La Marina del Palmar

Don’t let the name fool you. It’s a marina, but it’s also a boat yard. As boat yards go, it was tidy and relatively quiet, which was expected in late June, and the bathrooms were cleaner than at any boat yard we’d patronized in the U.S. There wasn’t always toilet paper, but hey, we could provide our own when necessary. Interestingly, there didn’t seem to be any requirements for the guys working there to wear any personal protective equipment (e.g., masks when grinding fiberglass, for instance; close-toed shoes, protective eye wear, etc.). Different from the U.S. for sure.

But why were we there, you ask? Well, last year, in preparation for our journey, we had a bow sprit installed so we could fly a drifter (a light-air sail made of material much lighter than our genoa). About that time, we noticed small amounts of water accumulating in the port bow – INSIDE da boat. Water is supposed to be OUTSIDE da boat. Curious, huh? Well, our assumption was that the bow sprit hardware, some of which was through-bolted just above waterline at the bows, was for some reason letting water in. So, we tightened everything up and went along our merry way.

Well, the water continued to make its way in, so we sponged it out and put powder around the fittings on the interior and waited. “Oh, look, more water,” but the powder around the fittings remained undisturbed. What the…? Ok, the next time we sailed, I stuck my head down in the forward end of that compartment and waited and watched. Lo and behold, there they were. Two little pin-prick-sized orifices, with teeny-tiny amounts of sea water gurgling in. Seeping. Nefariously. What the…?  How the…?

During the WCM Rally in May, Rand and Kurt (Mr. West Coast Multihulls) dove the boat and observed a hairline crack along the center line of the port bow – a 4-ft-long crack. Whoa. AND, there was a matching one on the starboard side, too. Disconcerting to say the least. Well, after a little research, we could find nothing about any other Fountaine Pajot Athena 38s having this problem, so chalk it up to – well, we don’t know what. Basically the fiberglass layup in this area was under built for the flexing forces applied here in any decent seaway. Bottom line? We were destined for the yard as soon as we got back to La Paz (well, actually, after we got back to La Paz from San Diego).

So, here it is in pictures. It cost an arm and a leg, but it is worth the peace of mind, knowing da boat is dry inside. And while we were at it, we managed to bang out a few other projects, too, like installing the cell booster antenna on the spreader, re-painting the anchor chain, filling in a through hull that was no longer needed after removing the old head and installing Herb, changing the sail drive oil, and getting the bottom painted. Done!! Now on to the next set of projects! Oh, and the Sea of Cortez!!