Posted by: glennandert | 10-June-2008

The full make-over for ‘Learjet’

This is the beginning of the grand story about painting lady ‘Learjet’ in Fiji Nov/Dec 2007.

Poor ‘Learjet’ needed a new paint job for the entire exterior. She was still sporting her original paint job from 1989. The age and the wear and tear from 3 years in the tropics and we were beyond cosmetics. The paint was in such bad shape that I would soon risk water intrusion below the paint (not good).

Painting the bottom is pretty much a standard maintenance issue, so we’ll ignore that. Painting the topsides (the sides of the boat, above the water line) is a big issue. And painting the deck is a big deal multiplied by about three.

My original plan was to do the paint job over the summer (Jan thru Mar 2008 ) in New Zealand, perhaps at Nelson. But I met a really good painter in Fiji, Willie. He had a great reputation, including having been trained by one of the best painters in New Zealand. So, with Pamela returning to New Zealand to attend to her business for about 6 weeks, I figured I would use that window to do the job in Fiji, which would keep me out of the boat yard during the NZ summer.

So, I started on what was thought to be a 2 week job that turned out to be a 10 week job!

The story begins with ‘Learjet’ stored in her “hole” at Vuda Pt Marina, near Nadi Fiji.

Learjet in the hole

Notice ‘Learjet’s keel in that ditch — “the hole”. Normally a yacht is lowered far enough that it rests on the old used tires in the foreground. Well, they didn’t have any “holes” deep enough for ‘Learjet’s 2.8 meter draft. Hence the stands.

Notice the tree in the background. That caused me no end of headaches with debris from the tree fouling the paint job. But I had to go here, because it was the deepest hole, and their stands are not high enough to handle ‘Learjet’ in a shallower hole, not to mention that the higher she it, the harder it is to paint her. In retrospect, I should have made them put me somewhere else in the yard further from a tree, and simply hired a backhoe to deep the trench deeper.

Notice that wind turbine on the radar arch. That’s my spiffy Lakota wind turbine that puts out 800 watts of electricity, and tilts itself into helicopter orientation when the wind pipes up, and is completely self-managing up to about 100 knots of wind.

Oh, and the boom and stack pack. That’s a completed project from the previous summer — carbon boom, 2/3 meter wide landing pattern in the stack pack for those lovely 3DL sails.

Can’t wait until next edition???



  1. Hi there!
    Amazing blog site…you are so talented, it’s crazy what you can do! I love reading all your emails and now your new website.
    Hug, Laura

  2. Flattery will get you everywhere! Most of the credit for this site actually goes to – they offer an amazingly easy to use set of tools for putting up blogs.

  3. We also are looking at spending cyclone season in Fiji and having our deck redone on our steel hulled boat. Would you recommend Vuda Point Marina as a location, and/or are you aware of any other facilities that we should consider?
    Do many people leave their boats in the marina for the season?

  4. Regards leaving your boat in Fiji for cyclone season, I’ve posted my take on it in a new posting in the blog dated 13-Aug.

    Regarding having work done on your boat in Fiji: You could try Denarau. Based on the Fiji guide to marine facilities, it sounds like a pretty place to get work done on your boat, but you will be very disappointed. Vuda Point is pretty much your only choice. Baobab Marine operates in the boat yard there, and can do an amazing array of jobs. I’ve had a lot of very good work done there and can recommend them. You need enough experience to be your own “project manager” so that you can manage the job to your schedule and quality standards.

    • I would check out all the people who were riped off and not at all happy with Baobab Marine. If fact a few that were taken to court and a few that had water tanks made that were impossible to drink from and the money returned promise was a non event as they know you have to leave town in a mater of time due to expiration of your permit. And the marina makes any contractor good or bad pay a premium of $495.00 just to get into the marina then another 7.5% on any work you have done. Denerau is putting in a fine set up with proper floating dock so you don’t have to risk life and limb getting on and off your boat.

      The Mosi situation is also a worry due to as soon as the cruisers leave and the people that decide to stay for cyclone season the mosi spraying stops as many can attest to the backed up toilets when they have their frequent water problems.

      I hear someone has written about their bad experices with baobab Marine, I’d love to see it if any of you have read it.

      I watched Vuda grow over the last 13 years I have been here and it has just become a ticket for a few greedy white guys “businessmen” to take most for a ride thinking they are entitled to rip you off as there will be others that don’t get the word. It may be ok for people paying the likes of Directors in Florida, but I have seen brand newly painted boats that hole for the season get their bristol topsides peppered by the staff and their weed wakkers and the reaction from the owner Tony Philips was “that happened on your way up from NZ, not here. I was there when the boat was put in the hole and it was in mint condition. Poor flash girl had to be resprayed and paid for by the owner. As far as leaving the boat in the water, If you are there it may be ok but no less than 5 boats have mesteriously almost sunk on the mooring since Baobab set up shop there. And before that a bunch of boats got things stolen off of which never was exposed as the police don’t do much for the cruisers here. They investigate, but the getting a connvition could take years. I personally am waiting for a sinking of my boat while in Vuda over 5 years ago and the company has pretty much had to let it go to court as if they admmitted guilt they would have to pay the $45,000 damage cause their insurance company would not pay for it.

      Thankfully there are more up coming marinas so you’ll have more choises and don’t have to get totally raped.

  5. I would like to thank Bruce for his comments and also if anyone with an open mind will understand as for the same marina, he is running them down is the same the same Marina he is operating from which is Vuda Marina, as for the ripping of Customers, it is something I will leave it with you to be the Judge, as it is very hard to please everyone in this industry. I have worked in this Marina for 16 years and until now to be right about Baobab sinking 5boats is just pure jealousy. Thanks Glenn, for appreciating our work and thanks for your blog as I have very good comments about the paint work on Learjet .

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