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March - April 2001 diary

March has passed and April is ending too. If I think on my working list, I don't know how I finish this all. Is this winter really already over? What have we actually done all this time? Everything is about repairs, improvements and work work work. I am really sick of it for today. When can I bury the tools in the bilge? please...
There I keep thinking about those pictures of sailors sitting relaxed in the cockpit nipping their sundowners. This is an imagination of a movie. The sailors I know I see daily dressed in overalls.
I mean it's fun to outline a project, planning, buying and building, but there must be an end sometime.
I like little technical projects, like radio repairs or something of the kind. But woodwork, varnishing and painting are not my favorite occupations. I mean it is satisfying to take some finished woodwork apart, sand it down and varnish again. But when it comes to new building I am all thumbs. I should have learned a skilled trade. It is most frustrating if a project fails or messes up because I have not the skill or knowledge. Yesterday for example I screwed all hinges to the new bladed doors only to discover that I had one of the doors the wrong way around. This kind of nonsense happens to me all the time. But in comparison of the time 2 years ago I have learned a lot.
The children are wonderful at the moment. If there is no wind during the day it is already warm enough to go playing at the beach or even go swimming. Nastasja starts swimming again with water wings. Every summer it needs sometime until she swims free again. Selina on the other hand has no problem with water. Nina has to stop her from going diving by herself:). She can sit it the water for ages and starts talking a few words already.
Today she did played already two tricks before breakfast. First she flooded the bathroom with shampoo and later she put her shampoo fingers into the chocolate spread. Nina was furious to see her drawing chocolate onto the new cushions. That would mean "keel hauling" in the old days. But Selina is a master in turning a dilemma into a laughing episode. She keeps smiling and giggling until everybody else starts smiling too.
Yesterday and today I did 5 dives around Amberella and scratched excessive
barnacles of. There is now no antifouling paint left on our hull. On one side of the hull the sea barnacles grew into the paint. We will haul out possibly later in the month June.
Sunday was a day to celebrate. After 2 years of Nina's continuous begging I finally finished the new wardrobe lockers with bladed doors. I have postponed this job long enough, but now another part of the boats interior has changed.
As another light in the tunnel I have finally received the new chain plates for the backstays. I had to remind the Spanish welder for about 3 month until he would finally do this little job for me. He always had an excuse for not finishing it, and I had no alternative in Roquetas, plus a lot of other jobs to worry about first. The chain plates are now laminated into the hull using epoxy resin and strong weaving of glass fiber. I have grinded the steel roughly and laid strings of fibers into drills of the metal, laminated it starting with a big panel and continuing with smaller ones, creating the shape of a pyramid. This way the steel is enclosed between the hull and this new thick layer of GRP. It is possible to secure the plates with bolts through the hull as well, but I won't change the original. I mean this bonding has been holding the backstays for 27 years now and the steel has cracked before the epoxy laminate was damaged. That's the theory of course:)
Is Morocco already planed in our cruising list? Yes but...while those are the days when Nina and me push harder for the completion of our project list, we often we constrain in excuses and a kind apathy. It is obvious that we have a hard time to manage the boating lifestyle with the kids on board, the money pressure and the work on board. Sometimes it is hard to keep this self confidence. Money is really running out quick and the situation gets more frustrating day by day. It looks like we would finish the boat but won't be able to go cruising afterwards.
Nina is now almost every day searching the area for a job. She is engaging in interview with some travel agencies of the area. She speaks three languages fluently and might find a job as a tour guide during the summer. Our plan, again the theory:), is to use Roquetas as a base for Amberella and do day sails during the summer. We have time until December, the start of the Atlantic trade winds, in order to earn enough money to keep on going. So keep fingers crossed and thanks for the patience on our web updates.

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