Thursday 31 January, St.Maarten day 4: First day home-alone. Boys will be boys, marine jobs and marine toy shops.
The 7:30am alarm didn’t work. Slept right through it. Finally made it to FKG at 9:30. Oooph, getting ones own breakfast then having to wash up… takes time!
At FKG the ugly truth of the vang is revealed. The piston rod looks OK by the metal gland it passes through is scratched. This explains the oil leak. Wonder how the last 2 services in Martinique and Antigua didn’t spot this? Given the parts needed, ideally I would have a new vang, but the assembly and delivery time will be 2 months from Reckmann in Germany. Apparently even if they had one “on the shelf” it’s 2 weeks to dispatch it. 2 weeks? Germany? Really? I’m sure I could order a BMW quicker. Not that I’d be seen dead joining the ranks of macho BMW drivers!
Back to subject … FKG have another almost-new vang the same model as ours, which they offer to me for about 1/3 the price of a new one. So I take the offer. Best to change the whole damned thing. Ours has had enough chances. It will be RIP for that one.
While at FKG I arrange to use their dock tomorrow. They will also renew 2 hydraulic hoses which feed the cutter furler. The current ones are slightly too long and have become kinked. While conveniently docked I will also have the 3 refrigeration systems vacuumed and refilled. After our Antigua yard video, lots of watchers commented that the system should have been vacuumed before refilling. So I take their advice, especially as 2 of the viewers were experienced refrigeration engineers.
Next stop is Budget Marine, a sailing boys toy shop! But don’t get confused with the name … the only “budget” about it is that they clearly budget to make a lot of profit on everything! Whilst it is fantastically stocked, the prices are high. It takes me 2 full hours to wander around at make a list of all the toys I “need” to buy 🙂
From there I take the dinghy across to the other side, and dock at the St. Maarten Yacht Club. Several hire car shops show that the prices here are very reasonable. I’ll take a car for 3 days next week and as directed by the boss, explore the island so I know all the good places to take her when she returns to paradise.
Talking of the boss: Oana had a rather troubled flight on AirChance. Not only did it depart 4 hours late (so she missed her connection in Paris) but they also had a medical emergency en-route and had to land at a military airport in the Azores. This 2 hours stop meant she also missed the next connection to Bucharest. She finally arrived home at 9pm … almost 24 hours traveling. Poor her. Well, at least she won’t be pleading to cross the Atlantic just to see the Azores!
Now that she is home she will be happy: a bath, a motionless bed, no lapping on the stern, no mosquitos and no snoring! But no goodnight kisses either!
Back to St. Maarten. I deliver our dive tanks to be re-certified (pressure tested) and filled. Then notice that the dock I’m to use tomorrow is already free. It’s 5pm. So I make a dash to the boat and prepare for the move before darkness falls. Better to be there tonight than in the morning if I can. It feels odd lifting the anchor and moving by myself. But by 5:40pm I am approaching the dock single handed with all lines ready to jump off with and secure. I’ve never done that alone before! But I need not have worried, 3 guys were there to help me.
The dock is right next to Lagoonies bar but I was just a bit late for happy hour. Mainly because the rigging guys were all over the boat looking at the rig. Apparently there had been a lot of discussion how our vang got damaged. They comment that the boom goose neck maybe an issue – the boom can twist one way or another quite a lot. Nice to see the team so engaged. Let’s hope they are tomorrow too!
So I’ll remove the boom while I’m here and let them have a good look at it and see what can be done to make it tighter. It looks like their workshop could manufacture and fix just about anything. It’s the best I’ve ever seen.
I skip the temptation of drinks at Lagoonies and instead prepare the area around the fridge units, defrost one fridge then set about removing the hydraulic hoses on deck. Of course, I forgot that to remove the hoses I have to lift the hydraulic Furlex unit …. and that means I need to take the sail down first. Bummer! So down it comes. And doing it by myself it just ends up in a heap on the deck and I loosely tie it to the life lines. Oana would die seeing it like that! Soon after, the hoses are off and the boom supported ready to disengage the gooseneck in the morning. By midnight all is ready.
It will be a day of action tomorrow! (hopefully!)