Hard Times in Malta

Wow, what felt like eternity now lies behind us: 7 months of meticulous preparation and boat work on the hard in Malta.

CUBA has been in good shape for some coastal exploration, but she wasn’t ready just yet for longer and more adventurous journeys.

Last winter we finally came around to get her in ship-shape, though not without a fair amount of elbow-grease and headaches. Anyone who has ever done any DYI projects might tell you that, unless you have done the work before, there are usually a ton of holdbacks, things that just don’t work out and stuff that needs re-doing. We still pressed on to get through our to-do list of a whopping 121 items.

Last bits of antifouling being applied

Essentials included the changing of the seacocks. Those are basically the backbones of the boats plumbing and keep CUBA from taking on water and sinking. The ones on CUBA were more than 20 years old and pretty corroded. Parts of them are constantly exposed to salt water and essentially got eaten away over time.

We also had a few leaks and leaky hatches. Any time there was a drizzle, we got tapped on the head here and when it poured outside, we had a bit of an issue below deck. Essentials didn’t just include keeping the water out though, a big aspect was also to get energy into the boat.

CUBA used to be a charter boat and was not equipped with any extras to generate electricity other than by running the engine. Hence an alternative way to get power was much needed and we sat down to think up a construct to mount solar panels. Oh yes, and we had to calculate our energy consumption over and over again to know how many panels we needed in the first place, all whilst learning how to actually install the panels ourselves. Unfortunately, its not just done with a few panels and the installation included quite a few extras. We kind of had to dismantle half of the boat, remove existing wiring and re-wire several things.

Aside from the upgrades and fixes, we had to apply anti-fouling to the hull too, and sealed the keel off completely with epoxy to ensure it will not develop any rust in the coming cruising seasons.

I could go on through our list of 100+ items one by one but let’s just say we did a lot of grinding, replacing, gluing, and shuffling to prepare for another season on the hook.

By May we finally got the essentials out of the way and we just couldn’t wait to get back into the water. After all we were sitting on the dock for 7 months.

But just as we got CUBA back into the water, we were hit with a surprise: The gear did not engage, and the boat did not propel forward, while we also discovered a leak. Unable to move and taking on water, we had to act fast to fix the issues. Though the leak was sorted out quickly, the gearbox issue turned into a complete re-work of the clutch-cone, delaying our departure by another few days, while Enrique worked every hour the day to fix the issue, since we were not supposed to stay tied up by the dry dock.

So with only two months delay, we finally started our crossing to Albania.