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Light At the End of the Profligate Tunnel?

Profligate heads to the water last Tuesday under the direction of General de Mallorca. It’s hard to know which, but either the cat looks bigger than ever or the General looks smaller than before.

Back in the days of the Vietnam War, politicians and generals kept claiming to see the "light at the end of the tunnel" for that dreadful period of American history. They were always wrong. So when we say that we think we see the light at the end of the Profligate boat project tunnel, we hope we’re being more realistic and accurate.

‘Lectronic readers may remember that the Wanderer and Dona de Mallorca had Latitude’s 63-ft cat all ready to go back into the water in late June for the Bash north, and were only thwarted by the fact that the Travelift was down for a few days for maintenance. Seeing an opportunity, we hired Peter Vargas and his Sea Tek crew and went off on a major refit bender. We had them greatly increase the skin thickness of the decks, then refair and repaint them, as well as the 13-ft long back steps and cockpit seats. It was a nasty job in the heat of the tropics, but the decks are now super strong and look terrific.

Had we not already lifted Profligate out at the La Cruz Shipyard, we wouldn’t have believed there was enough room to lower her back in.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Then we had them tear out 50 feet of the floors in both hulls so they could get at and increase the thickness of the inside skins of the hulls. When we tore out the floors, we found a couple of interesting things. For instance, one secondary but important bulkhead on one side had never been glassed to the hull at all, but had been free floating for 16 years. That’s wasn’t right. Plus, the aft heads on both sides had hever been attached to the hull below them, but had been primarily hanging from the overhead. On one hand it was a remarkable construction flaw, but on the other hand it’s a testament to the strength of modern boatbuilding materials. Anyway, the interiors of the hulls have all been ground down, and parts of them have already had the new interior skins — one layer of mat, one layer of roving, one layer of mat — glassed, and frames beefed up. By Saturday, anothers athwartship frame will have been added, the heads properly secured to the hulls, some secondary bulkheads made three times thicker, and all the glassing of the hull interiors completed.

Robin and Mike Stout of the Redondo Beach-based Aluetian 51 Mermaid helped squeeze Profligate into the water.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The honeycomb cores for the new floors are slated to arrive from Mexico City today, and the plan is that they start to be installed on Monday. Once the repairs and improvements are completed, the clearing of the interior and exterior will begin. We figure all interior surfaces will have to be wiped down a minimum of three times. Thanks to the tropical rains of summer, the exterior cleaning should be a lot more fun.

What a load of junk to be tossed! Were hoping that some of the good flooring can be repurposed for bulkhead reinforcement.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Having seen the light at the end of the tunnel, ‘General’ Vargas thinks the huge project will be completed by the end of next week. We’re not counting on it, but it could happen. In any event, we’re pretty confident that we’ll be back in California for the 28th start of the 20th Annual Baja Ha-Ha.

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