Out of the Boatyard & Into the Frying Pan

Our last week in Power Boats, Trinidad’s hottest boatyard, saw enough accomplished to allow Audentes a taste of water after a month on the hard. We made a great stride toward this goal on February 17th, when we managed to reinstall the mast. All the other yachties we’ve talked to have nothing but praise for the cruising community south of Grenada, and our own experience has been outstanding. Stepping the mast was a case-in-point.

When we removed it a few weeks ago, we conservatively hired a rigging company to do it right, due to the high risk involved with such an important piece of equipment. The insurance and manpower cost us over US$200 for thirty minutes of work, so that we decided to simply hire the crane and replace the mast ourselves. We still needed plenty of guidance and help, though, and we didn’t even have time to ask before our neighbors immediately pitched in. What could have been a difficult task was instead a very positive experience.

The following day, we were lowered into the water exactly one month after being hauled out. We managed to find an anchorage before the sun set, with mixed feelings about finally getting out of the boatyard. While we were understandably delighted to be back on the water, we certainly missed the electricity, convenience, and friendly faces in the boatyard. Also, the harbor was rough with wind and traffic, so that the struggle to regain our sealegs was somewhat more difficult than we anticipated. After a few days of sorting things out on the boat, we were ready to try the systems under sail, and duly headed into the Golfo de Paria early Tuesday morning.

Among the improvements we have implemented over the past month that required testing are the following: mast steps, lazy-jacks, rearrangement of deck hardware, new interior upholstery, roller-furling on staysail, 3rd reefpoint in the mainsail, new canvas on bimini, replacement of broken spreader connector, repair of engine transmission, new antifouling paint below waterline, new seacock for throughhole of saltwater pump, new zincs on propeller shaft, replaced packing flax in packing gland, and a padeye for harnessing in the cockpit. Pictures of many improvements can be found in the photo gallery.

Once under sail, we discovered that two of our winches didn’t work, since we reassembled them incorrectly after taking them apart to grease them. A smaller problem was the copious amount of line(rope) clogging our cockpit like spaghetti in the kitchen sink drain. The solution is pending, but James and Ellen of Moonshadow recommended Velcro straps, which sounds like a good plan. Aside from these issues, the shake-out cruise went fine, giving us hope that the passage north to the Virgin Islands will go smoothly. We spent the afternoon addressing the problems with the winches, which we easily fixed in time to catch some Champions League soccer on television.

It will be sad leaving Trinidad behind, particularly all of the friends we’ve made during our month stay. Everyone in the community has been extremely helpful, especially in light of our youth and lack of experience/competence. Aaron hopes to meet up with many of them at other Caribbean ports in the near future; Brian has decided to stop his participation in the trip at the Virgin Islands, and fly back to the United States in search of a job and a little direction. He’ll do what he can to support his brother’s exploration as the voyage continues to evolve. Let it be known, then, that those interested in giving Brian employment should contact him, while those interested in joining Aaron for any amount of time as crew should contact him.

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