Saint Lucia - Sint Maarten - 23rd - 26th April 2015 SHAKEDOWN

Saint Lucia – Sint Maarten
23rd – 26th April 2015

3 days in St. Lucia and we worked very hard while there – the genoa halyard was very difficult to re-wind onto the drum, with all three of us putting our  heads together, Adam and I dismantling the lower drum several times – all of us taking turns to read and attempt to understand why we kept getting it wrong.  Now and again I think that I might be dyslexic, this was one of those times – no matter how many times we re-wound the furling line onto  that drum it was backwards.

Debra and I working on sewing the sun strip back on the genoa

We got it on eventually,  and furled and unfurled it while on our mooring and all seemed well – It wasn’t, it plagued us throughout the rest of the trip – we were constantly reefing and unreefing it – the unreefing was the problem and I broke another rule I usually adhere to – ‘if you have to
use brute force to make something work, something’s obviously wrong and you have to stop what you’re doing and fix it’.  Well when you’re at sea and you need that sail and cannot fix it in the existing conditions go with brute force.  Unfurling the genoa was a joint effort of Adam forcing it to unfurl up on the bowsprit while I cranked it out on the winch using the winch handle.  Thank God it did not break, but the foil is now bent at the point where it always got  stuck.    Later when Adam and I took the sail down to put all the sails away the halyard came
down twisted around the foil.  Hopefully now that I have re-raised the sail without twisting the halyard that problems is over.  Yet to see.
 It was a very expensive stop-over, life raft service, fire extinguisher service, new to me rigid inflatable dinghy,  fuel filters – only 2, should have bought a dozen,  new engine lining material and many spares.
Going back to my log from St. Lucia to Sint Maarten I see that we had to change the primary fuel filter after 28 hours of running time,  so now I’m thinking that it wasn’t in Sint Maarten  we took on the bad fuel but in Bequia where I filled up before leaving.  And that makes more sense as I filled up from the local Daffodil fuel barge.
The 350 odd miles from St. Lucia to Sint Maarten was well and truly a shakedown trip for the 3 of us and MoondancerX.   Debra and Adam were working their  first night watches and were ‘excellently’ obedient crew – observed all the the rules which are vital to me.  No-one leaves the cockpit unless another member is up.  Life jackets on at all times on watch.  If  a ship is within 2 miles of us wake me up even though they both knew how to use the AIS – Automated Identification System, and of course stay awake.  Try to be quiet when below decks so that the sleepers can sleep.  We worked 3 hour watches around the clock, day and night even though we were mostly all awake in daytime hours.

The jenneka flying up front looking lovely

In between grunt work Adam fished, didn’t catch anything, but I’m sure it satisfied his hunter gatherer instincts and made us girls feel like the man was trying to provide for us.
We did fly the jenneka for a few hours, mostly I just wanted to see if I could remember how to put the damn thing up – it had been so long since flying it – last time coming back across the Atlantic – and apparently I didn’t remember how to put it up because I completely ballsed up the first couple of attempts while Debra and Adam watched me in complete bewilderment as they could not understand what I was trying to do – never having see that done before – and I was becoming increasingly frustrated as a couple of times it almost lifted me out of the pulpit.  We got her up eventually and it was a thing of beauty, no faster, but pretty.

Adam, me and Debra at Lagoonies
Adam is an incredible break dancer – too bad didn’t get him on film

We did have some fun in Sint Maarten along with the work, this is us at Lagoonies, a happening bar in the Simpson Bay lagoon – where all the reprobates hang out, good music, good food and the ever necessary Wi-Fi.  Also met people I knew from Tradewinds, they have a base there.
I do, however think the customs and immigration people could put a bit of effort into being nicer to the cruisers, they are up there with the worst


Anonymous said…
Great story
Unknown said…
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