Tin Tin's Sailing Calendar

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Laying up in Trinidad

The Peake Yachts yard in Chaguaramas has been a welcoming place.  It's one of several yards along the south edge of Trinidad in an almost landlocked bay.  Ashore there's a restaurant on a terrace overlooking the bay serving the kind of big portions of fried food one expects in America.  This is very different from the French Caribbean. There's a small dock with 5 good sized yachts and Tin Tin moored stern-to facing out into the bay.  

We've been having trouble with getting from our stern onto the dock, despite Tin Tin's special gangplank (a lovingly engraved and varnished scaffolding plank from Travis Perkins).  The problem is that one has to pass under the stern arch which carries the solar panels, wind generator and assorted aerials, in a sort of crouching limbo dance and to then teeter up to the dock with everything going up and down.  Returning is worse, because initially the boat was too far away from the dock to be able to grab anything so  one had to set off without any hand hold along a narrow seesawing plank with a long way to the water below.  This was because when we had reversed into the slot between other yachts, our bow rope attached to the mooring buoy was only just long enough. I had to motor at full throttle backwards to get our stern lines to the dock, and then there we sat with all lines thrumming unable to get any closer.  Obviously we fixed it eventually by attaching more rope at the front and sliding back a few feet, but this was only after we had welcomed some brave boat contractors on board!  

It gives me a slightly anxious moment to think about times ahead in the Mediterranean where this is the norm.........
En route from Barbados I had already written out a list of 35 items from our maintenance log that needed attention, and my first challenge on Monday was to try to identify, meet and interview the appropriate contractors to deal with the things that we couldn't handle.   Our first day passed with little sense of progress but then, on Tuesday, people started turning up and filling our cockpit as I ran through the list.  

Gary the yard manager to look at paint repairs, Jessie from Caribbean Marine Electrical to tackle wiring issues, Mark from inspiringly named Dynamite Services to replace blocked toilet hoses, and Jason from  Liferaft Servicing. 

Rainer for electronics wasn't interested to come, ditto Calypso Canvas, but I managed to find Curtis for the hydraulics who will come tomorrow, and I got Sean from Superb Canvas as well to deal with repairs to the bimini, plus Ken from Ullman sails on Friday, and maybe Bates the watermaker man too. That leaves me to get hold of the speedy maintenance man, Dwayne Schuffler to agree monthly boat checks, and Jonathan to service the Outboards.

It has been particularly difficult to find a dehumidifier to combat the mildew problem in this humid climate.  Lots of stuff is going green onboard, and we need to have a system to prevent that.  Many boats have an air conditioner fitted to a hatch to keep things cool and dry.  Others have dehumidifiers.  But I cannot find a single chandlery (there are about 5) which stocks them, nor any hardware store.  The chandlery here had sold out of its stock of 50, so I think we are a bit late, as the yacht parking lot is already very full.  Luckily, today I spotted a fading advert put up by a departing yacht offering a 4 month old dehumidifier for sale.    It turned out that the yacht was long gone, but the unit was still available and being stored by a boat service company - Dynamite in fact!

I also went through all our extensive drug supplies and took out all the out-of-date items,  plus all those due to expire before we return.  I hope to dispose of these through a doctor somewhere here. Going through the list I was pleased to see that I had signed out very few medicines to treat maladies during the trip - mostly antibiotics.

Then Mark has been dealing with sails, drying out our spinnaker, which has been on the foredeck getting wet, and we have also removed folded and bagged the Genoa and staysail. The main will be next, and they will go for valeting and storage. Ropes are removed, labelled and washed in fresh water to get rid of thickly ingrained salt.

It's annoying that there's no ATM near here, and we will have to take a taxi into town. We asked our waitress about how to do this and she advised us only to get a taxi from the yard to take us, wait and bring us back.  Yachties who had hailed a cab had been beaten and robbed apparently.  However the Maxis, yellow minivans, are apparently OK provided they are full of people.    We will have to adjust our perceptions of risk again, and I wonder whether it's safe to hire a car and explore on our own........ but then again, that's what people said in South Africa, and we were fine.  

So here we are after two days, and there's a lot more to fit in before lift out on Thursday morning.

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