THE TRANSFORMATION OF CATITUDE TO CATAWAMPUS.
Catitude was damaged by hurricane Irma in 2017. She was scheduled for repairs but it took too long and it was deemed a write off. Repairs had been started, but they were sloppy and not very good, In fact some were only patches to make her movable. She sat four four years exposed to weather and vandalism and finally was put up for auction in June of 2021. Lena and I bid on the yacht based on pictures and previous visits to other boats damaged by hurricanes. I sort of knew what I was getting into but Lena not so much. We were successful in our bid and the deal was done. We could not get down to the boat until October. Mistake number 1. On October 16 we arrived for our first view of the boat and discovered that it had been stripped of most of the good stuff. Extremely disappointing to say the least. we were committed and started work. I had a survey done on the hull to determine if it was sound and it was except for the damaged or wet spots. All of those were repairable. We stayed at a hotel nearby for a month while we worked on first the cleanup, then started projects that could be done without new parts like removing the old non functioning items. Damage from water was significant on the port side. Pumps, electrical and engine were non recoverable. Each evening was spent getting estimates and and searching for parts. Getting what you want ,when you want it was horrendously difficult. In fact my hull windows which I ordered in September just arrived on January 27, 2022. Mistake number 2 since I could have purchased them here at about the same cost after considering the shipping.
Once the cleanup was well underway it was possible to start rebuilding. First order was to get power, then fridge and freezer and water. With many challenges this was accomplished. I cheated a bit because I had no batteries that would function so I connected up my new Inverter charger and was able to run some lights, the fridge , propane control and of course electricity for the power tools. Mistake number 3 was deciding to move aboard after only a month. It was hot, dirty and no facilities unless we walked for 10 minutes. We endured but did get to hate it a bit. Oh and the mosquitoes are really bad every time it rains. They come out in droves when on the hard. More to come.....
ISLAND TIME: I am sure you have all heard of it. Great for your vacation but a nightmare for getting work done. I had to contract out the fiberglass repairs and the engine work. The engine on the port side had to be replaced and a new engine was ordered. The other engine and both sail drives were overhauled and were installed. The fiberglass repairs took almost two months. Mostly because the crew, usually of one showed up around two in the afternoon & worked til 5;00-5:30. Some days there were 2 and a couple of days three. The boss (Lucky) did the actual final finish work himself, again 2:00 to 5:00 in the afternoon. The faring was finally complete by mid December on the major repairs so now I had to the minor stuff & prep for paint. Mistake number 4. The definition of finished ready to paint has a very wide interpretation. I had to fine sand the whole boat myself. it was hot dirty work but I got it done. We decided to use a two part epoxy paint on the hull instead of having it gel-coated. The biggest reason was cost and the second reason was that I knew I would see blemishes in the finished work and it is rally easy for me to touch up the paint but not so easy to touch up gelcoat. I got one coat of primer and one coat of finish on the hull & topsides & my red boot stripe done in time to launch before Christmas.
OMG THE GOVERNMENT OF BVI DECIDES TO CRACK DOWN ON CORRUPTION! For several years no one paid attention to all of the damaged boats sitting around at a bunch of marinas. Apparently all of them needed either a license to charter or a temporary import permit. The marinas & the owners (Moorings, Insurance companies Etc.) were responsible to make sure the vessels had something, but alas the boats did not. The Customs Dept. of BVI locked down several marinas, instituted a no work order and basically impounded all of the vessels on the hard, mine included. To make a very long and arduous story short it boiled down to this. the Customs fine all of the vessels $5000. and imposed a duty fee because they had not been imported properly so no temporary fee of $200. instead 3.5% of boat value. They didn't care who paid it so we were basically being held hostage to the marinas & owners noted above who refused to pay. The number for me was $8500. US. I haggled with Moorings and the Customs office to no avail & finally decided to involve the broker who sold me the boat. Legal action was threatened and the insurance company stepped up and offered to reimburse me if I just paid the fee. So on a great deal of trust in a corporate entity I paid the fines. I was reimbursed in full in a couple of days. The Customs dept. gave the marina permission to launch my boat so on January 8, 2022 Catawampus was set free.
My windows on the hull were still in transit so we very carefully cruised as a power cat on very calm days. The windows arrived & were installed. I had not done anything like it before so I had a contractor do it. i am very happy with the job that was done & I actually helped a bit and I can say I would not hesitate to do it myself the next time I need a window replaced. Next step was to get the Generator installed. Again hurry up & wait. Genset arrived & sat on deck for a week before they installed it.
Mistake number 5. i had a chance to purchase a used mast, boom with standing & running rigging. I wanted to see it before I bought it and someone else swooped in and bought it from under me. There were no more used product anywhere. I checked St. Martin, Antigua and the Virgin Islands. Now I had to source a new one. I received quotes with a large variation and could not decide. We finished the season as a power cat. Eventually putting Catawampus on the hard in St Kitts in April 2022.
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