It rained on our parade

Dick and Irene Craig
Sun 17 Apr 2011 16:14

Sorting through the boat cleaning products, it was possible to throw away a bucket full of rubbish making room for 5litres of heavy duty boat cleaner, purchased while in Durban. The original container had been squeezed into the generator locker and pressure had broken the screw top, causing the very expensive contents to escape and damage other items. Decanting it into two smaller vessels did the trick.
We found Clarks Court Bay yachting community to be very friendly and accommodating but it was time to move on so, after returning to the boat from the Tuesday mini bus trip to the mall, we departed.
It was pouring with rain on the morning of the 12th April which didnât bode well for a shopping trip, less so for the five mile passage round to the bay where Grenada marina is located and where we were headed.
It was impossible to hear the weather forecast on the 7.30am net. The atmospherics had smothered the broadcast, although one could still hear announcements from as far away as Port Louis.
It was still raining when we climbed into the mini bus. Being Tuesday, the driver/owner was Shademan and he took us to a hardware shop, then a chandlery, next to the mall for those who wanted to get an early start with their shopping, while he went up to Island Water World, another chandlery, posting my postcards at the Post Office next door. He then returned to the mall and dropped off the rest of the passengers.
We were just ordering some coffee when the drivers mate told us that the mini bus was ready to take the first load of passengers and shopping, back to the marina. We cancelled the coffee, eager to return to Tucanon and set sail. En-route to the marina, we stopped at a cash and carry and then at a cafà to get some takeaway food for lunch.
It was after 13.30 when we finally cast off from the pontoons to make way to Grenada marina where Barbara was waiting near the travel hoist, waving like mad. She had seen us motor into the bay. The short trip of only just over one hour was not comfortable as we crashed into the swell, with the wind blowing 25knots, head on. At least it had stopped raining for the duration and we not only got back to the boat without a cloudburst but even managed to get to our destination without it raining, despite the threatening cloud.
Although the Customs and Immigration people are supposed to be at the boatyard on Tuesdays, this was obviously a Tuesday when it didnât happen though we were assured that they would be in their office at 10am next morning.
Dick checked us out of Grenada on Wednesday morning, brought Michael and Barbara to the boat and we set sail for St Lucia around 11.30.
The passage was horrendous and with a 25knot wind blowing head on it was necessary to use both engines to make reasonable progress. The boat slammed through the water and poor Barbara started to feel sea-sick despite the patch behind her ear.
Even when the wind came round a little and we were able to unfurl the foresail, the sea remained uncomfortable and the boat continued to slam; it stayed like this until we were well past St Vincent when the wind reduced and the sea became less uncomfortable.
By 9am the sea was much kinder and Barbara was able to eat for the first time since coming on board; she had tried a couple of dry biscuits late afternoon the first day out but they didnât stay down.
As we made way to the pontoon, to tie up alongside, around 3pm, on Thursday 14th April, there was a crowd of WARC participants cheering; the focus of attention was really on Barbara and Michael from the stricken catamaran Basia, but we basked in their reflected glory.
That same afternoon our guests moved onto Destiny, where their two daughters were already ensconced. Anna had traveled from Grenada on Crazy Horse and Cathy had flown in from Texas.
That evening there was a party held shore side in the bar. The food was excellent and the drinks kept coming; another successful evening enjoyed by all.
Friday was Dickâs birthday so we started the day with a cooked English breakfast and before lunching on Voyageur with David and Susan, John and Jenny, the captain was hauled up the mast and changed the damaged VHF aerial. We now have VHF cover up to 20 miles, ship to ship and the AIS coverage has also improved immensely.
After lunch Dick and I checked over the charts and pilot books which we have sold to a participant of WARC 2012/2013; they are being taken back to Spain on Ariane, when they return via ARC Europe.
A sumptuous buffet supper was provided that evening and we all carried on partying.
Next morning the fleet started to leave the marina around 10am and at 10.30 the Parade of sail commenced. There was very little wind and although some boats raised the mainsail and others unfurled the foresail, many didnât use a sail at all. All the boats were dressed overall. Destiny went the extra mile and the boat was festooned with balloons, a number of which became detached and floated behind us in the sea. Everyone used their engine and attempted to stay 50-100metres behind the previous boat. There was a big black cloud hovering over Castris Harbour and as we motored round the bay in an anti-clockwise direction, a few drops of rain fell before the flotilla proceeded onwards to Rodney Bay.
Several local boats joined us as we departed from Montigo Bay and more attached themselves to the flotilla as we left Castris Harbour.
We refueled Tucanon before berthing the boat and joining the rest of the participants at the Broadwalk Bar, for a celebratory drink. Everyone was in party mood after their amazing adventure.
At six oâclock Lady Lisa held a cocktail party and then we were all off, by taxi for the farewell party. Cocktails, wine and beer flowed, the food was excellent and it was 11.30 before the prize giving was over and the fat lady sang.
Not fat at all of course, Bev sung a duet with Bob from Ocean Jasper who also accompanied on a guitar.
A number of us departed and traveled back to the marina by taxi. WARC 2010/2011 was now officially over but not necessarily the relationships we had developed with other participants during the 15 months at sea.
Sunday morning, up before 5.30am, we were thwarted in our attempt to make an early start when the engine controls jammed and Dick had to sort out the problem. Fortunately, being quite a practical guy, within half an hour we were on our way to Antigua to visit my daughter, whom we havenât seen since Christmas 2009, and her 3 month old baby daughter.