It started with a ‘Hola‘. I was in the boat in Pasito Blanco, sweating it out after doing some cleaning downstairs. ‘Hola‘ I heard back and then I stuck my head out from under the suncover. He – Jose Ramon – was hosing down the boat next to me. It was a nice Hallberg Rassy that looked really nice.

Since I knew I was leaving the sy Escape for a while in Pasito Blanco, I asked him if he could do that for me also when I was gone, and he said ‘I really do stainless steel work‘. Now, that was certainly an ice breaker, so I asked him onboard and offered him a soft drink. I had been looking for someone to do stainless work for us for a long time, but it is just prohibitivly expensive in Norway.

The non-digital 3D model

We sat down and I threw some thoughts on the cocpit table. ‘I shall buy some solar panels and need a solid arc to put them on‘. ‘SI, podemos‘. ‘And we need some sun protection in the cockpit so we dont turn into raisins in the sun‘. ‘raisins?’. ‘uvas pasas‘, I said and immediatly knew I needed to freshen up on my spanish when he said ‘ no gracias‘. Believe it or not, we had a great talk and after some time we had the basics down.

The morning after Jose Ramon came with the model in the picture. He said he worked better with a model and then we could change around on this. That was the best 3D model I saw in quite a while and it was really nice compared to a computerised model. So, again we measured, discussed, I had ideas and Jose Ramon had good explanations why and how my ideas could be improved. It turned out to be a nice time jumping around in the boat, thoughts turned into updates and updated became increasingly detailed.

All in all, we had three rounds of discussions and then I asked ‘are there really any more to discuss‘ and ‘no‘, we had it covered. Equallly important to sharing ideas on design, we build a relation and I gained trust in his ability to deliver a nice pice of stainless work on our boat.

We quickly got the price agreed and for me to pay half up front and half when I was happy with his work. Jose Ramon had been checking material costs, costs for using some specialised equipment, transport and other. I left the boat, and he set off to work.

Once back in Norway, my days was blown by e-mail back-log of and meetings. After one week, my whatsapp bling ‘you got pictures‘.

I cannot wait to see it in real. The whole construction is solid enough to climb on top , the side-bars double as steps, it follows the design lines of the boat and it does not hang over the stern (that I don’t like). The squares on top is custom made to fit my 4 x 160w solar panels. Now we shall do the details, clean up the antennas / radar and remove the ScanStrut radar mast.

And then it was the bimini for sun protection. sy Escape is a sailboat and sailboats have main sheets in the cockpit on a traveller that allows you to trim the main sail.

Now, this I would not be without, but it was a problem for the bimini solution. We wanted it as far back as possible but still in a way so the main sheet would not rip the whole bimini off in a gybe. Also, the design must allow for us to get in/out of the cockpit and to winch the front sails.

The solution became to make a rounded off construction, 5 cm higher than our sprayhood and supported by 4 legs. The front legs should have a gentle backwards curve and narrow about 10cm at the top whilst the aft legs needed to curve forward, but still look good.

Holder for the waste bags

Now we work on the details for strenght, design and practicalities. We will put all antennas on the arc, lights in the arc and bimini, and secure points to hang equipment.

We will improve on the ScanStrut lifting crane. We use this for the outboard engine, but more important, this must be strong enough to winch a person out of the sea as a safety installation. So, we will upgrade with proper ropes and a dedicated self-tailing winch.

And then whatsapp pling ‘you got pictures again‘. Curiously I reached for the phone and opened the app. There to my surprise Jose Ramon had made a neat holder for wastebags in the cockpit. We talked about it, and there it was. Custom designed, custom made and custom installed.

If any of you need to have some stainless work done in Gran Canary – get in contact and I will link you up with Jose Ramon. It had been a pleasure to get to know him and a pleasure to see his work on sy Escape keeping her ‘go fast’ looks and enhanching her capabilities as our cruiser home.