For our first year we did not do things the cruiser way. The true cruiser way is the cheapest way possible while acquiring the desired results. In most cases this means do it yourself. Dave and I both came from the sea of cubicles, which did not prepare us to work on boats. But we are learning. With help from friends and family and watching and questioning the professionals we hire,we have been learning to take on more ourselves. We are in awe of people like Catherine and Henry on Mowzer who, if they want something, build it themselves – like their new bimini. Or Francois on Why Knot IV who does all his own work including installing and maintaining his watermaker.
Nope, here’s what I’m good at: buying and scarfing down French pastries. Don’t they look incredible? Honestly, my favorites are the breads, the focaccia and baguettes.
Dave is a big fan of the pastries. But even as we drooled all over the counter, this time we ordered a chicken sandwich and a couple drinks to go. We had some hiking to do. So we walked back by the marketplace in Marigot, pictured at the top of the page, to begin our hike.
Yep, we made it back up to the fort as I promised Dave I would. This time we had a picnic and soaked up the view for a while before returning to the boat work that still needed to be done.
Now this is the true cruiser’s way. After wearing a big hole in our salon cushion cover, we received a quote to replace the covers: $750. The quote seemed rather steep and she didn’t have time to make them before our planned departure date anyway, so we decided to patch the hole instead. Speaking of our good friends on Mowzer, Catherine cut a piece of Sunbrella off a retired cover and gave it to us to use as a patch. Unfortunately, I left my sewing machine in California, so it had to be hand stitched.
I finished it over a two day period, resting my sore fingertips periodically. I think it came out pretty well. It is definitely stronger now. Net cost $0. Nice!
There was a gathering of the troops and we dinghied over to the Sint Maarten Yacht Club to meet up. The sun was starting to set over Marina Fort Louis as we approached the Necker Belle, Richard Branson’s catamaran. It’s kinda cool being the poor folk in the neighborhood and seeing all the mega yachts. Dave was impressed with the Necker Belle last season, but this season it was all about Venus, Steve Jobs’ boat. Ours may not be a mega yacht, but we get to enjoy ours every day and share the same view as these guys. Well, maybe not the same view as Steve Jobs right now…
Anyway, it was a fun night out tasting the foods and drinks of St Martin with Indigo, Mile High Dream, and Slow Waltz. One of the restaurants makes a homemade Dark & Stormy, which was very gingery and I think the best drink of the night. I believe the restaurant was the Harbour Queen Seafood Grill & Bar. Hopefully someone will correct me if I’m wrong. Also, the best grouper was at the Sint Maarten Yacht Club. Dave had grouper fish & chips and I had blackened grouper. Both were delicious.
They might be getting ready for an out of season hurricane in the Bahamas, but here the wind completely died. It was a good time to take out the gennaker and refurl it. When we moved the boat around Florida, we tried out the gennaker. It is a light wind sail and, when the wind got up to 9 knots, Jeff (of Two Can Sail) told us to furl the sail. Unfortunately, while we were furling it, the wind hit 12 knots and kept unfurling it again. We had to just drop the halyard and stuff it in a bag. That was about two years ago and we just now got light enough winds to work on it.
After raising the halyard, something didn’t seem quite right. Not having used it in so long after using it only once, it was difficult to remember how all the lines go. We only had to drop it once to rerun a line.
Then we raised it again. This time it looked better.
A slight breeze of maybe 2 knots kicked up and that was all it took. As Dave was raising it, the sail filled and whooshed right open. It is such a big sail and Dave watched in wonder as it opened around him.
Being on the dock, I couldn’t get a good angle on it for a photo. The sail goes well past the spreaders, covering more than half the boat when pulled back.
Another small puff filled it again and it ballooned out. The gennaker is between a genoa and a spinnaker, not quite ballooning out as much as a spinnaker. However, the gennaker is huge and beautiful and I sure hope we get a chance to use it. So far we have not had the proper sailing conditions for it.
With the gennaker properly furled and stowed, we noticed we didn’t quite have the bowsprit right. We got it straight enough to test and furl the gennaker, but the line on the port side was stuck under the mooring line. That’s a problem we won’t have under sail. With one more project off the list, we moved to the air conditioning issue again. Dave’s parents sent us a package after they arrived home and it included three bilge alarms and a condensation pump. Dave had to wire the pump into the electrical box for the aircon unit.
At the top of the picture, the new pump is peeking out and on the left is the wiring. Dave wired it in and hooked it up to the tubing we previously installed, then tested it out. It worked perfectly! We shouldn’t have water building up in our dining seat anymore. Wow! What a successful boat projects day! There is something to be said for doing it yourself, the cruiser way. We just need the windows finished, the window covers installed, a new compressor installed in the refrigerator, and a new control board installed in the watermaker and we will be good to go. Some things are still beyond our capabilities and so we still wait for others, but we are definitely getting better.