Boat on the hard

Dick and Irene Craig
Sun 1 May 2011 23:12
The night before we departed Antigua, Caroline, Igor, Mia and Neil, the guy who owns the boat on which the others live, came on board for a barbecue supper.
Neil is currently staying on his boat, having flown over from California a couple of days previously. Both he and Igor will be flying to St. Barts on Friday, to take part in a race.
We left the anchorage around 6.30 on the morning of the 25th April and set sail for Grenada.
What a passage! If we didnât feel as though we had done sufficient sailing for the foreseeable future, this trip would have made up our mind. I know that we have sailed with wind exceeding force 8 while circumnavigating but the wind was on a broad reach, not a close reach and what a tremendous difference that makes.
The sea was huge and we sailed all the way, never more than a beam reach, then only because we were trying to spill the wind. Most of the time there were two reefs in the main and two reefs in the genoa.
Sailing around the west coast of Grenada in the dark was nothing but an act of faith. I could read the chart plotter and see that we should be safe but the lights were so confusing that at times I wondered.
We finally anchored in St Davids Bay around 7.30 on the morning of the 27th after a passage of 49 hours, at least 5 hours earlier than we had anticipated before we left Antigua. We both had some breakfast before retiring to bed for some much needed sleep.
After lunch, Dick went ashore and completed the checking in formalities. We had to buy a cruising permit even though we wouldnât be sailing again until December.
Michael and Barbara from Basia are still in Grenada, awaiting the estimate of the cost for repairing their catamaran. A most frustrating time for them, they donât know whether to put the boat contents into storage or whether to have them shipped to their home in Canada. The insurance company wonât be able to decide whether to write-off the boat or whether to repair it, until they know what sort of costs are involved. Meanwhile, the couple whose boat was hit by a freighter spend some days on the boat and their evenings in the hotel. One just doesnât think of all these little extra complications when taking out insurance cover.
It seems that Grenada, like Fiji, has two seasons, a wet season and a very wet season. We appear to be on the cusp, before it really starts to rain. Forget what you learnt at school about a wet and a dry season, the reality appears to be different, which is why the country is so green and lush. Apparently, this time last year there was a tremendous shortage of water.
Our experience has been that at this time of the year it rains at least once every 24 hours, though this has often been at night, which helps to wash the salt from the boat.
Although we were booked to be lifted out of the water at 10.30 on the 29th, the marina called us on the VHF soon after 9am and asked us to make way to the lifting bay as soon as possible. Nonetheless, it was 12.30 before the hulls had been hosed off and Tucanon was supported on cradles, on the hard.
Because of the delay in getting the boat to the plot where it will spend the hurricane season, I was fortunate enough to see some of the repeats of the royal wedding which had taken place some hours previously in the UK.
We pottered about on the boat after lunch and then at 5pm the courtesy car collected us and took us to the hotel where we ate supper and then retired to our room for an early night.
Although my sleep did not suffer from the noise of the cicadas or the crashing of the waves on the beach, not to mention the sound of the torrential rain, Dick did not sleep very well. This is unusual as I am the one that generally has trouble sleeping. However, when the dog started to bark at 7am I was disturbed and we both gave up any pretence of sleeping, finally resorting to reading our books until it was time to get out of bed.
Taking advantage of the courtesy car, we went back to the marina, more a boatyard really, and spent our time sorting out the boat in readiness for the hurricane season then, at 5pm we were collected and returned to the hotel to rest our weary bones. Dickâs back is really playing up. It hasnât been in brilliant condition for 40years but all the bending, not to mention squeezing himself into impossibly small apertures, hasnât done anything to help it; he is walking along with a very bent back which makes him look even older than me and he is supposed to be my toy boy!
Washing and drying ropes is a bit of a farce. No sooner is the boat festooned with ropes hung up to dry, than we get a cloudburst and I have to quickly collect up those which are nearly dry, putting them out again once the rain stops.
Richard, a friend who is staying in our house in Spain, emailed us a couple of days ago to tell us that there is a leak from the master bathroom, flooding the sitting room below. All is not lost, a plumber has made a couple of holes in the barrel ceiling and more holes in the tiles on the bathroom floor in an attempt to identify the source of the leak. Last heard, the plumber had to come back on the second day to try to find the leak. We have informed the insurance company and I guess that either they will have to pay for a new bathroom, or we will.
The food at La Sagesse is excellent and helps to compensate for the labors of the day.