June 18th, 2023
After arriving in Grenada last week, a bit earlier than planned, we got started putting the boat to bed.
[Note that I just can’t write enough or show enough pictures. There is an active underwater volcano just North of Grenada , called ‘Kick ’em Jenny’, and while we passed it, but not too close, there were whales breaching over the volcano. We couldn’t get pictures, but it was amazing to see!]
With my issues with kidney stones the first few days were a bit of a write off, but since then we have been cleaning, clearing things out of the boat and putting a plan together for the summer.
Home Free spent a decade in the heat of Corfu Greece, but always under the care and attention of her caretaker, Thanasis, and I believe always in the water. Here we will lift the boat out of the water due to the possibility of a hurricane and we have to find a lot of service people in a completely new country and not necessarily in a boating heaven.
Greece is perhaps one of the biggest centers of marine activity in the world, commercial shipping makes up a large part of the economy and the yachting world is significant as well. You can find almost anything and the level of service is very high. Grenada has a lot of boating but the typical boat here is probably a 50′ catamaran. The service and skills are different.
We are cleaning down all surfaces, getting rid of any food packaged in paper and things close to expiration. We are cleaning decks and storage areas and shining stainless all in anticipation of what might happen in the hot and humid tropics while Home Free is out of the water.
Home Free is going to get a lot of love while the boat is out of the water as well. With thanks to Malcolm aboard N55 Solway Coast, we are engaging ‘Wes’ here in Grenada whose work has been highly appreciated, and further he will also help by keeping our other service people in line!
We have plans to do the following work:
- Fixing fiberglass work throughout the boat, including the engine room, removing old boat lifts off the port side boat deck, cracks in the gelcoat and repairs to the non-skid deck. There is some poorly completed areas from prior service work which we will entrust to Wes to make right.
- We are going to get a stainless steel frame for the flybridge which will allow for a more permanent cover that offers us more protection from the elements and allow us to put up solar panels, a permanent Starlink antenna and allowing wiring and mounting options for lights.
- We will get a new ‘canvas’ covers for the dinghy and for the flybridge. As well, we will get a shade made for the stern cockpit and some fitted covers for the tables in the salon and pilothouse. As well, likely new cushions for the flybridge setee.
- In the fall when I return to the boat, we will get the bottom done, props cleaned and more mechanical projects
A lot of thought has gone into all of this, but it is still weird. In Canada, with our Beneteau 40 sailboat, we pulled the boat out of the water (most years) and knew exactly what to do and you develop the relationships with the people who help with the necessary tasks. Now, in a strange country, it will be the first time Home Free has been out of the water for more than a few days, in a strange place, with unknown service people. There is a real risk that, despite all of the planning, you pick the wrong service guy, or don’t specify things correctly, or the weather, or bugs, or the boat next to you (etc.) confound all your planning and you come back to something bad/wrong.
Still we move on.
One of the notable changes is that we have finally decided to eliminate the protective sides on the flybridge. They are looking a bit worn and they no longer serve a practical purpose. Originally these covers (including on the boat deck) were put there to keep Freddie, the previous owner’s son, on board. Freddie is now 18 years old and in college so even if he were aboard, he wouldn’t need them.
I refer to these pictures as ‘Home Free Naked’. These ribbons of blue around the decks made the boat stand out, but also made cleaning harder and we have decided to go without them since their practical purpose isn’t important anymore.
Funny enough the larger 6-person life raft which we added for the Atlantic crossing that didn’t happen will also probably be removed and replaced with a smaller life raft in the fall too.
There will be a lot of changes by the fall when we come back to move onto our next stage. Usability will be a key factor.
To be sure it hasn’t been all work and no play. Here are a few interesting photos and a video. The overwhelming thing from all of these adventures is that the world is an amazing place with a lot to see and do. We miss a lot of it because we have other work to do, or because we focus on things that we like to do (I ride a bike, Jinhee cooks), but there are so many interesting things out here.
At Rodney Bay (St. Lucia) Jinhee decided to take us on an easy hike. It wasn’t easy, it was straight up for 30 minutes. It was an invigorating walk, but the view was worth it.
Despite the mess that is often left by the brown boobies when they are hunting (fishing?) around the boat, I love to watch them. They get really close, they watch us, they look for fish and they dance in the air until they find an appropriate target. It is really enthralling to watch. The video below shows the end of that dance.