Finally Afloat

Date:  28 February 2019

Location:  Anchored Clarkes Court Bay, Grenada

LAT 12° 00.381  LON 061° 44.104

Weather: Mostly Sunny, Upper 80’s, Winds E 15 – 20 Knots

The Captain came back to visit me in mid November to open up the hatches and portholes so I could breath a little.  The time has finely arrived to get me hauled out. I had a nice long nap while The Captain was off in the US earning some pennies in Ft Myers and having fun tailgating and yelling at Clemson games. As for me, I just bobbed and rocked at anchor while working on my tan. The solar panels The Captain and Admiral installed on my roof back in St Thomas has kept the batteries topped off and the bilge pumps kept the water outside my hull where it water belongs.  The Captain shanghaiing’s a couple guys and they used Sea Tigger to maneuver me over to the basin where The Big Blue Crawler awaits. She immediately wraps her arms around me and carries me to a prime spot in the middle of the gravel yard – my new home for the next 5 to 6 weeks, or so they say. The Captain has his doubts but likes the optimism.

After meeting with the various vendors to go over all the items that are on the schedule The Captain heads back to the airport. The biggest and most important task is to rid me of the Volvo engine and replace it with a brand new 200 HP Yanmar along with an upgraded transmission.  Of course lots of things have to happen as part of that project including reworking the fiberglass engine beds as the Yanmar is slightly wider and longer. There are several other projects on the Master Plan including a new swim platform and new bottom paint.  The sails and Sea Tigger’s clothes are already at the canvas shop for some work. Other items include life raft certification, rigging inspection, cutlass bearing change, seacock service, Yamaha 15 hp tune up and generator oil change. Assurances were given by all the vendors, all the bits and pieces are available and on site, the work is on everybody’s calendar and word was given that I will be taken good care of.

It’s now early December and The Captain returns to check on progress and – surprise, surprise – little to nothing has been done. I whisper to him that there has only been one person that has come on board since he left spending maybe 30 minutes looking at the engine. He is less than happy.

An early morning chat takes place with the owner of Palm Tree Marine, the main contractor for the project, to get an explanation. He listens their explanations and gets the expected apologies and excuses. I assume he got their attention as workers showed up about an hour later and began disconnecting and disassembling the hoses and wiring on my engine. Captain spends the next few weeks doing a fair amount of the work himself and motivating the contractors.  Turns out that in order to remove the engine the galley sink needs to be completely ripped out along with the wall behind the companionway ladder in order to mount an A-Frame support and a chain fall positioned over the engine to lift it up and out. Work now begins on the mounting beds which need to be cut down “more than we thought”. Also, it now becomes apparent that a corner of a fuel tank will need to be cut and re-welded to accommodate the routing of the new raw water piping.

Work progresses reasonably well for a while but then The Captain is “reminded” that the yard (and in fact most of Grenada) is closing for 3 weeks for the holidays. Given this reality, The Captain decides he will fly back to the US and return when things can continue.

I spent a quiet and lonely Christmas and New Years. Happy to see The Captain return and get things restarted as there is still quite a lot of work remaining. The Captain continues pushing best he can as he deals with “island time” mentality, the delays of getting parts and items shipped that had to be cleared though customs because they were overlooked larger items such as larger exhaust piping, a new exhaust riser, oil lines and cutlass bearings.

The shaft seal coupling takes 3 days to remove although in reality they only spend a total of about 8 hours. Seems we are only getting 2 -3 hours of productive work in the course of a typical day.

The original 5 to 6 weeks is now approaching 12 and there still remains outstanding items. While most of The Captain’s days are spent working on projects and trying to keep the yard personnel focused and on tasks, he does take some time now and then to play. Occasionally he gets together with other cruisers and Yard Rats he’s met and they go to the beach, relax by the pool at Le Phare Bleu, or go watch a sailing regatta (had a great view from the top of a hill overlooking a Turning Mark). They explored the island and checked out some new beach bars. The current Moving Target Date is mid February.

On Valentines Day, The Captain receives some GREAT NEWS when his daughter, Ashley “I’m Never Having Kids” Keith and her husband Carter “I’m a Tiger Too” Keith, present him with a new Deck Swab to join the Crew. Townes Waylon boards the ship on the Middle Watch at 0049 on 14 February with his Cutlass at the ready. At 7 lbs and 6 ounces it sounds like he is going to make a fine 1st Mate one day soon.  Mama and Swab #3 are doing good. Ashley promises Captain that she’ll have him ready for some plundering and pillaging soon.

After MORE THAN THREE LONG months over the dirt and gravel, mounted high and dry on (8) 1 ½ diameter sticks poking me in my belly and my keel grinding on a stack of boards, the new engine (aka “The Yamster”) replacement is complete and I beg The Captain to get me back in the water where every good ship belongs. They cranked The Yamster up while I’m still on “The Hard” to verify operation and make initial operational checks. Fluids get topped off, throttle and transmission operation verified, a clamp gets replaced on an exhaust hose that’s letting a smidgen of water leak out and cooling system is thoroughly checked. All appears OK and I get the second bit of good news this month, we splash in the morning.

We’re # 2 on the schedule right after they pull a cousin of mine out that was damaged in a Hurricane earlier in the year. She’s been left unintended floating in the water and her underside shows just what the Mother Ocean can do without some occasional love by her crew. The layer of Salt Life was better than most coral reefs I’ve seen. While I feel her pain, in my opinion, it’s way better than sitting in the yard.

Then, finally, at 0945 hours, The Big Blue Crawler arrives and its MY TURN. They strap me up, slowly carry me to the basin and gently set me in the water. The Captain roots around under the floor boards looking for leaks from any of the dozen or so hull penetrations I have. He finds a little water coming in around the forward speed transducer which requires a quick lift back up. As I  hang in the clutches of the Big Blue, he removes the insert, cleans the housing sleeve, lubes the O-ring seal and re-seats the transducer. They ease me back in and recheck, issue resolved. The Yamster fires up, lines are cast off and we back out. The Captain and mechanic take me out for a short spin around the Bay to check things out and put things under load. Bringing Yamster up to operating temp, they check for any fluid leaks, proper exhaust water flow, vibration levels, verify acceleration, shaft alignment, transmission operation, pumps and general noise.

Returning to the Boatyard, I get tethered to the dock for one more night so my sails can be hanked on and all other systems are checked out after sitting idle for so long.

Feeling great to be back in the water gently swinging on Anchor, The Captain has me ready for new adventures. We welcome Milda and Mindaugas (Cuda) Caplinskas from “S/V Vivienne” on board and depart south for an overnight sail to Chaguarmus, Trinidad to enjoy J’ouvert and Carnival.  M&M are the young couple from Lithuania we met in Grenada back in August while anchored in Woburn Bay when we first arrived. They have plans to embark on their own round the world adventure after they get “S/V Vivienne” retrofitted.

Joyce & Brian Clark

S/V Pawsitive Latitude


Admiral Mia and Deck Swab Townes enjoying a day at the pool!

One thought on “Finally Afloat

  1. Great to hear from you again! Sounds like you are ready for new adventures. Pls keep us posted.

    We are back in Victoria awaiting grandson #3. Passat is on the hard in Spain, awaiting our return in Aptil 2020.

    Wishing you fair winds snd cslm anchorages.

    Barrie and Sandra


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