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Sunday, November 21, 2010

FIBREGLASS ................... FIBERGLASS .......................



Some guys (that would be 'some blokes' in 'down-under') probably think that we don't know how to spell certain words anymore.............. Could be right .............. Then again, we are trying to write in two distinct English languages ............ Australian ('Stryne' for short) and American, and just for fun we mix them up now and again, to totally confuse you ................

Now it would be hard to imagine just how many fiberglass (fibreglass) yachts have been built in the world in the last 50 years, ..... Take the photo alongside of the single-hander, Lawrence Birch, on his yacht MEANDER, who typifies the fiberglass sailboat cruiser ......... Solid, clean, dry and low-maintenance ...........And we are talking about the boat here .........

Fibreglass (that's also fiberglass) has completely taken over the world of boat building ........... Sad, but true .............The building of wooden yachts is drawing to a close, and those that remain become sought-after relics of a bygone age ............ The wood and the skilled workers are no longer there ............In days gone by the 'knees' used to be cut from gnarled roots and branches like those in the photo below, but how much easier is it to just lay up some extra fibreglass cloth and a dash of resin ......... We watched in awe, as the classic gaff-rigged wooden schooner "Harvey Gamage" came into the anchorage at CULEBRA ......... She's a prime example of that dying breed, now in service as a charter vessel for back-packer-style students and guests ............ I'm guessing there is no A/C on board .......



"Senor Jose" in Dewey on CULEBRA, on the other hand is still at it on his small verandah, building small wooden boats ............ A sight to behold, for way down at the back of his garden, he sits on a tree stump and hacks away on a log with his machete until he has shaped another yacht ............ Then, after drying out, he paints them for the tourists, that meander past his doorstep ............... That's Captain Christopher of the HARVEY GAMAGE below on the left, toothbrush in hand, supervising work being done on the rigging ...... A heavy weight is suspended off the main boom in order to swing all the yards out to one side of the ship ............ No doubt about it, wooden ships means more work ........... Not saying that the decks have to be scrubbed with the Captain's toothbrush, but ........ O.K. ..Enough about work .........Wouldn't Captain Jack Sparrow like to get his hands on this fine ship ............. Or the one below it, with the 'Queen of Everything' on board, for building timber in the Caribbean is scarce .......... Just look at that stunted 'Bonzai' type tree in the islands ..........



Just outside of FAJARDO on the eastern end of Puerto Rico is the 'Mother of all Marinas' ................ More fiberglass per square foot of water, than anywhere in the World ............. This is PUERTO DEL REY, the biggest marina in the Caribbean with more that 1500 slips ............ That's at least 3000 electrical outlets and water connections ................. Do a little calculation of a low average of $ 100,000 per vessel ............Our friend, Dwight "El Presidente" Rodriquez, keeps his yacht 'TODA VIA' here, and we spent a couple of days helping him with toilet installation, plumbing, bilge pumps, electrics ....... All the good stuff ...............



Now, we may have walked to Dwight's yacht, but that's not really how it should be done ............ From the car parking area you call a number on your cell phone, and magically a 6-8 seater golf-cart appears, towing a huge trailer and your stuff is loaded, ............. You are then driven to your yacht and delivered right alongside on your finger pier .............. Same for leaving ........... Do a double click on these photos to enlarge them ...........The place is a fiberglass 'Mecca' .......... Breath-taking, and no doubt clearly visible from outer space ............ And you probably thought there was no money in Puerto Rico ...



So, if you can't beat them, you might as well join them .............. Did a little fibreglass job on the upper deck of the trawler MAMBO, anchored alongside us back in CULEBRA.......... Yuri and Svetlana, the owners, very happy ...........We, too ........... But Oh boy, does that stuff itch ................



And with a little bit more fibreglass sanding dust on me, I will be as camouflaged into the background, as this little iguana is in the grass .............. They still fascinate us every time we see them .................... We have photographed them from all angles ............

In a few days time Dwight and Marjorie on TODA VIA will join us as we do another mini sailing cruise to the Virgin Islands ................... More anchorages and beautiful places .............. An old wooden yacht sailing alongside a modern fiberglass one ............. Let's see what happens? ..................Oh, and we did manage to do some sailing from CULEBRA back to mainland PUERTO RICO ............. It was wonderful .......



Then again there is always "Steel" like this tugboat ferry in the islands ............ Obviously the owner really makes it feel like home ...........

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1 comment:

Chris & Dana said...

Robby,...
Goggles, Goggles, GOGGLES! That fibreglass is bad stuff when it gets in your eyes.
Great pictures. Hey, with the Queen's job title now emcompassing "everything", did she get a C.O.L.A.? A few extra coconut drinks a week?
Love y'all