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Old 22-04-2018, 08:14   #1
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Cat City - Home of Broken Dreams


I think I might have found "the boat", It's on the hard on one of those islands that got absolutely smashed last hurricane season. It needs a mast and hull repair (above and at the water line). The good news is that there was no submersion; although one of the cabin windows got smashed. Both engines are dry. Interior is good (outside of the cabin with the smashed window) and electrical is good. Rudders, saildrives/props and keels are intact.

The bad news is that there's some broadside delamination and large gouges mid hull (only one hull); deck seams look good (the area of delam is close to the heads and accessible via removable panels), There are some very significant cracks on the stern. The good news is that the seam is in relatively good condition although there are areas that are going to have to be rebuilt and re-sealed (engine room work so no tearing apart cabin fittings). Beyond those two things, there are superficial gouging, wearing and slashes probably from the loose rigging/mast. The lifelines are gone, but only on one side. Basically a bunch of small substrate rebuild and gel coating.

Before I part with money for this thing, I need to find someone who might be willing to work down there for a couple of weeks (four max?). Maybe someone already down there just coming off a job? I don't know enough about fiberglass repair to get the boat seaworthy (especially the potentially structural stuff like fixing delmaination or rebuilding seams, but I'm not completely ignorant either... just don't trust myself on the structural side of the work). From what I understand, it's going to help immensely if that person had experiencing getting tools, abrasives, fiberglass, epoxy and gelcoat through customs (for the delaminnation work, I suspect that a vacuum pump and bagging supplies will also be required).

Also, if anyone has contacts for masts (maybe with sails?) that would suit a 45' cat. in the general area (I suspect Trinidad/Grenada might be as far as the boat would be able to go on motor alone), it would be extremely helpful.

Anyway, if anyone knows someone who might be able to help, please drop me a line.

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Old 22-04-2018, 09:48   #2
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Re: Cat City - Home of Broken Dreams

Whatever you think it will cost, double or triple it, minimum.
Whatever time you think it will take repeat as above.

If it's indeed salvageable, maybe fix hull issues enough to motor to a working yard in the USA to acquire mast and rig etc ?
Good luck.

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Old 22-04-2018, 19:45   #3
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Re: Cat City - Home of Broken Dreams

Find a yard or fiberglasser who can do the work, first. Neither has much availability down here, at the moment. I hear similar from Florida, but that's out of my range. Good luck. If you want to bring in a worker, find out work permit issues, FIRST.
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Old 23-04-2018, 03:55   #4
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Re: Cat City - Home of Broken Dreams

Even if it cost 4x, it would still be worth it.

I'm familiar with the situation on the ground in that location at this time and the express goal is to get the vessel seaworthy enough to get it someplace else. I'm thinking, paint over the bare fiberglass, strap in a fuel bladder, patch holes/cracks and make sure the structural stuff is fixed.

With the rigging gone and only a crew of two, it should make reasonable time to some place with working logistics, where a mast and rigging can be arranged... maybe complete the repairs in Columbia or Panama.
...and then it's delivery time.

With regard to delivery captains who double as maintenance remediatiors, will the officials allow that if a limited power of attorney or other legal document is provided?

> Memento,homo, quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris

Yeah... but I'm stardust.
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Old 23-04-2018, 04:17   #5
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Re: Cat City - Home of Broken Dreams

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, "stardust".

Which one of those islands that got absolutely smashed?
Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"

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Old 23-04-2018, 10:16   #6
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Re: Cat City - Home of Broken Dreams

I have looked at some of those boats too. You need to forget Panama and Columbia. Getting a mast there will be problematic on a good day. You have freight (freighter), customs, duties, rigger and more. 2 of the biggest mast manufacturers have factories in the US, Florida and South Carolina to be exact. You need to be close to there to make everything easier and cheaper. Also check that the yard will allow you to do your own work. Many do not. You will need electricity.

And don't forget that hurricane season will be here soon.
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Old 23-04-2018, 10:28   #7
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Re: Cat City - Home of Broken Dreams

Run! The repairs are going to chose more than buying a boat in good condition. Get them to pay you to take it but drive a hard bargain. I'm trying to be a wise as, run.
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Old 23-04-2018, 10:38   #8
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Re: Cat City - Home of Broken Dreams

It took us 5.5 months to get a new mast, jib and re-rig (after demasting at the spreaders at the dock during Irma). That was with good insurance and very attentive husband near a good area for repairs in Florida. Husband did the demo bc no one was available to salvage. I can't even imagine doing this long distance. But we humans have a hard time passing up a "good" project despite all odds and solid advice against it!
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Old 23-04-2018, 10:48   #9
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Re: Cat City - Home of Broken Dreams

My son is your guy. But where are you going to do the job. Hes an all around Boat guy but FG repair and painting are what he does best. Based in Ft Pierce FL

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Old 23-04-2018, 12:03   #10
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Re: Cat City - Home of Broken Dreams

No one can walk off a plane at another country with the plan to work for wages without some sort of permit. An easy way to be refused entry at the border and put on the first flight back. Or worse, lie on the Immigration declaration and be expelled or put in jail when they find out. And don't assume the locals wont call authorities when they see who's doing the work. Only an idiot would try to do such a thing. Very bad idea.
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Old 23-04-2018, 12:39   #11
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Re: Cat City - Home of Broken Dreams

Sir: Is the "four weeks, max" to accomplish additional surveys, create a detailed plan for repairs and their cost? Or are you thinking that you can actually perform the repairs necessary to arrive at a sea-worthy powered vessel capable of motoring to Florida? The former probably, the latter most unlikely.
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Old 23-04-2018, 13:56   #12
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Re: Cat City - Home of Broken Dreams

OK. So you say one of the islands that got absolutely smashed, last season. That means one of Dominica, Barbuda, St. Maarten, Anguilla, BVI, USVI, or Puerto Rico. Scratch Dominica, Barbuda and Anguilla off the list, since it's highly unlikely such a boat was parked there. Scratch St Maarten off, because you make reference to skills getting things through Customs. Same for Puerto Rico and USVI, which leaves us with, of course, the BVI. An aside, yes, things might have to make it through Customs in the USVI or PR, but no special skills are needed for either. Just supply a proof of origin. And an American doesn't need a work permit or some such.

OK, assuming my supposition is correct, we will say it's the BVI. My apologies for an incorrect deduction if that is not the case.

At the moment, you may well be able to get someone in to work, relatively easily, on a temporary work permit. However, you would need a trade license to do so, and you don't have that, I am assuming, so I think that is off the table. If you have someone working illegally, it will instantly be obvious. Companies based here, both boat repair companies and charter companies, have been able to bring in outside workers fairly quickly as the government wants everything to get fixed and up and running so they have made exceptions. But, these companies are established and permitted here. You are not. In your case, private owner with no immigration or work status in the BVI, bringing in a private contractor, I honestly don't know the answer but have my doubts. The only thing you have going for you is that everyone is so overloaded that they might not report you, which normally would happen in a flash. But you WOULD be pretty obvious, and you SHOULD inquire what to do, which will take a bit to get an answer, and the powers that be have not been particularly merciful with those who play with the rules!

Next, where would you do the work? You have three options....Nanny Cay, Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour, and East End Boat Yard. I have no idea of fees at East End Boat Yard, but at Nanny or VG, you are probably paying lay days of over $150 per day, seven days a week, and that's if you use yard contractors who are expensive and way overbooked. Do the work yourself or with "outside" help, and the lay days are higher. East End is a recently organized place that is basically some flat ground with a fence, where badly damaged boats have been brought ashore, put up for auction, and if there are no takers, loaded on to a huge barge and sent to the crushers. The Government does not want the BVI to be littered with wrecked boats, as is typical with Caribbean countries hit by hurricanes. This yard was established with the initial goal of getting wrecks ashore as quickly as possible, auctioning them off, if possible, and getting all of them out of here. There are quite a few folks there, working on wrecks they have purchased at auction, but there are no facilities other than a fence. You would need your own water supply and generator. Plus everything else. There is a reason that many, including charter companies, have loaded boats onto ships bound for yards all over the place. There is no travelift so everything is done by crane. But clearly, that yard may be your best bet, and I even know a fiberglass guy there who is legal and doing work. When he will next be free, I have no idea....he is putting back together a Gemini that looks decent FWIW. I wouldn't be surprised if that is actually where "your" boat is, that or Manuel Reef. IF it's at East End, I would suggest you keep it there, hire someone working there such as the guy I know, and complete the job there if possible. Patching and taking it elewhere will take much more time and money, in the long run, I am pretty sure. Not that it will be cheap, anywhere. The gouges and delam can all be fixed, but it needs to be pretty carefully gone over before you start on this. And you need to be sure there is no more structural damage which there very often is.

As to parts, there may still be a catamaran mast or two around, but probably not. There weren't many to begin with and they have been very creatively picked over, including by myself. NO idea on sails, but probably the same. Getting a mast for a 45 foot cat will take many months....don't ask how I know....

If you don't have a connection at the port, stuff can take weeks to clear, during which time you are charged for storage, and, since April 1, duty, unless you can prove you purchased before the moratorium expired. We do have good chandlers and riggers here, through which you can get anything, but they are not cheap, and they are slammed for work.

I don't think what you are talking about is by any means impossible, but there are a huge number of hurdles you must be prepared for and must budget for. I say this as a member of the industry here, a friend of most of the suppliers and workers here, savvy about officialdom, etc, and my boat, also a 45 foot cat with damage similar but much less than what you describe (not a CTL or even close, in my case) will finally be launched and mast stepped in a couple of weeks, eight months after Irma and six and a half months after being hauled. Be careful what you wish for! But, also, good luck! You DID notice that it took me a month and a half to get hauled, and I was one of the first.
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Old 23-04-2018, 15:03   #13
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Re: Cat City - Home of Broken Dreams

Nautical Novice, I have no connection with Contrail. So, don't misunderstand me. This guy is at ground zero. His information is always spot on and logical. He is posting for no financial gain. He is not soliciting business. He is just one of those guys who still gives a flying friget about human beings and offers up factual information and advice that costs you nothing...but is exactly how he would do it. I would suggest you think carefully before ignoring his advice.

I know that the temptation of buying some of these very expensive boats for a song and a dance is so strong as to make rational men make big mistakes. I wish you good luck and think this through carefully. If it took Contrail...and he is in the industry...and connected...that long to get his boat back together...and he has a place to live other than the boat....can you imagine the financial carnage for you?

Second question: It is now almost May. Prime hurricane season is August through late October. There are some that sneak in as early as early July and show up late for the destructive derby in November. Do you think that 2018 will have less hurricanes? It is a crap shoot at best.

Even if you went down there yourself and had the skill sets necessary....and a guy like Contrail who knows everyone took over half a year...what is your forecast?
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Old 23-04-2018, 15:06   #14
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Re: Cat City - Home of Broken Dreams

OK--here goes.

There is no cheap fix for such a project--but this is what I would do.

Forget about making permanent fixes where the vessel lies. Instead--get 9 mm structural plywood, paint it with epoxy resin both sides and edges and screw it at intervals of about five centimetres along any firm remaining structure. completely covering all damage with a good margin. If the curve of the hull is too great to bend the ply, use TWO layers of 5mm ply.

Stiffen the plywood by gluing battens as stringers OUTSIDE and screwing them in place, preferably overlapping the edges of your patch. Screw holes are easily fixed later, so use plenty of screws. I recommend those galvanized screws coated with resin, the ones used for securing treated timber. Get different lengths--so the battens can be screwed in place as well. Make your battens at least five centimetres square--bigger is better.

Bog around any edges and caulk any spaces with epoxy putty. Having done all of that, your vessel should float.

To the outside of the hulls rig rope or webbing girdles, and on them lash inflatable pontoons just in case your patch fails in bad weather. Cheap air mattresses inflated partially (soft but almost full) in the prows and stern of each hull might also help.
They cost about twenty bucks each. Make sure you have bilge pumps functional in both hulls in case of minor leakage. If leaks do develop--a small gen-set and a heavier pump will be handy.

Now--hire a trawler to gently TOW your cat to a safe place where you can haul her out and work on her properly. Using your own engines might deliver some stress to the patch--something not a good idea. You will need a standby vessel in any case.

Once the vessel is safe and dry, your patch will be easily removed. You can cut it up and use it as necessary for other things while you completely re-mould the damaged side of the vessel. Local patching it is not always advisable if the damage seems severe because one can never be certain of how much invisible damage there really is. Make your repairs extensive and into sound materiel.

You will be happily grinding and laminating away for some time--then making up your external mold (I use plywood faced with melamine plastic--it is cheap, takes release compound well, can be stapled or screwed in place and can be peeled off easily after resin has set and re-used many times. Once you have your first layers of glass laid against this mold, the whole project becomes easier.

You will use a lot of epoxy (or vinylester) in this re-construction--will learn a lot--but you will have to have safety equipment and respirator (preferably with an air supply) for working inside a hull using epoxy resin. Once you have about three layers consolidated in place, you can mold the stringers and re-mold the frames. Eventually you will have a vessel as good as when new--perhaps.

Trying to repair a vessel on the beach is not a good idea--tow it some place safe to where it can be covered against rain and dust..Epoxy resin is quite hygroscopic--and the less moisture it absorbs the better.
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Old 23-04-2018, 17:01   #15
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Re: Cat City - Home of Broken Dreams

Originally Posted by Sand crab View Post
Also check that the yard will allow you to do your own work. Many do not.
Also check on their restrictions on outside contractors (insurance, bonded, certification etc,etc)

Where did you get info on damage?
Can you rely that there is no other damage?
Make an offer "Subject to survey" (not revealing any other damage)

Location ? No one in their right mind would consider getting involved without knowing this most basic piece of information.

Try and take Gougeon Bros 2 day professional repair workshop

It'll prepare you for your project (whether this boat or next)

I am a graduate of "Glue U" but I'm on the other side of the world these days (and it doesn't seem like you'd want to fly me in ) and back.



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