16 Aug 2012

Alotau rudder fix

Our berth at Alotau
Finding a replacement rudder, completeing the ordering process, and having it built and delivered to Alotau was no quick or easy process.

Finally, our new Jefa rudder arrived from Denmark via Port Moresby on 24 July (the last couple of hundred miles taking much of the time), into the hands of Frank & Leslie Lewis - our neighbours in Alotau, without whom we would have been totally lost. Leaving Harlequin unattended in PNG would normally have been a real worry. We were so very lucky to have found them - well, actually, they found us!

Anti-foul going on...
They had spotted our arrival (Steve & Pat's) off Nawae, heard about our dilemma and decided to offer their assistance with a secure berth alongside their pier, a few miles to the west of Alotau. They then arranged a tow, berthing, guarding, rudder delivery, manpower for boat repair & rudder replacement, even a bit (OK, a lot) of mothering by e-mail, to reassure the owners that our baby was still OK.

Ready to fit..
They met our advance party of Dave Wilson & John Cooper (all the way from Sydney & Auckland, respectively) at the airport, and the work began immediately to repair the transom gate, damaged during abortive attempts at using a jury-rigged spinnaker-pole rudder during The Event. A spot of welding, and the shattered transom hinge was fixed!

It floats!
Meanwhile, Frank's man, Ben was repairing (leading edge gouged in delivery), prep'ing and painting the new rudder. All was completed quickly, and the rudder went on relatively easily - despite floating. Yes, with the new 6082 Aluminium alloy (AlMgSi1) stock, it floated!

Replacing the rudder with Harlequin still in the water suddenly required a little more thought...

Ready for the off!
Having been delayed 5 hours at Port Moresby airport (typical PNG), Jim and Richard & Max Carrey arrived on Fri, 27 Jul just in time to take a bow and admire the work everyone else had done! Everyone then proceeded out for a last civilised (but sloooooow) steak & chips at the nearby Driftwood Resort.

Saturday saw the last bits of provisioning and admin (checking all available wx forecasts), and we were off by midday, into a very pleasant SW'ly 15 kts. After a 10 week delay, Harlequin was finally back on track for her last leg to Cairns.

Our thanks to Frank & Leslie

Again, our heartfelt thanks go to Frank & Leslie for their warm friendship, valuable assistance, and freely-offered support during Harlequin's enforced layover in Alotau. It was really appreciated, and we look forward to meeting Tamilaini again during our respective cruises along the Queensland coast!

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