Today I answer viewer’s question as to the Costs of Cruising in Japan. And a question on the dyneema rigging creep issue.
Regards cost of cruising in Japan, this is my own personal take on the costs, based on actually living, cruising and doing work on other peoples sailboats here in Japan. Like the majority of cruisers coming in to Japan, I don’t have the advantage of being fluent in speaking or reading Japanese.
The Dyneema creep issue is fairly complex, and involves temperature and working loads etc. What I have answered is just the basic common sense part of the question. I could go on in great lengths and detail about heat treament in fibre versus braided versus type of dyneema, end usage and the type of boat you have, actual rope size versus practical sizes, costs etc etc Would be like talking about anchors and anchoring. In short nothing but divisive, a bit of windup and pointless. .
Would be like talking about anchors and anchoring. In short nothing but divisive, a bit of windup and pointless.
So kept it very simple, with three points to keep in mind. 1/ Use the correct Dyneema 2/ The diamater of your Dyneema 3/ How good/tight your splice is
But most importantly is I had the help and advice from Peter Greig a professional Synthetic Rigger.
I totally suck at taking Tiare out for a sail. Definitely an episode for all the armchair sailors out there. Pacific Solo – YouTube Channel MacKenzie Sheppard – Film Director
Well this was a sad day out, good winds and a captain that was missing in action :/ Tiare needed tighter rigging and the new sail was left forgotten in the cockpit. What was I thinking? On the positive, we all had a laugh and I learned some good lessons.
After a 10 months away earning some boat bucks, I’m really looking forward to diving back into finishing Tiare. And with any luck going full time into creating these videos.
Now back onboard Tiare, our 55 foot cruising Catamaran, very slowly sailing our way around Japan. After nearly 10 months from the last video, due the need for boat bucks, I’m really looking forward to diving back in finishing Tiare and doing some sailing, and with any luck going full time into creating these videos.
PART TWO: OUR CHOICE BASED ON LOCATION, TIME AND COST
This week is part two of our decision to replace our 55 foot Wharram Catamaran’s standing rigging.
Sailing and cruising around Japan brings its own rewards and challenges. One of the challenges is trying to do maintenance and replace gear. Japan has all the stuff required but it is either very hard to source and/or it’s very expensive.
The choice between new synthetic (dyneema) standing rigging, keeping the old grungy stainless rigging, or go with new stainless was a choice based around our location in Japan’s Inland Sea, the time left before we had to re-step the masts and the actual dollar cost.
If it hadn’t been for the rather fortuitous meeting with the Australian synthetic rigger guru, Peter Greig, then the outcome would have been very different.
Decided to replace our old stainless wire standing rigging with new synthetic dyneema rope using the long bury method and low friction rings.
This video is an interview I did with an Australian rigger Peter Grieg. I took this video, with the idea that I would use it as a guide when I did my own synthetic rigging. I was not intending to put it out on YouTube. Other than adding a couple of bits for clarification, the video is unedited and starts when I turned on the camera. It’s not organized into a step one, step two… Rather it is a simple hands on conversation with a very experienced rigger, who has a passion for spreading the word on synthetic rope and its many benefits.
This is Part One: Peter goes over how to calculate, or measure, the length of the replacement synthetic stay. How to correctly do a long bury splice in dyneema. How to add a single and multiple low-friction rings. Goes over his “width of palm plus thumb” rule.
Next Episode Part Two: What I learnt in handling Dynice Dux dyneema. Making my own s/s fids. Mistakes I made. What I would do differently. Would I still go with dyneema or stay with stainless if I had a bigger budget and more time? Breakdown and cost of the new synthetic rigging, covering(sheath), tools and low friction rings.
I FAILED! 6 DAYS IN A COMMERCIAL YARD TO REDO TIARE’S ANTIFOUL!
The old adage Never enough time to do it right. But always enough to do it again. Damn.
Every now and then you got to admit to a mistake, stop crying and deal with it.
And this is what this story is about. How to blow 1200 dollars, or as I like see it How to keep fit and help support a local business.
All this started a couple of years ago when I began a big above and below waterline overhaul on Tiare, removing thru hulls, replacing the remaining metal thru hulls with composite, manually scraping both hulls to remove 15 years of anti-foul, repairing the dings and scratches, sanding it all smooth, twice. Repainting the topsides and then multiple coats of epoxy barrier coat below the water line.
Now early on I had researched the paint system I needed. It was to be all one company and all products working together.
A few months after launch I started noticing that bits of the epoxy undercoat were showing through the anti-foul.
And to top it all off, this year was the worst year for barnacle growth the local fishermen had seen. Ever. Historical levels of barnacle!!
A butt clench, wallet shrinking moment as I realised what I had done, and that I needed to haul out, and not my usual thrifty “between the tides” type of haul-out, but a proper haul out, where you actually pay someone money,
Once out of the water, I scrape off the barnacles, water-blast the hulls, then hand scrape all while the cement the barnacles use to “concrete” themselves on with, I had some help with this, (Thanks Nagi and Tom) Then hand scrape off all the newold anti-foul, then repair all the little scratches that the scraping had created, then sand it all again, water blast again, then apply a coat of the recommended vinyl barrier paint, wait a day, then apply the newnew anti-foul.
After checking with the paint company they also recommended, along with the anti-foul I originally planned to use, to also apply a vinyl barrier coat before antifouling, You know, just to be 100% sure that everything sticks. Actually I think they were just trying to make it idiot proof.
And this is where the problem lay, I had used different paint companies for the epoxy barrier paint and for the anti-foul. Originally it was going to be one company and all their chemistries work together, no worries, but by the time i got around to buying the anti-foul I had forgotten this rather crucial bit information. Ouch.
So here we are, Tiare is about to come into the local fishing boatyard, its a bit windy but thats ok as I have Tom in the tender to push Tiare around.
The costs start when the lines get thrown
There it is, six days and 1200 Dollars
What I came away with?
Well a thinner waistline and a lighter wallet for sure, but I now have the proper paint system applied, and the knowledge that I also have an extra protective vinyl barrier coat on Tiare. Which is a good thing.
When we originally bought Tiare she had varnished masts
Which looked fantastic, but being in the tropics, with all the high UV were just too much maintenance.
Each year a new coat of varnish had to be applied, meaning going up the mast to sand and varnish. Just too much hassle
After a couple of years living onboard we discovered that the aft sail collar had worn through the covering of glass that protects the mast from hard knocks.
This had allowed the tropical rains to run down the mast and into the wood.
It didn’t take long for the heat and humidity of the tropics to turn the wood to mush.
The damage was bad enough that we really needed to pull the masts out and rebuild the first 6 feet
I also wanted to paint them white, no more varnish and no more sanding!
We couldn’t do this in Thailand due to visa limits , so we carefully sailed down to Lumut, in Malaysia.
Once the masts were out, we found the Masthead had also rotted out .
Bottom of the mast was rebuilt with wood, the masthead we replaced with aluminium.
Once the work was done we re-stepped and continued cruising.
After cruising for a while we noticed that cracks started to appear in the aft mast, first on the paint, then the fiberglass.
Initially at the top, then further down.
But we were cruising remote places well away from the resources needed to either drop or lift out the masts.
So we filled, or covered the cracks trying to stop any more water getting in, and kept an eye on them and hoped for the best.
Had been ten years since we had bought her, and really done almost no major maintenance, other than to keep her, and us, safe.
Well last year we were finally in a position where I could give Tiare her much needed maintenance / overhaul.
and could finally crane the masts out and assess the damage, and perhaps have a good cry.
And yes, it wasn’t pretty.
Looked like the fibreglass had not stuck to the wood. It just peeled off. Water had gotten underneath and rot had set in. Only this time the main damage was to the top 6 meters. The masthead, now being aluminium had no issues.
The forward mast appeared fine, no cracks and I didn’t want to jinx myself by disturbing what wasn’t a problem.
So the forward mast just got a cosmetic overhaul, new primer and top paint. plus a fancy streaming light and deck-light.
The damage to the to top 6 meters was fairly extensive.
Luckily the mast is made using a birds-mouth construction technique, and where the lengths of wood were glued together the damage had not moved from one length to the next due to the glue between the two pieces of wood.
I could save half existing mast wood, but needed to replace the rotten lengths.
But, suitable spar wood is very expensive in Japan, So I looked at alternatives. replacing the mast with aluminium would be nice, but thick walled aluminium of the right diameter were not cheap and shipping to me in Japan, made it even less so.
We simply couldn’t afford either new wood, and definitely not a new mast
The only option left was to use the some rot and insect resistance wood that I had bought for the office deck.
This is Hinoki, or Japanese cypress, very rot resistance, which sounded good to me.
I also had enough lengths available to do the Job, finishing the office deck would have to wait.
Removing the damaged wood, was scary, hoping that the remaining wood would hold the weight and not break, If that had happened the whole job would have become seriously more difficult and my trust in the repair would be undermined. I didn’t want to be in rough seas wondering if the mast was going to break.
I applied Ethyl glycol, or antifreeze, to stop any further spread of dry rot or fungi, It also has the benefit of showing up areas where water had penetrated the mast.
After selecting the lengths that had the least amount of knots making the replacement strips was fairly straight forward. Simple calculation based on the diameter of the mast, and the number of pieces. Tiare’s mast has eight sections, I needed to replace four of them.
The wood I had wasn’t long enough for some, so it they needed to be joined with health 12:1 scarf.
My youngest son was down for the holidays and helped out with the scarf joints.
Once I had this done I could cut out the birds-mouth,.
Miso the Bernese Mountain dog we were looking after enjoyed the time too. Like most dogs, being close by was the best possible place to be.
There was also some stiffeners to make that fit inside the mast, I think here you can see why its called a birds-mouth joint. The joint increases the surface area of the glue bond.
Once the rotten sections in the mast had been removed and scarfs made, and the new wood cut and then scarfed to length. It was time to glue the new wood into place.
Getting a close fit with new wood to the old hadn’t been easy, Seeing the epoxy squeeze out as I tightened the clamps up was a big relief. As it meant the joints were a good fit.
Looping then twisting the ropes around the mast really put the pressure on the joints. I was surprised at how well this worked.
After that it was waiting a couple of days for the epoxy to set before I could roll the mast around and start rounding off the new wood to match the circumference of the mast.
Any low parts were made up with epoxy filler.
After the mast has been rounded, filled and sanded smooth.
It was time to prep it for a layer of fiber glass.
This layer of glass is really there to stop any hard objects from making holes and damaging the protective paint layer and letting in water.
This time instead of very light weight layer of glass, and keeping in mind that the mast is supposed to flex, I opted to use S-glass, which is around 30% better in everything over standard, or normal, e-glass.
It’s stronger, more flexible and also more expensive.
How ever I did manage to find a very good price for a roll of 8.95oz cloth.
This our oldest son Sam, who unlike me, is a boat builder, and actually knows what he is doing.
Once the glass is all on and cut to size, the peel ply is ripped off, which an incredibly satisfying experience! not unlike peeling off dead sunburnt skin, but with the added pleasure of extra noise.
Next is to add 3 coats of high build epoxy primer, sanded down to a smooth finish.
And then a final 3 coats of finish paint.
The paint I used was the same as the hulls, only white. It is a flouropolymer resin, designed mainly to be used on offshore structures, very hard wearing, long life gloss retention, and anywhere other than Japan, would be out of my budget.
But, being made in Japan it ends up being more affordable than other well known brands of marine paint.
Each coat of paint took an hour, 30 minutes per mast, per side, and only one coat could be applied a day.
Only in the early morning before the sun got too hot.
So six days to apply the primer and another six days to apply the top coat. Can only do one half of the masts at a time.
And I needed a couple of days to let the paint harden before I could roll the mast over to do the other side.
And there was a deadline as I had to have the masts out as the area was booked for a construction project.
It couldn’t rain, or we would have had to step the masts before the final coats of paint were on and hardened.
We made it with a day to spare.
The big day had arrived.
All that work is now falling into place.
The standing rigging, new lights, new wood, new paint, blocks, everything, is ready for the final step.
Im really pleased with the results and more importantly, no longer worried about the mast falling apart.
Another benefit is that I now have the confidence to build a completely new mast should I need to .
It’s not difficult, a new wooden mast really is a low tech, simple step by step process,
I feel a new build would have be easier than trying to do the repairs I did.
But money constraints meant that a new mast was never on the cards.
A decision about what to do with the standing rigging had to be made, whether I put the old wire rigging back on , make up some new wire rigging or were there other options?
Given that our budget is really really tight, perhaps just reusing the old rigging would be the only choice.
But life constantly throws unexpected opportunities, and a chance meeting with an Australian rigger provided the answers.
Short video on putting Tiare our Wharram 55″ cruising catamaran back in to the water.
Being dragged up onto a rough, unused and old concrete fishing ramp had its draw backs, no electricity and no water, but these were offset by the cost (free) and there was no officially imposed time limit, which allowed me to work and earn, as I worked on the repairs.
After nearly a year out on the hard, it’s time to slip Tiare back in. But will she go in smoothly? I’m not too sure and just a bit nervous. This is a one shot. No hoist to lift her back out if there is a leak in the new thru-hulls, it’s all or nothing! We waited until the conditions were right, tides at the months’ highest , the winds light, extra hands to pull and push. But with no moon and no lights it didn’t go quite a planned.
Having Tiare hauled out for a year, gave me the time to deal with many of the concerns I had. -The number and quality of thru hulls. -Damage to the grounding plates on the hull. -Cracking around the rudder lashings. -The rudders splitting due to the damage received several years ago during a bad typhoon in southern Japan. -Paint system was getting thin and the number of dings that needed attention was growing. -Sail drive leg paint system was failing and had some water ingress.
If you watch until the end, that low angry animal growling noise, is Tiare grinding against the concrete wall 🙁
Has been a while since I last uploaded a video.
In this video we
1/ Travel to Sado Island in Niigata to an open day for a Miyadaiku trade school
2/ Enjoy a local Shrine festival
3/ Hang the rudders back on Tiare
Video gets me close to current times.
Next video will be up to real-time
Part of the delay is that I have been trying to find a direction and purpose to the videos, other than as a personal diary.
So this episode I swap over from Go Sea Camping to Sea Japan, although the adventures of SV Tiare will continue.
I really hope to show Japan as the absolutely fantastic cruising destination it is.
But more on the direction of this channel over the next few episodes.
Hope to have Tiare up and sailing towards the end of August,
Next episode will cover the exhausting, yet somewhat successful, drama of getting Tiare back into the water., along with problems and solution to my aft mast issues.
Music from Artlist.io
1: Spring in Barcelona by Ian Post
2: Burdens by Derek Gust
3: Vietnam Theme by Hanjo Gabler
4: Burnin down the house by Saint-anyway
5 Brown Eyed Girl, written by Van Morrison and performed by Sam, Tom, Taiga and Micheal live at Okappa cafe
Well, I have finally done it. I’ve gone and painted my topsides.
And prepped my hull for a new generation of anti-foul.
This is a major milestone for me. Tiare has needed a hull repaint for a number of years, slowly becoming a little more drab with each small knock the tender makes on the side, and with the passing of time wearing thin the top-paint.
Now that she is on the hard, and I have access to some high quality and affordable paints, along with the time to spend on doing the preparation work. It feels good to take my time to do it right.
This was my first repaint and a steep learning curve, I definitely acquired some new skills. Paint scraping is an art, sanding and painting is a trade.
Doing it right means I take all the old anti-fouling off, scrape and sand back to the hull’s base coat, and then apply several layers of super smooth epoxy coating before a final coat of a modern super slippery, long lasting anti-foul.
I have not yet decided on the final anti-fouling system, there are a few options available but I will make that decision closer to when I re-slip Tiare.
Took longer then I had anticipated, as my hands seized up daily after four to five hours due to Carpal tunnel syndrome.
If you’re my age, and a tradie, you’ll know what I mean. If you’re reading this and you’re young, look after your hands!! Waking up every night at 2am, with your arms and hands on fire gets tiring real quick.
So although one hull side would take around 18 – 20 hours total to scrape clean, it would actually take around 5 days. And there are four sides!
Fortunately, we have an onsen/spa (hot baths) close by, a soak after a day of scraping felt really good and made the CTS manageable.
I didn’t do a roll and tip, as that really only works well with paints that are thinned out. Thinning out a paint reduces its gloss and you need to put more coats on to make up the thickness.
What I did was a coach or carriage style as it allowed me to put on just four thick un-thinned coats of top paint.
I wasn’t going for a mirror finish, as that takes considerably more effort in sanding and preparation, I think my hands would have failed if I had tried, and then there is the stress over the final application of the top coats.
What I wanted was multiple coats of solid un-thinned top paint of at least 3 coats (I ended up with four coats).
I am very happy with the results.
Marine Paints from CMP
For the epoxy primers and the top-sides finish coat, I have used CMP (Chugoku Marine Paints) here from Japan.
One of the deciding factors on using CMP was that they make their paint AND catalysers here in Japan.
When I order the paint it usually takes a week or so as they make it to order, it arrives very fresh 🙂 All 4kgs or 18kgs of it.
It is also inexpensive, e.g. 4kg of white is 6000¥ ~ 60 USD for a quality two-part urethane, with the top end Fluorex Finish at twice the price at around 12,000¥ ~ 110USD.
18Kg of epoxy primer, Bannoh 1500, was 12,000¥ ~ 110USD. 18 kg did four coats below the water line.
This episode I discover some unwanted guests in my SB stern post.
Find out that a scraper is my best friend, and I visit Yuge island’s summer festival.
Woodworm, every old sailing boat novel I read as a kid mentions the dreaded woodworm.
So what appeared to be a small crack in the paint, turned into a “worst case” scenario of woodworm boring through my sternpost, a real stomach dropping moment.
But although was bad, the epoxy glue lines seemed to have stopped it from spreading further.
So was a matter of taking the plunge and cutting a large chunk out of the sternpost, took a bit of nerve to make the first cut.
After that was a relatively simple job of carving a replacement part, fortunately I had been carrying some very hard wood onboard since Malyasia some 5? years earlier.
The wood, locally known as Chengal, a traditional boat building timber is very hard, glues well is rot resistant and also easy to work.
Wikipedia link here. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neobalanocarpus
The rudders are off, the port side needs a simple scrape before fairing and new anti-foul.
Without a vacuum system electric tools are no good, plus I find that a simple scraper is the most effective tool for removing old anti-foul.
Yuge Island had its annual summer festival, the weather holds up and it was a fantastic afternoon.
Next video I repair the starboard rudder, which was damaged when we dragged in a typhoon 4 years ago.
The summer heat is ongoing and slows progress down. Fortunately, I am working under the boat and in the shade but still, the humidity and heat takes the energy out of you.
Replacing our metal thru hulls and valves with Trudesign Composites. http://www.trudesign.nz/marine.
Learn how to remove extremely well stuck thru hulls and drill holes for replacement thru hulls, along with a quick look at some thru hulls that had been eaten from the inside out.
Now Tiare is out of the water, I take down our Sillette Sonic Drives to replace the anodes, bellows, shaft seals and clean and fill the corrosion pitting on the lower legs, then give acid washing a go before acid etching and a repaint.
Last winter I discovered that the SB side leg had water getting into the shaft so hoping it was just the shaft seals that needed replacing.
The PS leg pins were getting sloppy in their brackets, the answer was to fit some steel sleeves into them. Along with adding some high wear aluminum epoxy, to replace what the corrosion had eaten away around the pins.
And finally, time to grind off the 5 year old bitumen I had put on in Malaysia, and give the legs a good clean and fill up the bad pitting. Replacing grungy black/brown with a nice bright white.
Well it has been a few months since the last video.
Quite a few things have happened. Winter has gone, Spring has been and gone and we are now into the rainy season.
Sam our eldest son is now in living in Japan, Tom has gone up to Hokkaido for six months as an IT intern. And Tiare our 55 foot Wharram sailing catamaran was hauled (dragged) out and ready for a 12 month maintenance and makeover.
There is a very long list of jobs.
Would have liked to take more video of Tiare as she was hauled out but totally forgot about the video until she was out. Shame.
But the biggest factor that makes taking kids cruising and the level of success is you.
Its how you approach the issues of safety, health, education.
And it’s your OWN expectations that are going to influence your life afloat.
In my mind, there is no doubt that taking your kids for an extended cruise is beneficial on so many levels.
Kids will accept things readily and adapt. It’s your own values and actions that often bring the conflict, especially as kids get older.
If you are the type that is constantly stressed, has a “my way or the highway” attitude or find it difficult to adapt, then cruising with older kids is going to be challenging.
Especially when it comes to what you consider to be the right way. As you know better, cos you’re an adult.
YOU’RE THE ADULT SO YOU HAVE TO LEARN TO DEAL WITH IT.
We have seen a number of cruisers with teenagers that have given up simply because they couldn’t deal with the kids “attitude”.
From where we were it was more a parent inability to just let it go. Laugh it off.
And I know it’s not always easy to be so relaxed. There is so much for you to worry about their imagined future.
What I have learnt is that cruising kids have a pretty good grasp on what life is really like.
After all they are traveling the world by sailboat, they learn that most people are poor, by our standards, that most people don’t have the opportunities they have, that most people have to work very very hard just to get by and that the world is a really big place and to succeed takes an effort. All this while they mumble, yell and say life’s unfair and sucks. Of course not all teens are like this 🙂
Safety is a biggy. For us the biggest concern is falling overboard while underway. Setting an example is key,
If they need to wear a lifejacket outside of the cockpit at all times, so should you.
If they need a lifeline attached, so should you.
Other than falling overboard, learning to swim and gaining confidence in the water is a must.
Being able to climb back onto the boat unaided
Swimming around with a fitted life-jacket is a great way to build that up, along with a knotted rope over the side.
Most other safety issues are obvious. you’re surrounded by water and often in a strange country, where language and customs are not like back home.
We have found that most places are “more” relaxed about children and they are more openly accepting of kids.
Being able to read the sea state, understanding waves, rips etc on beaches is also important as a lot of time will be spent hanging out at these places.
The “look” don’t touch Rule, which is not only good for their health but also good for the environment. Lots of pretty looking animals have parts that break off inside you, should you pick them up.
We found an essential piece of equipment was a good pair of jewellers tweezers and a freezing spray. Digging out see spines is difficult and painful without these.
Can use an ice pack but takes longer. Stainless Steel flat head and sharp nose tweezers. A sense of humour.
Get yourselves immunised. Lots of weird diseases.
Fortunately being on a yacht you can anchor off far enough that the worse of the mosquitos.
Although we did learn that an on-shore breeze bought the mozzies out as they knew they had an easier* time to get back to land.
So the usual cuts, grazes, sprains and broken bones.
Taking a first aid course is a good idea. Along with books that show you what to do. Have them available for the kids to look at the pictures or read.
The biggest health issue for us was infections from scrapes and ear-ache. Making our own ear drops for after swimming, a solution of alcohol, vinegar and water.
Things we have dealt with
Cuts n Grazes
Learn first aid. Let the kids be a part of it. Don’t make a drama about it and be prepared. And a sense of Humour
This is again more about the parents than the kid
Any of the established systems, like GSCE, Calvert for younger and the various Govt’ school systems will do well, it’s up to you.
We found that our kids did well, got through the work with high grades. Sometimes a day at school would take three hours, others 8, totally depends on where we were.
Friends and the beach, snorkelling close by and school would be done in dusted in 3 hours, other days it would be getting close to “ Dinner not ready until you finished your school work” 🙂
When we started out there was not the choice of internet-based schools we have now, also the internet was not as well developed.
We used Calvert, which we found to be fantastic, truly impressed with the material that arrived and the feedback from the onshore teachers.
When they out-grew that we moved on to Wolsey Hall and the English based GSCE system.
Did they miss out on areas, possibly, chemistry labs?
But that was made up for being in places where they could see geography, physics, history, biology, maths, reading etc had direct practical experience.
Obviously, everyone has different abilities and skills. Our middle son never wrote anything down, no notes nothing. But he always did well, passed with high grades, even today he still doesn’t write notes!
Cruising is as much about the community of cruisers as the places you visit.
With kids onboard, you meet others and friendships amongst the are made instantly.
And not just within their own age group, everyone helps everyone. It was great to see my own kids look after and play with younger and also get on and be part of a much older group as well, no peer pressure.
Also, they learn to talk and work with other adults, Helping cruisers with tasks and being treated as equals is great for their personal growth.
And as you cruise you meet so many different people with totally different lifestyles, from “freedom fighters” to owners of large global companies and everyone in between.
The old saying “that it’s as much about what you know as who you know” is very true, and you do get to know a lot of interesting people.
Cruising kids seem to turn out as well balanced, rounded kids with a good sense of what’s right.
You have a unique opportunity, no bubbles of peer pressure, allowing them to explore different ways to think. Listen to others.
Cruisers come in many many different shades, often shades that you would not normally have the chance to associate or hang with
explore – relax – recharge
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