighed the CO2 cylinder and found that it had not leaked. Then he inflated the life raft with dry air. Seeing it inflate I was surprised as it looked quite good and serviceable.

The build date was July 1990, approx 20 years ago. The US Coast Guard don't recommend using a life raft more than 14 years old.

Next was to check the valves. One was leaking slightly and the bungs were perished, but replacement bungs made it fine.

Then Elias put the life raft up on stands and he got inside and inspected.

The glue still troubled him and with a plastic spatula he pushed at the join between the tubes and the base. It came away. We turned the life raft over and pulled ever so gently (two fingers) at the separated base... it came right away easily. The life raft is a right off.

Elias found the relevant email update from the company that built the life raft and it said that if the glue was brown and shiny then it is likely to fail. The glue should be transparent.

So now we are faced with what to do. Two options: The cheaper option is  a second hand one that will require servicing every year (at a cost) and a brand new one that can be serviced every three years. But... it's a canister life raft (which is better in some ways) and we are not sure if it will fit on the deck. We have borrowed an empty canister to test tomorrow.

Finally we discussed flares and emergency rations and grab bag.

Well, it was not entirely unexpected that the life raft was a write off, still we had been hoping not. But the moral of the story: Get your life raft checked regularly and serviced by the proper people.

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