After a season of fantastic sailing experiences, Eloa begged for some changes and improvements. As Christmas was just around the corner, we decided to reward ourselves with a major facelifting procedure..
All deck equipment had to be taken off, checked, cleaned and repaired. The deck had to be sanded, new anti-skid applied. The antifouling removed, sanded and re-applied. The mast equipment dismantled, cleaned, renewed. The rigging replaced. In the start, it all sounded like a lot of fun, but in the end.. Well, I'm glad it came to an end.
Taking the equipment off deck seems like an easy job, but it is veeery necessary to remember all the positions off various blocks, pulleys, clutches, etc... because later, when putting the boat back together, it may be a problem if you have no photos or vivid memories..
After dismantling all deck equipment, the deck needed to be sanded and repaired. It's not an easy job..
..but the guys from GUMICENTAR put their brilliant minds together and managed to do an excellent job.
We used AWLGrip anti skid paint, sprayed onto the deck in 2+1 layers. I chose a light shade of grey seeing my eyes are pretty (and) bright and the sunlight reflection can be a big problem in long offshore races.
In the meantime, I was doing a complete fresh water wash of all deck equipment. I checked it, cleaned it and managed to provide all new A4 bolts, nuts and washers.
The boys from ASPAR RIGGING supplied all new standing and running rigging, fresh Lancelin ropes and new stainless steel lifelines.
In the workshop, Eloa had a new scalp, but her hull and appendages still needed some work. It was a difficult job taking the silver stickers from the sides as, with time, it got glued to the gelcoat. Inch by inch, day by day, Eloa got her original hull color back! Her bottom was also sanded and smoothly finished with JOTUN anti fouling paint. A white beauty..
When putting all deck equipment back on, I understood what my friend Šime told me about growing in a Mini Transat project: from plain sailing to boat optimizing - it is in this phase I got the "weight virus" - all the excess weight was taken off the boat. But it's a thin line between boat weight and safety, so I was (and still am) calculating what to do and what not to do.. But all systems on board Eloa were very well designed and have later proven to be more functional than the old ones.
With the numbers on, Eloa was ready to come out in the daylight!
It was a long two months of 24/7 work hours. But it was worth it, I got to know Eloa's every smallest detail. And I learned that one has to surround himself with different types of enthusiastic people willing to share one guy's dream of sailing solo across the Ocean, in the best boat ever!