Chilling in St Lucia

16 April 2018   Rodney Bay, St Lucia
We had a bit of a lie in, but there’s no peace for the wicked because we had to go to clear in.  I dropped the dinghy in the water and attached the outboard, making sure that outboard lock was in place and we had a stainless steel chain to lock the dinghy to any dock - Rodney Bay has a bad reputation for dinghy theft.

The clearance formalities were in the marina and were very straight forward.  I went in one door to see customs; through another door to see Immigration and Port Control and then exited by a third door - very organised.  The largest amount of time was spent filling in the form - there is an online clearance system called SailClear, but not having any internet yet, I had to resort to the old hand written forms in triplicate.  

Reduit Beach, St Lucia

We had a wander around the marina and the Hardware store outside the gates.  Not much has changed in six years.  We were thinking of coming into the marina for a couple of nights to wash the boat down, but it’s very expensive (£30/night) and the water is metered.  It’s much cheaper for us to be at anchor and run the water-maker for an hour each day

The nearest place to buy a SIM card is at the Rodney Bay Mall, which is a short dinghy ride across the lagoon past the marina.  There are a few banks and a reasonable supermarket there too.  Fully spammed up with Internet and cash, we dinghied back to the marina and had a fabulous Pizza and Salad with a few beers.  After spending the rest of the afternoon sleeping off our lunch, we chilled out in the evening.

17 April 2018   Rodney Bay, St Lucia
We had a chill out day hanging about on the boat.  After all the sailing that we’ve done in the past three months, it’s nice to be in a safe anchorage and do nothing.

Even though we’ve created a “For Sale” web site (www.yachtalba.com) and listed Alba on several yacht sale web sites, we don’t hold up much hope in selling the boat privately in the Caribbean - it’s too much hassle for people to fly out just to look at a yacht.  We’re pretty sure that we’ll get a much better price in the USA, so the plan is to sail the boat up to the Cheasapeake next year.  It’s only 2,000 miles, so it will give us a leisurely 6 month cruise through the West Indies and the Bahamas.

Gregory, The Veggie Man

With that decision, we now know that we’re only going to be living on Alba for one more year and that we’re not going to be doing any cruising too far away from chandlers and shops.  So, it’s a great opportunity to sort through our lockers and start dumping things that we’ve carried around for the last seven years.

In afternoon, I started in the front cabin and looked through all the various lockers and cupboards - it was very cathartic.  I ended up with a bag of stuff to give away; and a bag of stuff that we will be taking back to the UK; and a big bag of stuff to throw away.  The saddest item was a Sony short wave receiver that we’ve carried all the way around the world and never used.  I’d left some batteries in it, which had leaked, so the radio was junk - ah well.

18 April 2018   Rodney Bay, St Lucia
We had yet another chill-out day and couldn’t be bothered to get off the boat.

Back in June 2016, we bought a new mainsail from North Sails in Singapore, which has always had creases in it when furled.  In my opinion, it has been designed and manufactured with too much draft and is very baggy when reefed.  Unfortunately, because we’ve been moving a lot, I haven’t been able to get a North Sail loft to have a look at it.  

Valentine is the North Sail representative in St Lucia, so I asked him to come out and look at the sail.  He agreed with me that the sail is very baggy when reefed, but his sail maker is on holiday at the moment, so Valentine asked me if I could sail over to Marin in Martinique, which is 25 miles away.  They have a bigger North Sails loft there and would be able to sort it out for us.  We have agreed to go across the day after tomorrow.

Baggy main sail

“Dream Catcher” arrived from Fernando de Noronha, so in the evening,  we went over to welcome them and drank a few beers in celebration of our circumnavigations.

19 April 2018   Rodney Bay, St Lucia
We had another quiet day on the boat - it’s great not to have anything to do.

The situation with the main sail has become a little chaotic.  There are three different North Sails offices involved at the moment - St Lucia, Martinique and Singapore where we bought the sail.  Valentine in St Lucia has inspected the sail, but hasn’t given any report on what needs doing, so Gavin in Martinique wants to see the sail before he makes any comments.

I’ve been assuming that North Sails will make the modifications under warranty, but Gavin now says that the decision has to be made by Ian in Singapore and they are on the other side of the world and 12 hours ahead us, so there’s a huge lag in me asking a question and Ian replying.  

In frustration, I cancelled our trip over to Martinique.  There’s no point in spending two days sailing there and back unless the work is going to be done free-of-charge - If I have to pay for any modifications then I’d rather wait and get it done in Trinidad. 

With typical West Indies logic, once I told Gavin that I wasn’t going over to Martinique, he told me that he’s probably going to be coming over to Rodney Bay at the weekend and perhaps he could inspect the sail when he’s over here.  Why on earth didn’t he say that in the first place and save us two days sailing?