Friday, October 28, 2011

A HARD DAY'S NIGHT


We’ve been struggling with this blog entry. We like to offer a travelogue of sorts – pictures and information about the places we visit. Well – we’ve been a bit stalled in that regard – time in Canada away from the boat, hauling Beach House for evaluation, finding more problems than we’d budgeted for, waiting for parts to be delivered and then waiting some more for the work to be done. Everything takes longer in the islands. It just does.

Here’s the month-by-month, blow-by-blow description of how Beach House spent her summer vacation.

JUNE
Beach House had a little ‘dock-time’ at Jolly Harbour Marina in Antigua while her crew went to Toronto. After this picture was taken, we took down the enclosure, strapped the dinghy to the foredeck, and tripled up the dock lines. She was ready for a big blow, should it happen.
The big blow didn’t happen. Thankfully.

We spent three weeks visiting family and friends, renewing passports, shopping, and getting the camera repaired – so alas, not many pictures. But there was one notable day when we did have the camera. After some sightseeing in Bruce County, Kim and Terry took us to one of the marinas in Owen Sound for a peek at our first keelboat – Quinkin.
She looked pretty happy there, not missing us at all. Hope she continues to win races.

JULY
Geoff returned to Antigua, leaving the Admiral in Toronto to work for a few more months to stoke the cruising kitty. Neither of us realized at that point just how many dinero that Beach House would swallow up over the summer. Hungry, hungry boat.

The captain’s single-handed trek back to Grenada began with an overnight stop in Deshaies, Guadeloupe and then a sunrise departure.

Look at this - life jacket on, shirt and hat to be protected from the sun, and, learning to take pictures of himself. Almost sounds like multi-tasking.
By the way. The blog photographer’s secret? Hold the camera upside down while taking your own picture – avoids fingers in front of the lens. Who knew?

Geoff spent the next night in The Saintes at the southern end of Guadeloupe. The anchorage just off Bourg des Saintes is now awash with mooring balls, added so recently that there wasn’t a plan in place to collect a fee for them. Suspect that’s been sorted out.

Next stop was the anchorage off Portsmouth, Dominica and another beautiful sunrise departure.

This next picture was taken for my benefit I suspect, so I would have proof that the captain used the safety harness even in the cockpit, not just if he had to go on deck. The insurance company needs a body, doncha know.

When Geoff arrived in Bequia, he was tired - the early morning starts, being on the move all day, doing it solo – he was ready for a bit of a break. On the third morning of his R and R in Bequia, the captain had an adventure and tells the story:

“Lots of fun at 5 am, when Bruce came unstuck and Beach House started sliding backwards and sideways towards other anchored boats. Good old Carl burst to life at first push of the starter switch and we made it safely away to the other side of the anchorage. Nothing like starting the day off with an adrenaline rush! Who need’s coffee?”

This was the first dragging incident for Beach House since leaving Toronto in 2008, but surely won’t be the last. It happens.

Geoff took Beach House over 350 miles from Antigua to Grenada in a leisurely 12 days, alone and in one piece. Well done.

AUGUST
The original plan was to haul Beach House at Grenada Marine, have a survey done, strip the bottom and repaint, check out some hairline cracks in the fiberglass, and change out the cutlass bearing (we had a spare). We had been calling 2011 “The Year of the Boat”, expecting to spend several fat boat units on general maintenance. Surprises awaited.

The haul out was uneventful.

Our friend Ray, from s/v Nighthawk, came to inspect the fiberglass cracks and discovered a further issue - unmistakable signs of electrolysis – damage caused by ungrounded electricity. This can happen to boats that spend their lives at the dock and it’s possible the electrolysis started early on in BH’s life. There’s no real answer to the when or the why. More about the electrolysis shortly.

Ray started in on the fiberglass cracks - they were caused by air bubbles in the original construction. The air pockets in the fiberglass were weak spots that ultimately showed as cracks. Ray ground them down, laid up some fiberglass, then matched the white of the hull and the blue of the boot stripe.
Nice work, Ray. That’s what friends are for. And I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – everybody loves Raymond.
By the way, the white spots below the waterline will be covered with bottom paint when we get to that stage.

The prop removal to get at the cutlass bearing didn’t go as smoothly as expected. Geoff and the yard crew made several attempts to remove it.
Success came with a problem. While removing the prop shaft, the coupling to the gearbox broke. The new cutlass bearing went in smoothly but it took a week for the replacement coupling to show up. Paying for an unexpected part is one thing – paying for additional time in the yard while waiting for it? Ouch.

The surveyor, Bob Goodchild, poked and prodded Beach House and pronounced her pretty fit for a 26 year old boat, but he was in agreement with our buddy Ray, the guys in the yard, and the captain himself - the electrolysis damage to the rudder shaft had to be dealt with – a new rudder was the only fix.

Geoff’s research into a new rudder brought some good news. The company that made the rudders for the Endeavour 42s was still in business and still had the mold. It wasn’t going to be cheap to have one made in Florida and shipped to Grenada, but it was much better than having one fabricated in the islands. The cost and time to do it down here was exponentially greater - $$$$$$$$$ rather than $$$. I’m not sure that’s mathematically sound, but you get the drift.

The through hulls have suffered corrosion from the electrolysis as well and still have to be inspected and dealt with. Another boat unit bites the dust?

SEPTEMBER
Due to cost factors at Grenada Marine, Geoff decided to move Beach House up to Carriacou and use the services of Tyrrel Bay Yacht Haulout. He hauled the boat to remove the rudder and take a few additional measurements requested by the rudder manufacturer in Florida.

Beach House was then towed, rudderless, to a mooring ball in Tyrrel Bay.

 
So far, so good. The captain ordered the rudder from Florida and hunkered down to wait.

A week later, Geoff was having his own quiet happy hour in the cockpit, watching the wind pick up and switch to the west, an unexpected about face from the usual eastern trade winds. Beach House dances quite a bit at anchor or on a mooring – the captain watched her swing all the way to port, waiting for the swing back to starboard. Didn’t happen. Beach House kept going. The mooring had given way. Geoff let the anchorage know on the VHF that Beach House was adrift without a rudder, then went forward to drop the anchor. It caught on another boat’s mooring, but not before both boats had incurred some damage. Our boat name on the port bow took quite a beating and the spare anchor hangers were bent – minor ‘injuries’ to the boat, given the possibilities.
The other boat suffered a bent stanchion and broken lifeline. The owners are still away and the yard is handling the ‘flow of information’. We’ve heard nothing yet.

 
A week later, I returned from the big city. The last leg of my journey home to Beach House was on this eight-seater, certainly the smallest plane I’ve ever flown on, and the flight was the shortest in my experience – all of 20 minutes in the air from Grenada to Carriacou.
I was the only passenger with a crew of two.
Lah-di-dah – a private flight.

Hurricane season isn’t officially over yet, so there isn’t a full complement of cruisers here in Tyrrel Bay. That will change over the next month. In the meantime, we’ve enjoyed some lovely visits with some lovely friends.

Rene and Cheryl from s/v Gypsy Blues came over to Beach House for happy hour, joined by John and Shirley from s/v More Gin.

And another day we walked to Paradise Beach with John and Shirley for lunch at the Hardwood Bar and Snacket. Check out the sign for a clue to the name.

OCTOBER
So here we are with summer gone and October slipping away, getting to know Carriacou better than we ever expected. The quiet village of Harvey Vale circles the anchorage here in Tyrrel Bay. There are several modest grocery stores and most days, Denise is at her roadside kiosk, with bananas and eggs, grapefruit and tomatoes. On Saturday mornings, Lucy offers her veggies under the tree by the commercial dock, and Rufus specializes in wonderful herbs just down the road – fresh basil, thyme, and chadon beni. Once a week, we take the bus into the capital, Hillsborough, for the bits of shopping we can’t find here. It’s all good.

And Hallelujah, stop the presses! This just in. The new rudder has cleared customs in Grenada and will arrive here in Carriacou on Saturday, just in time for Geoff’s birthday. Could he ask for a better present?

2 comments:

  1. 'Fine Line'October 30, 2011 at 8:37 PM

    Must be happy to have all that behind you!! On to another great year of wondering the Caribbean.

    ReplyDelete