After the stormy welcome in South Africa a busy time started for us. Since our departure about two years ago there have been a lot of small and bigger things adding up on our TO DO list. Richards Bay is a good place to repair things and buy lots of spare parts for everything. And if you need a break there are some game parks as well as the biggest wetland park in South Africa around the corner.
The most important job we had to do was checking our electric engines. Also some wood on our front mast foot had to be renewed because of cracks. And there are lots of other small and big things to do.
After some trials and attempts with only some basic help from the manufacturer we were able to take apart the electric engines. We were hoping that the loud noises of the engines were only because of broken bearings – sadly it was even worse, there was saltwater inside the engines. Those electric motors are definitely a miracle of engineering – we think that the rotor and stator were running in a bath of salt water, grease crumbs and corrosion products for a whole year – and they were running till now! But it was really bad since the salt water mixture damaged the bandages of the magnets, which are wrapped around the rotor. After that the rotor itself started to corrode, to expand and to grind against the stator to start to get stuck. After a lot of questions to the manufacturer and research in the internet Tom and Alois were able to rebuild the bandages around the magnets. Now the engines are cleaned, sanded, have new o-rings and self made seals and are hopefully closed watertight this time. We are happy to announce that they are working fine at the moment.
We gave our Screecher sail for a repair to the sailmaker and fixed the cracks in our main sail ourselves. The foot of the mast is almost done and only needs a new coat of color. All our hatches got a new seal, because they were not tight enough and so we always had saltwater coming down into the cabins. But now they should be all right. Furthermore we built two new shelves and cleaned all our stainless steel parts, but it was not the best place to do this. During southerly winds the boats in Richards Bay are coated with coal soot and dust – the biggest coal harbor is greeting you! It only makes sense to clean your boat before leaving this place because after a few hours it looks the same as before.
At least it is never boring in the Tuzi Gazi Marina. One evening when there was a thunderstorm coming out of the the south with over 50 knots of wind, we just came back from dinner. Exactly in this moment one of the pilot boats, which are stationed next to the marina, was ramming into the outer marina jetty. I was able to jump backwards on one of the fingers between the boats while the pilot boat hit the sailing boat just in front of me. They had a problem with their engines and put in the reverse to all look at their engines without looking which way the boat was moving. Since the wind was very strong it pushed the stern of the boat around and so rammed the jetty. First we thought there was nobody on bord but after I was shouting for a while we could see somebody moving inside. So Tom went onto the pilot boat, since it was still going backwards even though it was already jammed between two sailing boats, and called attention towards the situation outside their cabin. They really did not know! It was lucky only two boats got hit, although the same ones which also were damaged during the first storm. We were very lucky again since the pilot boat missed our Pakia tea by only 10 meters! What a night.