18 Sep – 17 Oct 2014: Secret Harbour Marina, Grenada – 12.00N 61.45E
We always knew that by extending our stay in England an extra 3 weeks to finish off the renovations there, it would eat away into the time at this end needed to prepare Balvenie for another cruising season. And this season will be a long one as it is farewell to the Caribbean as we slip through the Panama Canal and finally into our home waters, the Pacific Ocean.
So on day one back on board it was straight into the boat projects, no rest for the wicked. The dreaded “To Do List” was compiled and we hit the ground running. First up it was the boom, for years it has needed some attention but this is the first time we have ever removed the mainsail, so at last it made it to the top of the list.
A thorough scraping and sanding of old flaky paint was undertaken by skipper in the scorching sun. With temperatures in the low 30c’s combined with humidity over 95 per cent it was exceptionally hot work, and we were starting at dawn to make the most of the coolest part of the day! Next came the priming, unfortunately we could only get a rusty red colour which really looked terrible, but the two layers of top coat had it gleaming white again in no time.
Next up for skipper it was the emptying and cleaning out of the fuel tanks, last done in Malta a few years ago now, so it was time to have a look inside to see what baddies might be lurking, ready to block the filters at an inopportune time. Always nice to have our bed folded in half and have the smell of diesel permeate throughout, the joys of sleeping on top of diesel tanks.
Meanwhile I had all those jars of marmite, packets of teabags and other goodies we had brought back to stow, food lockers to sort out, inventories to update and a major clean out of “stuff” ensued. With a scheduled boat jumble looming I saw it as as good opportunity to rid ourselves of all those things we thought we might just need – but haven’t so far!! So off they went.
With sparkly clean fuel tanks skipper then changed all the fuel and air filters and did oil changes on both the engine and generator. With fuel and engine maintenance crossed of “The List” it was time to head back out into the sun. The anchor chain has been checked, topped and tailed, the anchor sanded back and painted with galvanic paint, as was the spare anchor. The bow was masked up, areas needing attention were filled and fared and the process of painting with 3 part Awlgrip paint commenced.
As you might imagine we were rather over painting by now, having done the London flat, then the boom, now the bow, but hey why not just keep on going. The cockpit really did need tidying up too and while we were mixing the Awlgrip up it seemed like just the right time and we are thrilled with decision. It just looks brilliant, and as we spend so much time up there we can admire the fruits of our labour constantly.
At some point the we collected the mainsail, we were extremely unhappy with the work that had been done and had to add a few patches to the batten pockets and do some stitching ourselves, but frankly just couldn’t be bothered with the hassle and expense of complaining and returning it to them (life without a telephone and car is really quite difficult). So we repaired and refitted it, Mark reattached the reefing lines and we begrudgingly crossed it off “The List”.
But we thought about it overnight, we have thousands of miles to cover this season and we want our mainsail in top shape so we emailed our complaint with photos the following morning. We had a response within minutes, two staff arrived within an hour to remove the sail and to return it to the sail loft, they came back later in the day to collect Mark so he could observe what they thought should have originally been done, this was all offered at no cost to us, we asked them to do a couple of extra things which we happily paid for.
They then returned and refitted the sail the following afternoon and apologized profusely for the poor initial work which had been carried out while they were short staffed. The end result is excellent and our mainsail should happily see us across the Pacific. Thanks to Turbulence Marine for getting the job done for us.
A Few More Jobs To Do, A Hurricane To Avoid …. Then We Can Go Sailing!!!