Safena Log Oct 31st - Nov 9th 2019, "Relaunching after hurricane season"

s/v Safena's blog
Simon Ashley
Sat 16 Nov 2019 11:37
After what seemed like an incredibly quick summer, we flew back to Curacao via Miami.  We decided to hire a car and stay in a resort hotel while Safena remained on the hard.  We are so glad we did!  “Life on the hard is hard!” as they say.

We drove to the yard. With a considerable sense of intrepidation wondering how she had faired over the hurricane season, we saw Safena on stands in the yard for the first time in over 5 months.  She had undergone repairs since damaged by the incident with the French yacht in Dominica last March, some of which were still in progress.  It was great to see the port topsides looking new once again with gelcoat repaired and new vinyl wrap.

It was late in the day and we decided not to go aboard until the next day.  Instead we were greeted by Peter and Simone who kindly welcomed us aboard a lovely air-conditioned La Boheme for bubbles and nibbles.

For the next few days it was early starts to get as much work done as possible before it became too hot.  It was incredibly hot from about 1100 to 1600, virtually impossible to work in especially with no shade.  Although she appeared in good order, we felt initially demoralised by the scale of tasks ahead of us. The decks were black with dust and yard dirt and we initially set about cleaning outside just so we could start working on her.  Everything appeared fine inside though which was a great relief! No mould and no bugs!

Other than cleaning and re-positioning all the running rigging (we had placed messenger lines to prevent UV damage) there was a limit to what we could accomplish before she was put back in the water.  We refitted the socket for the gangway with through-bolts.  We removed any remaining barnacles from the bottom following pressure washing and polished all the through hull fittings.  The antifouling was still in good order as this had been done in St. Lucia only about 3 months before she was lifted. I supervised several items of work - new anodes on the Gori prop (prop had been serviced and new cutlass bearing fitted), fitting of new stainless stem shield, new stanchions and guard-rails on port side and reattachment of forestay (removed in order to replace bow roller) and re-tensioning of rigging.  This all took time.  We rested back at the resort during the afternoon and then returned to the yacht at around 4pm to do more work.

On Friday evening there was a BBQ at the tiki for the cruisers.  It was amazing just how much interest there was in Safena which had enjoyed a prime position on stands at the entrance to the yard and looked beautiful under the floodlights at night!

Launch day was 5th November.  What a joy it was to see Safena going back into the water with Curacao Marine’s amazing trolley system!  The engine started with the first push of the button, bow thruster on, and we moved her onto the berth no problems at all.  Plugged into power, fresh water, air-conditioning etc.  We could spend our first night aboard in months.  Suddenly life was looking up!  The number of jobs left to do, however, was massive and boy was it hard, much harder than we imagined, not least of which was the absolutely unrelenting, searing heat!

We also used the time with the car to visit the chandleries and supermarkets in order to re-provision.

Over the next 4 days we got Safena ready to start sailing again.  Bimini and spray hood refitted (finally some shade!), cockpit cushions refitted, anchor back on, stay sail and genoa hoisted, new topping lift run, rigging check by rigger, main engine and generator serviced by MRC marine who were excellent, davit line repaired and RIB cleaned and put back on davits etc. cleaning more cleaning and much much more!  Totally and utterly exhausting!

Unfortunately the Raymarine wind transducer has gone wrong again!  Will almost certainly need another replacement but this won’t be possible until we get to Antigua.  Also, we had a problem with one of the hinges on the companionway steps (engine hatch) becoming loose due to screws stripping.  This was repaired with the assistance of Pedro, the carpenter, who replaced all the screws with much longer ones after we removed the steps (it was a PITA though!).

We are grateful to Gareth and all the staff at Curacao Marine who have been extremely helpful.

All that remained is for us to clear out through Customs and Immigration.  We walked into Willemstad to do this and rewarded ourselves with lunch next to the water overlooking the swing bridge where we had the best beef quesadillas ever!  Now we were ready to set sail north east.