July 2018 - Trinidad and the UK

1 July 2018   Chaguaramus, Trinidad
I screwed up today.   The only thing that I needed to do was to get the dinghy onto the fore-deck and stow the outboard.   It was a lovely morning, but very hot, so I decided to do some admin and catch up on my blog and photos, hoping that the cloud would build like it did yesterday and it would be cooler.

The cloud did build up, but it brought torrential rain and lightning.  The rain kept going all afternoon, so at 15:00, I was forced to don my swimming shorts and work in the pouring rain.  At least it cooled me down.  We’re all ready for the haul-out tomorrow.


2 July 2018   Chaguaramus, Trinidad
It was a long wait until 11:00, when we were instructed to head for the haul-out bay at Peakes.  They have a huge 200 tonne lift, so it’s a simple matter of motoring in to the dock with no messing about having to remove the forestay.  The process is very efficient.  They pressure washed us in the slings and the boat was then transferred onto a long truck with hydraulic arms.  The truck then squeezed us into a small gap between two other yachts.  About an hour later, another boat “Larus” was squeezed in front of us effectively blocking us in between three boats.    It’s very quick and efficient on space to use the truck.

We were soon chocked up and left to our own devices.  In the afternoon, I pottered about checking everything below the waterline.  Everything looks fine, although the last coat of anti-foul that we put on in South Africa has come out a bit patchy after the pressure washing.   Greg from Peakes Yacht Services is going to quote me for power sanding off that layer; applying the antifoul paint; fixing some dings in the gelcoat; and polishing the topsides.

I dropped the anchor chain down to the ground and draped it over a trestle.  While we were in Mount Hartman Bay, we picked up an incredible amount of weed on the chain, so I had to spend an hour blasting the weed off using a water hose.  The galvanising has been worn away from half of the chain and it’s starting to go rusty.  Unfortunately, we can’t get chain galvanised in Trinidad, so tomorrow, I’m going to de-rust it with a product containing Phosphoric acid.

We rolled away all of the carpets and Glenys started work on varnishing the chart table top, the tray on the chart table and the washboard surround in the cockpit. 

3 July 2018   Chaguaramus, Trinidad
We were kept awake during the night, while some painters were redecorating the restaurant above our room.  They were working quietly most of the time, but would then drag furniture around making a terrible racket.  Glenys went and complained in the morning and we were given a free meal voucher by the restaurant manager. 

More Varnishing

I did some running about and picked up some antifoul paint from Echotec.  The best antifouling in Trinidad is Sea Hawk, but it contains a high level of tin, which is banned in the USA, so I’m going for the copper-based Jotun Seaforce 90 paint, which I’ve used before and like.  Meanwhile, Glenys sanded down and varnished the companionway surround, the fiddle around the galley and the chart table top.    

When we were in South Africa, I managed to damage the locking mechanism on our steering wheel, so I removed the steering wheel hub and I’m planning to take it back to UK to get it repaired.  I’m worried about losing the part because it is now obsolete and will be a nightmare to try to replace.  Without the steering wheel hub, we won’t be going anywhere.  I think that it’s too risky to put it in our hold baggage, so I planning to carry it in my hand luggage.  It weighs about 2 kg, but there no weight limit on British Airways, so it should be ok.

4 July 2018   Chaguaramus, Trinidad
I received the quote from Peakes for various work on the hull and it’s outrageous.  They want $265US to repair a couple of dinks in the gelcoat on the bow; $525US to compound and wax the topsides; $525US to orbit sand off the existing anti-foul paint; and $335US to apply two coats of antifoul paint.  They’re charging USA prices.  

I now wish that I’d gone into Power Boats because Peakes have a monopoly and restrict the work that independent contractors can do in their yard.  Power Boats only have independent contractors, so there is more competition and prices are lower.  I finally negotiated that Peakes will do a light sand of the existing anti-foul and then apply two coats for $360US.  It’s pricy, but it means that we’ll be able to go back into the water the day after we arrive back.

I spent the rest of the day pottering about doing a few last jobs and finishing off the  varnishing. Glenys wiped down all of the vinyl surfaces with some white vinegar to prevent mildew.  We left all of the cupboard doors open and the seat cushions stood on edge to help air flow.  Our final act was to turn on several fans, so that the air will be moving about inside the boat.  Mike will be coming on board at least once a week and can make sure that the fans are working okay.  Our solar panels should produce enough electricity to power the fans without any external shore power. 

I had to walk around to the Immigration and Customs with some forms that Peakes had given us.  One is a Temporary Import document for the boat, which lists the value of the boat and has an inventory of the equipment on board.  The form stamped by Immigration was a declaration that we had a yacht and would be leaving the country on the yacht.  We’re to present these documents when we return to Trinidad, which should smooth our passage through the airport formalities.

After locking up the boat, we had a few drinks with Tim and Nancy from “Larus” and then a slap up meal on our gift vouchers.  We splashed out on a bottle of wine that was horribly expensive, but it was happy hour, so we received two bottles for the price of one…

Wrapped Steering Wheel Hub

5 July 2018   Chaguaramus, Trinidad
I woke up early feeling paranoid about the steering wheel hub.  Last night Tim told me that he’d been stopped at the airport security for having a zinc anode in his baggage and they’d made him run back to the check-in desk to check it into hold luggage.  When the Steering wheel hub is wrapped up it looks like the warhead from a Rocket-Propelled Grenade, so I’m guessing that they’d throw a wobbly in airport security - it would be a disaster if they confiscated it.

After a quick breakfast, I refitted the steering hub and reconnected and tensioned the steering cables.  It only took an hour to do the job, so I was back in the hotel room well before the taxi came to pick us up at 11:30. We were at the airport an hour before the checkout opened, which was a nuisance because there are very few seats in outer part of the airport, probably to prevent people “liming”.  

However, we were soon checked in and took the opportunity to wander outside to the local eating place and have a sneaky Double.  The flight was on time, but we had a one hour layover in St Lucia, while some passengers disembarked and others got on.   We arrived in London Gatwick on time and quickly picked up a small hire car, which delivered us to our son Brett in time for lunch.