The boat is launched

Dick and Irene Craig
Thu 15 Dec 2011 13:08

Our hotel, the same one we stayed at last May, is on the beach, ten minutes drive from the boatyard. A member of staff kindly drives us between the two locations, morning and evening.

The yard is a real mess. The manager and the project manager have both left the company and the owner, who is not at all technical, has employed temporarily, a South African guy who had retired but has returned to work for a while, in order to attempt to sort out the mess.

The yard is a little gold mine, more so since the curfew was imposed in Trinidad but on the face of it, it seems that none of the money the owner is earning is being ploughed back into the business. There are muddy ruts and water filled holes everywhere, all of which need filling with hard core. A dumper truck is doing its best to squash down the mud which has made it better but a lot more needs to be done. There is an inadequate water supply and often, for most of the day, we have no water. Although the toilet flushes most of the time, there is not always water available from the tap for washing hands. I have given up even trying to use either of the two washing machines; they are always occupied with bags of washing standing by, waiting for a free machine. The shortage of water often delays the time it takes for a machine to wash a load. I will wait until we are launched and use the on board facilities.

Other than servicing the engines and generator, as well as putting anti- humidifying crystals in the boat, nothing positive had been done during our absence and although we were scheduled to be launched on Tuesday, 6th December, it didn’t happen. What had occurred was that the furniture in our hull had been damaged by what was possibly fluid from one of the dehumidifiers. There was some mold in our hull, mainly in our shower room and also where the books are stored as well as the bow cabin in the other hull. Most of the mold was outside and sadly the silicon at the bottom of the salon windows and at the edge of the decks has black specks on it which I have been unable to remove. Somehow, a slatted cover over one of the generator ventilators had been smashed. The anchor chain hadn’t been flaked out as requested and had become a rusty heap and a couple of reefing lines hadn’t been put away and had become black with mold.

The yard took responsibility for the damaged furniture and repaired it but it won’t ever be as smart as it was. The lines were washed and put back into service.

It is such a shame; among the workforce are some skilled people but without decent management they have had no guidance.

David and Susan and John and Jenny have already had their boats put back in the water and Tzigane, John and Jenny’s boat arrived in St Lucia to help out at the ARC (Atlantic rally for cruisers) finish line on the 6th. They had lots of problems with their generator and one of their toilets and although living on board, couldn’t put anything away while the problems were being addressed. David and Susan had a lot of mold in their boat but have been very pragmatic about all the jobs that need to be done and will deal with them as they go along. We have also decided that is the way to go and don’t intend to overdo things by having to have everything in a pristine condition from launch day. As long as the boat is safe, aesthetics can wait.

On Friday, the day after our arrival in Grenada, we went to the boatyard for the first time this visit. During the afternoon, a fruit and vegetable van arrived and I was able to buy some provisions to keep us going until Monday when it was due to come again. Unfortunately, although the van did arrive, it didn’t actually come to the part of the yard where we were located so I didn’t obtain fresh fruit. Fortunately, I do have a number of cans of fruit of various types which do need to be consumed so at breakfast, on the boat, I added tinned apricots to my muesli instead of fresh mango and bananas.

We were the last boat to be launched late afternoon, 7th December, only one day later than scheduled. Because it was dark by the time the problem with the engine was rectified, we spent the night in the loading dock and moved the following morning to an adjacent pontoon, where the outstanding jobs were completed; moving from there mid morning to pick up a mooring buoy and check that everything was working as it should.

At 3pm we left the bay to make passage to Rodney Bay, St Lucia. There was insufficient wind to sail but we did manage to motor sail from time to time and completed the trip in 24.5hours, tying on a pontoon reserved for super yachts, next to a large and a small police boat.

At 10am on Sunday morning, we were tied onto a buoy in the bay, manning the ARC finish line. Over a 24hour period, we welcomed in seventeen boats which had completed the Atlantic crossing and reached the finish line.

It was an exhilarating experience, reminding us of how excited and emotional we had felt, when we completed the crossing in 2009. It also gave us an insight into the workings of WCC (World Cruising Club) and demonstrated to us what an efficiently run, seamless organization this is.

Monday, with the help of Thomas, from whom we purchased both of our parasailors, Dick checked out a second hand parasailor for Graham from Eowyn; he had planned to be here to do the job himself but unfortunately was still in Grenada, his wife Chris being quite incapacitated with sciatica and unable to even get onto their boat.

That evening, we had drinks on our boat and shared a home-made curry, with John and Jenny from Tzigane. Friends we had met in Bali, while circumnavigating and whom we visited near Cognac country in France at the end of October.

Tuesday, the night of Rodney Marine manager’s party, we did our second stint on the finish line anticipating that all boats scheduled for arrival before Wednesday afternoon, would have arrived before 7pm. During the afternoon, getting an update on ETA from ARC office, Dick was told that the two of the three boats due that day would arrive around 9pm and the third about midnight. Ten minutes later Dick was advised that the time quoted had not been local time but UT, four hours ahead. Good joke!