Week ending 27 January 2008

If Knot Y Knot
Patricia Day
Sun 27 Jan 2008 17:01

Week ending 27 January 2008


I did not put my few bits out at the fleamarket, because it rained hard just when I arrived and all the tables were wet.   Michelle and Dave from Daniel Storey are over in Marigot Bay and it was good to catch up with them while we did our internet.

Bruce – R Phurst, was at the bar and it was he who had said that my outboard was going well on Wednesday night, it stopped working the next day and so I held him responsible for jinxing it.  I asked him to accompany me to the dinghy dock while I tried the ether again as I was a bit worried about this process.  I had put a tube in which should get enough ether into the air intake and Bruce confirmed that it would have started if fuel had been the problem, it turned over ok, so that left the spark plug.  This was a new plug from Grenada and St Maarten was its first use, but I just happened to have a spark plug remover and a new plug in my bag and that was the problem solved.   The day picked up remarkably from that point.

Again dominoes did not happen, it clashed with American football playoffs and there were not enough people.  It is trying to be re-arranged, yet again, but I don’t expect to be here by the time they sort it.  There seem to be lots of people who want to play, but getting them together in the same place at the same time is not easy.

It is windy and wet and I read a book and watched a DVD for the rest of the day.


It rained on and off overnight and the tank is filling up quite well.  The wind is forecast 20-25 for the next few days.  The batteries are up to 100%.

I checked on my autopilot, we cannot get any response regarding parts and so I am going to cut my losses and buy a new one.

I have just got hold of Compass January issue and Jane, Cheetah II, has written an article about our Trinidad departure.  Luckily I am just referred to as the British flagged yacht.  There may be reactions in February issue.


I went in to collect the new autopilot, Gui hopes to have his new dinghy tomorrow, he graciously declined my offer to take him in mine, and come and check out the installation.  The system has a wheel attachment, a control box, a compass, an instrument, a remote and a rudder sensor and all these have to go somewhere different and connect up to the control box.  The old one was a self contained  unit.

 There is not enough distance between the wheel and the binnacle for  the motor, I will have to make a hole in the pedestal to put the motor in – this was why I went with the Simrad instruments when I had the boat fitted out originally.  The compass has to be on the centre line of the boat, pointing forwards and the right way up, above the water line, 1 metre away from the engine, metal and wires, protected from water and general damage, on the rear side of the centre; not that it is fussy then.  The rudder sensor leaves me cold, I have taken the ceiling down in the back cabin to get to the rudder, but I have warned Gui that I cannot do that bit. What I can see is the distinct possibility that I will be in tears before this installation is finished and not just over the money.


I waited in all day for Gui, but he did not come.   Trevor was bored and asked to come over, the guy who owns the boat he is on, I think his name is Roger,  was off in the dinghy, so Trevor had to swim –it reminds me of the Milk Tray adverts.  When Roger returned Trevor hailed him and he came over.  I said  “I found this floating in the water and I believe it is yours”.  I accompanied them back and sorted the new Vista computer to connect to the wifi. 

I went in for the pot luck, I did not make any food as I have felt sick since Sunday and did not want to share anything if I have it.  The outboard did not start and so I rowed.  Sea Star offered me a tow, but I declined, I have to be really annoyed with the engine to do anything about it.  Rassy and Lorigray told me to swap the engine for a 2 stroke which would be lighter.  After rowing back I was seriously going to find out prices tomorrow.


Alize are berthed in Lagoon Marina and went and checked on Gui, he hopes to be out after lunch.  I feel better and so I cooked bread, and cakes and cookies just to keep my mind off the autopilot.  Gui did come, in a borrowed dinghy, just to confirm what I have to do, but he wants me in the lagoon to fit it on Saturday.  It will be nearer to his workshop and less rolly.  I will check out the bridge procedures tomorrow and see whether I can get on a dock for a few hours.

I fixed the compass under the table and ran the wire up the mast support, made a small hole in the ceiling and eventually managed to get the wire down between the ceiling gap and along behind  the wall to the electric box.  The control box I have screwed on next to the electric box.  The remote is next to the control box, but will need a hole to flush mount the socket.  The remote should reach out into the cockpit if I want to steer from under the sprayhood out of the weather and forwards out the forehatch so that I can stand on the bow and steer my way through reefs and shallow anchorages.  I have run the power cable from the binnacle, through the transom, along the cockpit locker, behind the bathroom and up into the electric box.  The cable was not quite long enough and either we will extend it or I half expect that we could just use the original power cable, but  I had to get the signal cable the same way anyhow.  The instrument I cannot do anything with until the hole is cut to mount it in the binnacle.  The wheel fixture I have drilled the holes for the fixings, but cannot fit it without the hole for the motor and I cannot take the wheel off if I am going to move the boat.   This all took several hours of frustration and mess making, but it should have saved me lots of chargeable hours and I have left mousing string everywhere I have been.  Gui should only really have to deal with the rudder sensor which means making a custom fit bracket, that is going to take the time and hopefully it will all be finished on Saturday.  It is not just the money, it is getting Gui that is the problem.  I am grateful and aware that he is fitting me in between other jobs that have been waiting for him, so I try not to rant at him too much for not dealing with it.

This calls for a shower and a DVD and an early night.


I went in early and paid my overdue fees, I was going to pay when I checked out, but was told I should have been paying as I went along.  I had to pay the bridge fee, but it is only $10 for a small boat.  The fee for an unscheduled opening is now $1000.  They are certainly trying to amass their Enlarge the Bridge Fund. 

Then I went over to Gui and told him that I would be outside his workshop in the lagoon and to see if he could talk the yacht charter company or the other yard if we could get on the dock for a few hours.  Evidently Gui is Brazillian, I was told he was Iranian, he certainly doesn’t look Brazillian; that explains his incomprehensible conversations with his assistant, Ramon.

I had to get ready for the bridge.  All the yachties gather on the deck of the yacht club on Friday to cheer the 5.30 boats in.  Michelle from Alhambra took a photo for me, she said I did not look happy, which is true; for some reason I found the whole experience rather stressful.  It was very shallow outside the marina and there was a boat on a mooring in a close spot.  People were going to the boat by dinghy and I went over and asked them if they were leaving,they were not.  I later realised that they were  well aground on a sand bank.  They either thought I was crazy or being mean.  The mooring buoy was a fender a little way along, the nice round buoy with a ring on top they were on was in fact marking a shallow spot, they do that a lot here.  I think I found all the sand banks on my way round and anchored in less than 2 metres. 

I went to the yacht club to meet the others, but most of them were sitting at the bar next to my boat.  Alhambra and I went down the strip and on the way back I popped in to the bar where the Manta owners had had a dinner;  Alize and Pirates Hideout were still there.  Then I dinghied back to the boat and spent the night keep checking that I was still moving, I was dreading becoming stuck when the tide dropped.


I was still floating in the morning and was able to raft up with a big party charter cat that is being kitted out before going to ply its trade in Barbados.  They were having a new, powerful music system; that always makes them popular with yachties when they descend on nice quiet anchorages.  Boaters Midnight is 9pm, but holidaymakers stay up much later than this.

I had to be patient and wait, a lot longer than the 30 minutes for Gui and Andy did not finish until 3 on the other boat and went home.  The idea of being on the dock was to get the bracket made, Andy never joined us and this was left until last and has now been promised for Monday morning.  All the other parts of the system are in and now I wait and hope.  I then had to go back to my shallow anchorage.

Owen was going over to the French side to see the Grover mob and I hitched a lift.  Owen has a big sturdy fibreglass dinghy, it goes with his job, the equivalent of a works van.  Even I like going fast in this dinghy.  We said hello to Shirley and John and Tim and met Jack.  I was taken to meet a couple who might want a lift to the BVIs, depending on timescales.  We also went and met 8 puppies, they are 4 weeks old and adorable, obviously.  I will go up to the BVIs and the puppy would be ready to leaveits mother when I come back down, so we shall see.  A dog that is brought up on a boat would be used to it, but it is just how big the problem of getting them into the islands would be and what to do if I have to fly back to the UK. 

I had to empty all the contents of the back cabin into the front to have room to work on the rudder, as it is not finished I cannot put it all back yet and so cannot get to my bed.  I will have to move into the back cabin for a couple of nights.

I can see how people get stuck in St Maarten.  I thought  a month was a long time and all I wanted was an autopilot.  There is a guy who has been here for 5 years, and he only came in for fuel and water.


Bluewater Cat came in this morning.  Jimmy has got rid of his beard, and now just has to develop the sun tan on the area.