Fiji Haulout, October 2017

Monday 16th – Friday 27th October


Having had two separate and quite nasty incidents in the last few months Emma Louise needs some repairs before we head south for New Zealand.  Whilst in Tonga the anchor dragged and EL grounded on a reef causing damage to the rudder, keel and propellor.  Subsequent vibration of the propellor has also caused the prop shaft seal to leak, quite a lot.  In the second incident whilst en route from Tonga to Samoa the forestay broke with resultant damage to the foresail, the roller reefing system and, of course, the forestay.

By the standards we have been used to hauling a boat out of the water in Fiji is cheap.  355 FJD for haul and re-launch i.e. about $175 US or £125.  Normally you’d expect to pay up to $500 US.  Its also easy and quick to get work done here.  We hauled on Monday afternoon and within two hours had a quote for the rudder repair.


This morning, Tuesday 17th, about 0900 I rang a rigger about a new forestay, it was fitted by about 1130!  I would thoroughly recommend Westside Rigging, Bruce Vasconcellos,  He uses top quality wire, a brand called Hamma which is made in Korea. I paid 450 FJD for a 14.8m x 8mm stay with a swaged 1/2″ eye on one end.  His rigger was up and down the mast twice and they spent an hour setting it up when the forestay was on.

Autopilot Motor

Simrad wanted £660 + VAT (20% for you non UK readers) for a new motor.  I had a young Fijian Indian repair the existing one for 100 FJD (about £40).  It needed the springs pushing the brushes tightening and a new bearing fitted.  If you want electrical work done on your boat contact


The prop got bent in the argument with the reef and needs replacing.  To be fair when the boat was surveyed before we bought her six years ago the surveyor said the prop needed replacing then!  The local yacht service company got me a quote from an Australian company – 3,400 FJD (£1,260), plus shipping! I have now ordered one from the UK for £355 and even with £240 shipping save a huge amount.  If you need a new prop check out  The new prop was delivered by FedEx, ahead of schedule, about two hours before we went back in the water!

Cutlass Bearing

With the prop off and the shaft seal needing replacement I thought we’d check the Cutlass bearing. Just as well we did as it was totally shot, so much so that the propeller shaft is slightly scored.  On trying to remove the shaft to have it skimmed I was horrified to find that it won’t come backwards out of the boat as the skeg is in the way!  The only way to remove it is to take out the engine and pull the shaft forward, that didn’t happen so I had to fit the new bearing on the scored shaft, not great but much better than it was.


We had the rudder professionally repaired by a lovely guy, Nick Tansley who has a workshop in the boatyard.  He also makes surf boards so was an ideal person to remake the curve on the bottom.   Here are before and after shots… 


Our every day use Genoa got damaged when the forestay broke on the way from Tonga to Samoa.  It was repaired by Marshall Sails.  They are very busy at this time of year so book early to avoid disappointment.  In fact they were too busy to make us a new sunshade and a small bimini.  They did have time to put a new zip in the mainsail lazy bag and repair a couple of small holes in it.  I repaired a small hole in the main by sticking patches on either side of the hole.


Our temporary crew, Celia) sanded and painted the dinghy bottom boards with a white two pack paint. It was a choice of black or white and the white was 30 FJD cheaper.


The starboard side of the keel got quite badly scratched in the Tongan reef incident and I spent a couple of days filling and sanding the marks on it.  Once the rudder was back on I painted it and the keel with the one litre of CopperCoat we had left over from the original application in Panama.  Interestingly the UK manufacturer only advertises a shelf life of a year and that is probably stored at 20°C.  Ours was fine after nearly two years stored in tropical temperatures!

Miscellaneous Metalwork 

The Monitor (self-steering) paddle had a little welding done to repair it.  I had a new pin made for the autopilot hydraulic ram to connect to the quadrant.  The same company, Elisha Engineering, also made a new lower bearing for the rudder and a new Cutlass bearing for the prop shaft.  Their final job was a stainless steel rack to hold three plastic Jerry Cans.  Due to a miss-understanding I thought they’d quoted me a price for two racks and they thought it was for one.  Lesson learned, write it down.

Roller Reefing Parts

This is the only thing that went wrong.  When the forestay broke most of the aluminium sections that make up the foil that connects the sail to the forestay were damaged beyond repair.  Alado, the manufacturer, quoted a really good price for the necessary replacement parts.  Once we got to Fiji I sent the delivery details to the salesman in the US who in turn sent me a PayPal invoice.  I then paid it and ignored the fact that the delivery address on the invoice was to my son Ben’s address in London.  Big mistake!  I’d assumed that because I’d told the salesman the Fifi address and Customs clearance details thats what he’d pass to the factory.  He didn’t and the result was the parts were delivered, on time, to London.  As I write this they are at last on their way to Fiji and should be here around 7th November. Another lesson learned!

Port Denarau Marina Boatyard

What a great bunch of people!  Avi, the boatlift driver, and his crew could not have been more helpful. The yard manager, Bruce, was also extremely helpful.  The haul out cost 355 FJD in out and in and rental of the concrete hard standing together with props was 80 FJD per day.  Staging on the other hand is 200 FJD a day which I regard as very expensive.  They don’t let you live aboard, so we checked into the Bamboo Backpackers hostel in Nadi and got a taxi to and from every day for 30 FJD round trip.  There are two chandleries within walking distance where you can get basics, see below.  Most trades are on site with Ravmarine and South Pacific Fibreglass having small units in the boatyard.  Elisha Engineering is across the road and Marshall Sails have a loft about two hundred metres from the gate.


The haul out was primarily to fix the rudder and keel and replace the propellor and the shaft seal.  I’d expected to have to do the Cutlass bearing as well.  All these were achieved in only one day longer than we had planned.  You can get most things done in Fiji at reasonable rates, skilled workers being about 75 FJD an hour, around £30 or $38 US.  As I say, reasonable, not cheap.  Parts are a different matter and anything even slightly unusual will probably have to be ordered from New Zealand or Australia e.g. our prop shaft seal and prop.  Why the prop was quoted at well over £1,000 I have no idea.