024: Fit Out in Tunisian Boat Yard – Sailing From Monastir to Hammamet

The apartment –
yeah it’s cheap but it’s nothing special let’s say. I’ll just say the
electrics is the main problem really because I was getting electric shocks
when I was cooking so after a few days I thought it’s not good cuz
you know that be it, it might be it I might just die! One bulb in there
they’ve got the energy saver bulb which is good. We had to wait five days but
then they gave us Wi-Fi so we could get on and do our video editing and also
lots of YouTube videos which help the children with their teaching.
All the toilets here are kind of Arabic style so there’s always a hose
next to the toilet and yeah Yewan kind of started trying to use it and then
Woody decided to use it one day and it didn’t go down well and I don’t really
want to describe the aftermath but I’ve banned using Tunisian toilets
and we’ve got to use toilet paper. It’s nice to be looking over the boats. We
were sort of in the hotel and that was kind of fun – there was a pool. But it’s always nice to see the marina and the boats and our friends have turned up as well from Malta with their four girls and so we had some great fun in the last few
days and I think the best thing the kids are excited about is of there’s a laser
zone here in the marina which is really cheap cos we’re in Tunisia so they went
twice yesterday and they’re really looking forward once more again today. So I’m just hoping that’s not the only thing they would remember about Tunisia which is the lazer zone. The last time
our son had been able to have any violin tuition was in Greece with Eileen. She
was a lovely lady – she came once a week and he really really enjoyed the lessons
with her. When we got to Tunisia we tried to find someone and we were helped by a
lovely man called Ahmed and he helped us find a violin school and also a teacher
and he even cycled us all the way there and back again. We’re really grateful to
have met Ahmed he’s a lovely person and yeah we’re still friends now The money
situation in Tunisia is quite difficult our bank wouldn’t transfer or wouldn’t do
a bank transfer. The work overall was was around about 17 thousand dinner and we
were restricted to 200 dinars per transaction per card we couldn’t pay by
visa either so the only other way was to draw out the cash from the cash point (ATM)
physically and then give it to the yard manager. The problem with that is you’re
restricted to about 90 euros per transaction per card.
Every morning I would have to go to the bank with four cards and draw out the
maximum amount. Then one of the cards was swallowed so that was reduced
and we were a bit worried that we weren’t gonna be able to pull out the
right amount given the timeframe that we had. It was a bit worrying cycling around
the streets with wads of cash like that sticking up your back pocket. There’s two schools of thought really
when buying a boat once you’ve got past the whole catamaran verses monohull
debate and that sort of thing – is do you buy a boat under market value and
use the rest of your budget to do it up and learn about the systems as you go
along or do you buy a boat at the going rate from a good owner knowing that all
the systems have been maintained and upgraded. We opted for the the former – we
bought a boat under market value and held back a fairly substantial budget to
do it up. Now that’s great you do do the boat up you do learn about the systems
but you have no control of when these systems break down. It could be at sea it
could be coming in to anchor it could be coming in to a marina you have no
control of it whatsoever. So there is a bit of a risk factor when it comes to
opting for that option. Obviously a surveyor doesn’t pick up on
everything in just one or even two days and things start to go wrong once you
start using the boat properly. Part of the reason we went to Tunisia was we
could blitz the boat and just solve all those problems that we knew that the
boat had. Tunisia is probably one of the
cheapest if not THE cheapest place in the Mediterranean to get work like this
done to to a good quality. Also working in a country rather than just visit it
as a tourist you get to see a part of lifestyle and the culture that you would
never normally get to see. The fishing port it’s full of fishing
boats and it’s it’s a working port. It’s a dirty grimy place, it’s polluted, Health
and Safety is not the priority really. There was a pack of dogs who live in the
marina and I was attacked once and bitten. It’s not the type of place you kind
of want to take your family to really. You do kind of see things that are kind of a
bit of an eye-opener when you work in a place like that it isn’t up to
European standard and on one occasion I did actually see one of the boards fall
out of the cradle which was a bit disconcerting a few days before you
about to put your board back in. The strops of the crane were were very very
grimy and dirty and even though we did have plastic put on the hull as it
was put back in – as you’ll see in later blogs it wasn’t enough to protect the
gelcoat completely. * CHAIN – MEASURE OUT LENGTHS So we’re finally measuring out the
anchor so we never know how much anchor we put down really – 5 meter length so we
know how much we’re putting out. I think he’s worried about getting spray in this
yard. So Woody’s very meticulous when he
works and I’m a bit more slap dash – and I kind of just stick the links in
basically. Anyway the job will get done. * METAL ‘BULB’ KEEL – GRIND BACK AND PAINT * * HULL – SCRAPE BACK AND ANTIFOUL * So when it was stripped back to the
gelcoat there was some hairline fractures – not serious ones –
so we’ve epoxy those bits and various other bits so I’m gonna let those dry, sand them off and then it should be time for the barrier coat. * REPLACE ANODES * * GENOA TRACK – FIBERGLASS REPAIR * So it was a bit of an awkward repair
this because it’s underneath his genoa track and then even though we got most
of the screws out there were three which was seized in. The reason for that was
because there’s a metal plate that runs under there which is rusted and expanded
and cracked all of the fiberglass underneath as you can see. But because we can’t get
the track off we’re having to kind of do a under the track repair. It’s a bit tricky. So we ground out as much as possible
which wasn’t easy with obviously the track in place and now we just letting it dry
and next we’ll try and get a gelcoat match. * GENOA CARS REPLACE INSERTS * * GENOA TRACK – REINSTATE PLUGS * * GENOA TRACK – REPLACE ROLLERS * So it’s taken me over an hour to get
this track furler off and the reason for that – the salt crystals have managed to
work themselves in between two bits and completely cemented it together and even
now even though the screws out I still can’t get that apart. Basically I had to
use a multi-tool to kind of cut the screws out and then just hammer it off.
So basically just more brute force so So now it’s off I just need to put the new
one on. * WINDOWS – REPAIR LEAK * There’s water penetration in those screws
up there and it means that the screw is now not gripping onto this so therefore
the screws loose so water is getting in because we had some drips over winter. So
we’re going to take the whole panel off and repair the other side of this wood
so that the screws grip in and then put it all back again – loads of silicon. Top or Bottom?! * COMPANIONWAY – SAND AND RE-VARNISH * Okay so I’m sanding all the wood on the
companionway hatch because it’s got really old and grimy and all the
varnishes come off so first I need to sand it down then I’m gonna varnish. We’ve got this fantastic small (evolution) sander it’s perfect for me to hold
perfect size and it kind of gets into all of the nooks and crannies. * MAST SHEEVES REPLACE * I’ve got some rivets – aluminium rivets which fit perfectly in our new sheeves which we’ve got from Amel to put in the mast. * SAILS – REMOVE AND MEASURE * We knew we had to get our main sail down
and there’s very little time when the wind is in the right direction and
there’s not much wind so the window of opportunity was this morning early. So
this morning on Sunday we got up and had breakfast at 7:00 we were down here by
about 8:00. So we worked out how to get the mainsail down a little bit
complicated but we worked it out – and she’s forgotten how to do a sheet bend. You’ve forgotten – that’s why you asked me to do it! Double sheet bend? Maybe double. That’s a sheet bend. No, rolling hitch that’s what I’m thinking of. No you don’t do a rolling hitch – sheet bend! This is the problem you get
when you’ve got two skippers on board yeah when one’s forgotten to do sheet
bends.. and one’s supposed to be an expert. I’ve done it. What about if we do do a
rolling hitch on there to take the tension off. The pin is actually trapped behind the line We can’t get it out. Okay so we may have to put it around a different winch. Right forget all of that what we’ve just done because actually we’ve realised that there’s this little bit in here that
you can tie bowline on and bring it down to the winch and take the tension off like that. And then now we can pull the pin and take that off the loop undo that and it’s slack now. Now we’re going
to mouse a long line on here. Is the wind in the right direction still? Yes still in the right
direction. You go get the stuff to sew it on. Now we’re sewing together a
mousing line – gaffer tape – The winds picking up a bit Yes. Ease out the main on the other side. Wait, wait wait!. It actually just goes round and round and round there that’s all. Six lines here and it’s got a bowline, That’s brilliant we got it down and the wind’s picking up! That guys looking at us – I wonder if he’s as excited as us. He’s probably as nervous as us. So this has been whipped on at the
end so we just need to cut those whipping lines then we can untie it.
Funny Amels really because normally on a boat you just drop the halyards
and that’s it – sails down. But there’s always something intricate and a little bit
complicated on an Amel you’ve got to sort of work out. Yeah you can understand the logic of it. but it’s just deconstructing it
innit? Yeah. They’ve got a bowline. Once you undo that there’s nothing holding it down. Why would it go up? It just MIGHT. If I just show you I just hold it there so you don’t panic.
while it was laid out we could inspect it a little bit better we realized there
was a big rip down the leech of the sail and also down the foot of the sail so I
don’t know whether they’re going to be able to repair it or whether we might
need to get a new sail who knows. And we folded it up, tied it up and it’s now on
the deck of our boats waiting for our man to get a quote on it or send it off
to the sail repairers. * ELVSTROM SALES REP – MEASURING UP * One thing we didn’t realize until we got
there was Elvstrom sales have their main factory in the north of Tunisia and so
we thought this would be a fantastic opportunity to get measured up and get a
quote for a full set of sails. The Elvstrom rep – Hedi – came down and
measured up but unfortunately it takes a few months to get the sales made up and
fitted and we just didn’t have the time. Our insurance kind of ran out and we had
to get out of there. So maybe we’ll go back and get a new set of sales in the
near future but in the meantime we just patched up the ones we had and had to leave the place. * DINGHY – FLOOR REPAIR * * WINDLASS SERVICE * The job we’re going to do next is service the Lofrans Tigress windlass. * BEDS – MAKE EXTENSIONS * We had a lot of guests arriving over the
summer period and we needed to extend the beds. They were kind of really
relaxed about me using their workshop so you can get out of the sun. I had to give
my workshop so it was kind of funny one year later being back in the workshop making furniture like I used to do back at home for my company RAT AND PALLET. Some of the remote working that I do
involves designing furniture still. But still it was good to get my hands back
on the (Makita) tools and to be doing something practical. * LADDER – FARICATE AFT CABIN LADDER * The thing about extending the pilot
berth was we then blocked the corridor from the aft cabin into the the main
saloon area. So the other thing we did was have a stainless steel (Inox) ladder
fabricated and attached to the aft cabin hatch so we could actually get in and out
of the hatch without crawling underneath the pilot birth. * CUSHION COVERS AND CURTAINS REPLACED * Hello. Bonjour. Thank you. So I’m asking if it’s possible to make curtains, for the first thing. We have a few things but is this possible? We’ve just been quoted 600 pounds
to get the whole boat re-upholster and these remade It’d be difficult to get a price
like that anywhere else really. All the interior stuff which just will brighten
the whole thing up and just to.. he’ll replace any sponge that’s
broken – yeah it’s good price. * BOW LOCKERS – REPLACE FLOORS * So the work that I started in Lefkas
to repair the rope lockers at the bows of the boat has finally been completed in Tunisia. I’m going to cut a massive hole in the bottom of the boat with me
sat in it – what could possibly go wrong? The floors in the bow lockers were
completely rotten. All the plywood had delaminated. Just the thickness of the bilge paint that’s all there is. I made some blanks – I think it was 12mm ply. That kind of stayed in place
until we got to Tunisia and the guys have taken the cutouts that I did, coated
them in fiberglass top and bottom to stop any moisture getting into the
plywood like it did in the original version and they’ve fiberglassed it in,
reinstated the whole thing so now they’re gonna paint it with bilge paint
and it’ll be as good as new. Hopefully. I’m pleased with that actually –
pleased with the job. it’s a bit worrying I’ve turned up today and there’s
nobody around and it’s about 10 o’clock. I was down earlier at about 7 o’clock.
Four working days it’s supposed to be back in the water and we’re still waiting for
the hull to dry out. Moisture levels are still a bit high. I’m still a bit
puzzled by the working hours really. I mean things are progressing but
not as fast as I would like. Moncef the project manager isn’t here today but he
does that he kind of disappears and then turns up and things kind of get done and
the other thing we decided to do while the boat was out the water is get there
through hull fittings replaced although one of them was was fine so we’ve left
that we’ve placed one of them because it was showing slight signs of corrosion. It
seemed a good opportunity to do that. But it’s good, the value for money here is
fantastic the workmanship seems to be as good as anywhere else in Europe
I mean I’ve no reason to criticize it at all really. The pace is a bit slower but
in this heat I don’t think I could work any faster to be honest. Let’s see if we can hit that deadline of the boat back in the water next Wednesday. So a lot of things should come together
today – we should get the solar arch / davits in place. The gelshield is going on the
hull so that would be five layers of that. The last of the cushion should be
turning up and the polishing’s started. So should be a busy day.
It’s not good my English. But today we start with gelcoat.. not gelcoat, gelshield. It’s the first one. I suppose in Europe we kind of used to a
more egalitarian approach to work, you know, where the boss is a benevolent sort
of guiding influence. In Tunisia it’s still quite traditional. You get your
boss looking over your shoulder at everything you do and given you a right
ticking off if you get things wrong and so Moncef, the project manager he
would pull up his chair sit down and just watch these guys and make sure that
they it was done to his exacting standards. Which I kind of felt sorry for the guys
because they don’t get paid that much to be honest. So it’s had five coats of gel
shield on now and two coats of sealant on the metal keel as well and should
be ready for their primer and then the antifoul after that. So it’s lunchtime so I going to try the
dockyard food and eat where the other boys eat. ‎Libanaise. I’m not quite sure what it is – it’s like
a spicy Cornish pasty – onions and egg, bit of chili in it as well. It’s really nice. And the World Cup is on in the background as well. * SOLAR ARCH / DAVITS – FABRICATE * * SOLAR ARCH / DAVITS – FIRST FIT * * SOLAR ARCH / DAVITS – SECOND FIT * We’ve had the bow thruster serviced for the second time in a year. It was serviced back in September and there was loads
of salt water inside – we tipped it over and we had the mayonnaise effect so Mr Mocef has kindly serviced it again this time we’ve had some more parts
fabricated and hopefully it’ll last the year this time. * FUEL FILTER – REPAIR LEAK * * FRESH WATER TANK – STERILISE * So the boat was put in the water
yesterday and we had the final stages of the solar arch finished off. Then there
was some dispute about the balance to pay so we were in the office for about an hour. I’m hoping it just came down to a genuine misunderstanding but the way they do business in Tunisia is not with computers and spreadsheets it’s kind of scraps of paper drawings and a handshake and a nod. And with a language barrier in the way I guess there is a lot of room for misinterpretation. So we paid slightly more than we expected towards the end but we still got some really good work done and still far far cheaper than anywhere else that we would have gotten anywhere else in Europe or the States or anywhere like that. So, you know, we’ll take than on the chin and mark it down to experience I suppose. We made some good friends here actually. One of the guys working here – Rihad – he come over with his family to the boat on our final
night and we had a good chat and he told us about his dreams of emigrating to
Canada with his wife and his young six month year old boy. Yeah really nice nice
family – it’s very tough for poor families without connections in Tunisia. The wages
are very low, conditions are quite harsh. Yeah it’s been a hell of a
learning experience I think for the kids, for us. It’s good to come to an Islamic
country – Tunisia is one of the more progressive liberal Islamic countries.
Hijabs seem to be optional amongst the women. You know there’s the ultra-conservatives and there’s girls walking around with long hair in jeans and you know they wouldn’t look
out of place in any Western country really. There’s some really nice genuine people
here, but last time I was here actually I was pickpocketed so I need to be careful
this time. Yeah so it’s time to leave now so it’s back
to boat, get some last-minute provisioning and off we go. Okay so we’ve just left Port De Peche with the boat and we’re heading back to marina to get ready for our trip
up north Tunisia. We’ve got no sails on because we’ve
taken them all off to be measured because we do need new sails. You can see there that you put the solar panels ontop so it collects more sun and the boat looks really weird with it. It
makes me feel like we’re on somebody else’s boat. somebody else’s boat.. is it all different the boat? Yeah. Me and daddy are gonna put all the sails back on because we have no sails on our sailing boat. French friends. Yeah. We love that family and we love their boat don’t we? So this is saying goodbye to Monastir in Tunisia – Africa. So we’ve left Monastir and we’ve headed
up north along the coast and now we’re in the Gulf of Hammamet. So we’ve anchored in the Gulf of Hammamet for two nights near the old Medina. We went to a cafe – a fantastic
cafe which we’ve been to about eight years ago We are back here having a banana split Oh banana split. Oh is that nice Darry? No. So it’s really nice to go back there. So now we’re going to the marina in Jasmine to get some fuel.
We’re trying to keep carrying on up the coast because we need to get to Sardinia next so we’re kind of waiting for a weather window. We’re just coming in to refuel at Jasmine
marina in Hammamet. Get ready with a stern line as well please.
Hello. Hi. quite close that boats engine. Take cards? No. No cards. Yeah we tried to stock up in Hammamet at
thinking that the supermarkets would be really well provisioned because the
massive tourist industry there but um the shop we found was a little bit sparse but they did have a good stock of alcohol. What you getting Woody? I’m buying contraband. Its like the prohibition isn’t it? I thought he was going to arm wrestle me for the beer We just rocked up at the
most expensive marina in Tunisia. Yeah, it’s only 30 euros or pounds a night which is
kind of still good for the most expensive but that doesn’t include
electricity, fuel or Wi-Fi but anyway we are not staying here because we just came
to refuel and it kind of works out that tomorrow is the day to go north then
wait and then the 11th is the day to cross because 11th 12th it’s all from the
south and the west. Even if you just come to a fuel dock you have to go check in and out and they keep checking on us it’s great actually. The Coast Guard here they’ve come three times to see if we’re
okay on anchor. They kind of like their paperwork but they wouldn’t other if you didn’t turn up ut if you turn up they give you lots to fill in. There’s like seven
guys in there with machine guns with nothing to do, that’s why they keep checking on us and looking after us. I feel so safe here – I feel
like if we got into any difficulty we could just call the Coast Guard
and they’ll be right there assisting us. You know they’d probably even going get
our shopping for us – haven’t tried that one yet. The pirate boats were always out and taking trips out. The kids really loved those boats and they loved the crew because the
crew would climb up the masts and you know on all the spreaders and then the
kids decided they were gonna try some of these tricks as well. We’re now leaving the Gulf of Hammamet
to probably our last stop before leaving Tunisia, which is Kalibia. So it’s another forty miles up the coast. Yeah we’re leaving early so we can hopefully get there around late afternoon really. We might get a bit of sailing in but it’s only forecast to have around 9 knots so we’ll see what happens. A mother’s work is never done. I’m trying to
polish up all the wood because it looks.. there’s no shine to it anymore. With our new interior I’m trying to make it look shiny but it’s boiling – I’m sweating so much. We have arrived in probably the last
stop before we leave Tunisia. This is Kaliia. Calibia and it’s pretty
much a fishing port with the Navy base as well over there. It’s not obvious
where you’re gonna moor up when you arrive because it’s so busy. We were told
to kind of come alongside this boat and another boat left so we were kind of
hanging on a bit but another one coming alongside or something.
This is where we’re gonna be. There goes a fishing boat, out for their catch of the day hopefully. everybody’s getting out to get their fish. We’ve got our oat moored over there and we’re in amongst whole hubub of the fishing community here. So it stinks of fish on our boat when we wake up stinks of fish when we go to sleep. We’ve been cooped up in that very fishy
fishing harbour waiting for the right wind to go across to Sardinia but it’s
our eldest in the middle’s birthday today – yes they share the same birthday
so three years apart so it’s a real special day. Normally we have a big party at home but today we’re in search of somewhere beautiful and we’ve walked
a bit about half an hour and we found this really lovely beach and right on the end
top tip of Tunisia it’s really colourful. It’s a Tunisian hot spot really I think.
So now we’re going to go and find a restaurant to eat in and we know
there’s one called a Monaco Bay Restaurant so this must be in Monaco Bay and
there’s another one as well so we’re gonna check out a few and see what it’s like. So it’s our birthday. And we’ve come here to have something to eat and swim in the swimming pool. Rather than walk all the way round – it’s a bit hot and we’re all a little bit tired now aren’t we? We followed the other Tunisian guys and got over the fence and the Tunisians helped us – it’s so much easier. So you broke in to a Naval dockyard. It’s where we live this is our house our boat is here –
Nous avons un bateau ici. So because of the winds we had a few
extra days which meant, you know we could do a bit more cleaning, squeeze in a
bit of clean this time we did the carpets and then the customs came.
The customs was a little bit more complicated than we thought.
They seemed to have lost a part of the paperwork so you know I thought they
could be trouble but it turned out alright in the end. This is it, we’re leaving Tunisia and we’re going to Sardinia which is really exciting because it’s Italy isn’t it? Although we’ve had too much pizza here so maybe there’ll be something else, maybe the ice cream because it’s supposed to be amazing ice cream. We’re gonna do the longer route from Kalibia which is where we are now. So it will take us about 36 hours maybe
less if it’s good wind. So we’ve been waiting for four days for this weather
to turn but that’s what sailings all about. You can’t just go when you fancy, well you can but you’ll fight against the elements so it’s about kind of
harnessing the wind as they say. So choosing the right wind and going with it. This is
our passage hairstyle which is platt the hair as much as possible
so that we don’t have to deal with it when we get to the other side when it hasn’t been brushed for days. Passages are the best thing for losing weight because you
don’t eat anything. It just makes you so sick. Last time I had a passage my stomach sort of shrinked somehow on the longest passage. I think the longest passage was four days or three. Mine got bigger. Yeah cos you eat all the food. Thank you to all our patrons and the people that watch our videos and share them. Now even if you’ve
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