Tuesday, June 30, 2009

On The Hard in Grenada

In a Hurricane Cradle
St Davids, Grenada
12 01.463'N 061 40.712'W

I spent two weeks in the anchorage off Grenada Marine boat yard where I hauled-out this morning. I am happy to finally be out of the water. The anchorage was rolly, even when the wind stayed easterly. Any wind south of east caused an uncomfortable situation. Two days ago a minor squall came through, and I could tell the anchor had moved, not by much, maybe a foot or two, but any movement at all is cause for concern. A Catamaran completely broke loose and was going to wash up on the beach. An alert Frenchmen blasted his horn until the sleepy sailor came out the hatch blinking. Afterward I moved to a mooring.

Each day while anchored I'd tackled a small prep project to get things situated for haul-out. I've found I'm not one to do everything at once and then take a few days off. Little successes seem to fit me. The hauling process went great. The most difficult portion of the haul-out was backing Christa into the slings. After 11 years of ownership, I am about as expert as one can get with maneuvering a Westsail32. Any boat or ship has limitations. The trick always is to explore the limitation. To explore limitations you have to have boat driving skills in the first place. This is where my time in the Coast Guard has made all the difference. If you can believe it, I found it takes more skill to maneuver Christa at a whooping 39 feet length overall than it did to maneuver Morgenthau at 378 feet. You could actually "walk" Morgenthau sideways with an outboard shaft backing bell and the bowthruster. So with backing Christa into the slings I understood I couldn't do it with out "bumping" into things. So now I just estimated what and where I'd bump and made sure I was able to fend off. Worked like a champ.

The yard folks seem to be really knowledgeable and professional. It can be a little rattling at first, bacause like many places in the Banana Republics, there is junk everywhere. Old cars, engine blocks and trash of all kind strewn about. This always makes me wonder, if they can't bother to clean up, how can you trust they will come through elsewhere. But I've payed attention, checked out the travel lift and some other equipment and as far as I can tell all the equipment is maintained. And, the crew who hauled and placed Christa in the cradle were all business.

First night up on the hard, I quickly learned that with all the short-comings of the anchorage, one advantage was lack of mosquitos. At sunset, as I reveled in the electricity pouring into the batteries and the hum of the refrig, I suddenly noticed the hundreds of mosqitos buzzing around. I closed all hatches, fired up two fans and deployed the Off. I was held at bay until I started blasting away with my can of Raid. I knocked down the sworm and gained the upper hand. I think the word was out as I had no more troubles the rest of the evening.

So this week I'll finish up the jobs that can only be done out of water. I'll get some estimates on a couple of projects for the future so I can budget properly and then blast off next Monday aboard an American Airlines flight bound for Florida.

Capt Chris