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October, part Two.. A.K.A. November

Sailing = Stress

We returned to Trinidad to find a beautiful boat waiting for us. Our decks are all brilliant white, and our interior floors actually shine they are so perfectly finished. Of course, we started unpacking and the place was a mess, but for a very brief while, it was wonderful.

Work on Roxy continued. Dave the Plumber completed his work on the galley sink and the forward sink and Amos from Perfect Finishes came by regularly to see if he could be helpful (I think he really wanted to make sure that we hadn’t ruined all the beautiful work that he and his team did)*. Chris and his son came by every day and, weather permitting, applied another coat of exterior varnish; at first to the bezels around the hatches, then finally starting on the toe rail that runs along the edge of the deck. (They finished the day we went in the water.) Carlos brought us new cabin cushions that are wonderful - even if they are a little over-stuffed. And so we were almost ready to launch.

Our new batteries finally arrived Tuesday, October 26, our second week in Trinidad. (They were supposed to be there before we arrived.). Mark spent until the following Monday installing them; two days of carpentry to make the battery box fit the house bank (and vic-a-versa), a day of wiring them properly, and then two days of updating and reprogramming the various controllers and system managers. Then one more day installing the two batteries that make up our “starter bank”. We took out six AGM batteries and replaced them with two. Now we have extra storage space for booze.

*While installing the batteries Mark sat on our plastic cooler which scratched the hell out of one floor panel.

We received our dinghy back from the sail and canvas people. Our new “chaps” are beautiful.

Our sails didn’t come back. At first that was fine - there really isn’t any place to store them when we are on the hard and we can’t hoist them since we have a plastic tent over the boat. But the tent came down and still the sails weren’t here. I went to the shop and asked about them, only to learn that they had been stored at the owner’s house (in the living room - I bet his wife LOVED that!) and he had forgotten to bring them. He will bring them Monday. Now it’s Tuesday and we are in the launch well where they haul boats out and return them to the water and I am calling his phone, which he isn’t answering. Finally I call the marina office and they get him to bring them down, but we don’t have time to put them up - there is another boat waiting to get into the well - so we motor out of the harbor and go into a bay to hoist our sails.

And there is a problem rolling the mainsail into the mast. 40-year-old equipment. No worries, we will address it when we get to Antigua.

Only, when we get to Martinique the problem is much worse and we (Mark) decide that it needs to be taken care of before we continue on.

The most dangerous thing to have on a boat is a schedule.

We really need/want to get to Antigua to welcome the Salty Dawg rally which is scheduled to leave Virginia around November first. Give them a week to 10 days to sail there, we should leave about the same time so we have time to make a quick stop in Martinique for all those lovely French foods. This pressed us to launch in a hurry, maybe sooner than we should have.

(There wasn’t room for all the wine in this picture.)

Now, 2 weeks later, we are still in Martinique. We had friends help take the sail down and then the boom. Then Mark drilled out the screws that held the furler on the mast and we took the unit into the rigging company here. Meanwhile, it has been one thing after another with old equipment; the “brushes” on the electric motor are obsolete - no one has seen these before - oh, wait they are fine; the top portion of the assembly is also obsolete and modern units are a different size and style - the metal shop will modify a new one; the bearings in the gear box are worn out - they have to go to Fort de France to find something like these; and on and on and on.

And the Salty Dawgs. Well, fortunately (for us at least) the weather off the east coast has been terrible and the Dawgs start was delayed by two weeks, so they aren’t in Antigua yet either. However, unlike us, they are making their way there and the first boats should be there maybe Sunday or Monday, with the rest of the fleet in, probably by Thanksgiving. All of the social activities that we have planned have to be rescheduled and plans changed.

At this point, I just want to go home.

November 28

We are in the midst of the Salty Dawg social season. We have been partying for 10 days now - up to three events in a day - and we are enjoying ourselves, even if we are a bit exhausted. Every morning, at 8:30 on vhf channel 72, Bill Woodruff (from sv Kalunamoo) and I inform and entertain the anchorage with the morning net. I am the ”social coordinator” and announce the planned events for the next few days. We have fun with it - just before he introduces me he says that ”today is National Pastry Day” (or whatever) and I try to do something witty with that. Sometime I succeed, sometimes you can hear the groaning in the anchorage. The social events and the morning net keep us at anchor in Falmouth. Other friends are going to the various bays and anchorages around the island, but we are here. Most of the time that’s okay, but sometimes it feels restrictive.

We did enjoy the University of Michigan game last weekend, I actually feel a bit of pity for the other team that lost 45 - 23. It is humiliating - we have been on the other side. We had a crowd of about 20 people in one of the bar of a local restaurant. I don’t think the women who were the bartenders had ever watched an American football game and we were incredibly loud, singing The Victors, hooting and cheering, etc. but I think they had a good time too.

They may be subjected to it again for the Big 10 Championship game. (The Championship game didn’t start until after our bed time so we just trusted the team to be The Victors and got the score in the morning.)

Now, as I post this blog, I am conflicted. Am I having fun? Much of the time, yes. Could I have the same fun from a nice home on land? Maybe, but probably not with the same people. Does living on a boat still annoy me? Much of the time, yes. Would I miss all this? I don’t know anymore.

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