Vernadsky Research Station, Galindez Island
This morning I woke up with the question of what to do with the beam in the port side hull.
It is only one plank out of the 20 sitting in each hull and with these temperatures and humidity, working with resin will not be easy. But with the Drake to be redone and the stretch from the Falklands to Buenos Aires, I think I need all the rigidity of the structure. So I decided to call my frind Giorgio Magrini and give me some advice.
Giorgio is one of the most famous yacht designer of Otaly having built Americam Class boat and many maxi's.
"Hi Giorgio, I'm Giamba"
"Hi Giamba, where are you?"
"I'm at the South Pole and I almost sank Angelique II!"
Giorgio obviously advises me to repair the structure, even if in a rough way. He suggests to heat the part of the hull as much as possible, and to test the resin to check the percentage of catalyst to use.
I remembered that Ukrainian told me theu frequently use resin and fiber to repair their inflatable boats, because it's really easy to get stuck in these area ....
So I called the base via VHF radio and announcing my visit at the base. Anton was waiting for me, a great young engineer responsible of the maintenance. Wwhen Anton arrived to weighed about 20 kilos less.
Here he decided to become a bodybuilder and, the magic of Antarctic science, today he weighs 20 kilos more of pure muscle mass. But he also adjusted his look to the new fisic du rol.
Long beard, hair shaved to zero except for a long tuft that held in the middle of the forehead, like the old Ten Ten. Anton told me to use for their repairs a resin with 30% catalyst that would set within 24h.
I asked if they could give me some of this miraculous resin and obviously not only have they satisfied me, but they offered to come and help me on the boat to do the job. Back to the boat I started to prepare the surface, grinding the delaminated layers so that the new lamination would grip on a steady surface.
This is "sh....* work because grinding generates dust splashed all over. So emptied the cabin of everything, with we completely covered the area with nylon in order to contain as much as possible the dust.
15 minutes of immersion in the fiber and resin dust and the fear has passed.
Following Giorgio's suggestion, before proceeding with the beam repair, I performed a test with the resin applying 30% of catalyst. component and as promised by Anton after about 30 minutes the resin set.
I tried to warm up the area with an hairdryer and inve with a the temperature in the cabin at 31 degrees celsius, the hull was still damn cold. But trusting the experience of Anton I began to stratify, applying the first layer of mat. Once applied the resin and the fiberglas we had just to wait and see.
Meanwhile Anton told that the Commander invited us again for a farewell party. The entire Ukranian team will spend another 5 weeks at the base and then a new team will come.
At 21:00h we were in their cozy pub drinking cocktails worth the best bar in Milan.
Alcoholics, wine, finger food, salmon canapés, fruit, sweets, music, everything. The crews of other two boats arrived during the day were invited to the party as well. Pod Orange, a French boat that has been chartering here for many years and Alde Tasmanian, a schooner with an Australian flag, recently in these seas but owned by a skipper who has 140 cruises in Antarctica on his log!
This boat was bought in the Netherlands and after having crossed the Northwest Passage last summer, sailed down here to start its charter business. His previous boat, the Australis, which we met in November in the Beagle Channel, is now entrusted to his son and continues to charter here in Antarctica. On average 3 or 4 cruises a year, for a turnover of around 120,000 US $ per cruise. Not bad!
Pod Orange's crew, casts a video on the huge screen of the base. The protagonists are two girls of the crew who tell their work year from their point of view, making shuttles between the South Pole and Ushuaia.
Tomorrow weather forecasts announce 3 days of little wind, what we need to get a relaxed back at sea, after the last thrilling days. We hug our new friends, I do not know if we'll ever see them again, but we certainly thinking of them every time we will be talking about our year at the end of the world.