A thorough shake down

Mystic of Holyhead (successor to Lynn Rival)
Rachel and Paul Chandler
Wed 25 Dec 2019 21:20
N12:0.6 W061:44.2

We arrived back in Trinidad on Guy Fawkes Day hoping to get Mystic ready for launching by early December.  Apart from all the usual pre-season checks and maintenance, we had a number of small projects to carry out so this was a bit optimistic.  The hot and humid climate in Trinidad is very tiring and at this time of year it rains a lot too.  We installed a big fan and rose at dawn to take advantage of the morning cool, but stormy weather often slowed our progress.

I'm sure a new hob wasn't on the list, but the plumber managed to find time to install it.

Finally we launched on Friday,13th - and picked up a mooring off the boatyard - expecting to set sail within a few days.  The weather forecast didn't look too bad but locals were telling us to wait until the seas had calmed down a bit.  "It's the full moon" they said ominously.

By Thursday 19th we were itching to go so set off knowing that it would be a hard slog for the first few hours while we made our way east along the north coast of Trinidad.  The reason for doing so is to avoid getting close to Venezuelan waters, where there's a risk of attack.  It was slow going as we motored into the wind and seas, accompanied by a school of dolphins who were leaping around as if on a Sunday outing.  By dark we'd had enough of motoring and set sail as close to the wind as possible.  The seas were truly horrible and Mystic was being bounced and shaken like we'd never experienced before.  To make matters worse the prevailing easterly wind wind had more north in it than forecast - pushing us westwards.  We tacked but still gained little ground against wind and current. 

Not long before dawn Paul realised there was something wrong with the rigging.  One of the lower spreaders had dropped.  He used a spare halyard to provide extra support to the mast, enabling us to continue sailing.  As if that wasn't enough, 2 of the 3 starboard pushpit fixings broke requiring yet more temporary lashing.  By this time the seas were improving a bit but we decided to head for Grenada where we should be able to get the help we needed.   

A severe case of spreader droop - a result of repeated violent vertical accelerations.

On Friday afternoon we limped into Clarkes Court Bay and anchored close to the boatyard we'd used 3 years before.  The following morning we dinghied ashore wondering what we'd find open.  We found a haul out going on and the crane driver sent us to the boatyard bar/restaurant, which was open for breakfast.  It turned out that the manager also runs the welding shop.  To our great relief he promised to fix the pushpit before Christmas.  All we had to do was extract it from the boat - removing anchor, liferaft and antenna pole supports - and take it ashore.

The rigging problem involved numerous trips up the mast, a lot of pushing and shoving and the installation of clamps at the end of the spreaders, but Paul was happy to be able to put it right without calling on the services of a 'professional' rigger..