Saturday, 24 December 2011

Good Expectation shows her new colours...

So its been a full on few weeks since getting back to St Lucia. After a couple of days we hauled Good Expectation and had her placed stern first into one of the covered berths in the IGY Rodney Bay Boat Yard. A very well kept and smoothly run boat yard by the way and one I would certainly recommend to other boat owners.

A great distraction during this time has been the ARC ~ Atlantic Rally for Cruisers, held at the IGY Marina, who also did an excellent job at organising some great parties. By all accounts the visiting yachties and us locals all had a great time, big up to Adam Foster and his team at the marina for a great couple of weeks.

So the main activity recently has been a lot of sanding and painting, which seems to be what we have done a lot of, except that now we seem to be getting somewhere! We hope you agree...


Simultaneously, we have had a local carpenter Jim and his son Darryl, who is learning the trade from his dad, helping us build sections of the interior ~ bunks/storage, engine compartment, vanity unit to house the toilet and sink and the Greenheart hardwood floor boards. Its all coming together down below, they have done a great job, photos of it installed will have to wait until the New Year when we relaunch the boat as we have to replace the lead ballast before it all goes into place ...

Jim and Darryl at work

Over the past week we have also been helped by Pepsi with a lot of the painting of hatch covers, its been great having her with us in the boat yard adding her personal touch to the detail of the painting...



We have also received our first order of Jus' Sail Tshirts that we ordered from a local firm Button Up Ltd. - Lymwell and Julie have been fantastic, working very hard to get us what we needed as soon as possible. We are very happy with the outcome and have handed some out to some of those people who have helped us out with this venture so far... Within 24hrs we sited one of the tshirts in the marina... We think our friends son makes the perfect model for the first public showing of the Jus' Sail  tshirt...!


A nice surprise today was a brief visit into into Rodney Bay by fellow Carriacou built vessel ~ Jambalaya . She is a beautiful schooner with a wonderful layout of staterooms and comfortable berths down below. She is available for charter throughout the Caribbean... Google her for more info!


It hasn't all been hard work the past couple of weeks, we were also lucky enough to be treated to a wonderful night at The Jalousie Plantation, which is nestles below Petit Piton, we stayed in one of the new majestic villas, which had a stunning outside pool and backdrop of the Petit Piton...

 The pool area with villa behind... Highly recommended for those wanting to splash out and spoil themselves in a tropical paradise...

The beach at Jalousie is one of our favourite places in St Lucia, the setting is unsurpassed.



Behind which is also some wonderful relics from the Sugar mill which dates from the 1700's... 






One of the things that I love about these old pieces of industrial history is the name plates, one of these days I will look up this company ~ Mirrlees, Tait and Watson and see where they are from and if by some miracle they are still in operation...

So with Christmas Day approaching its time to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and may 2012 be a bumper year of all good things to all of you who happen to read this blog. We will be starting 2012 with a flurry of activity as we prepare for the launch of the Jus' Sail business on the back of the relaunch of the new look Good Expectation early in the New Year!




Saturday, 3 December 2011

A tiring few weeks but Good Expectation is now in St Lucia!

Its hard to believe that the last post on the blog was the 12th of November! I knew I had been remiss in not updating the blog for a couple of weeks but not 3 weeks! Anyway, better late than never... There is so much to say about the past few weeks its hard to know where to start.

First off, we launched good Expectation after a flurry of activity getting her a few coats of paint and touching up areas of the hull. The time had come to launch no matter what, the weeks were flying past we had overrun in Antigua already by more than two weeks and for various reasons we had to get home ASAP.

At 3:30pm on the 23rd November the travel lift came to pick her up for the Splash...


The hull was looking great with a nice coat of Antifoul to help keep her bottom clean...


Before going in the water, its important to remember to put the rudder back in place!...


Needless to say Herbert and I were very happy indeed to have her in the water and making way under her own steam... the engine worked fine (at this point!).



We then had to bring her back alongside the boatyard to replace the lead ballast in the bilge which was taken out before she was hoisted from the water. And to start getting all the various bits and bobs back onboard for the sail home. The decision had already been made that the majority of the painting to make her look smart will have to wait until back in St Lucia.



Whilst the boat was being readied Mr Cochrane was busy finishing a new end of the boom which he spliced in along with brand new mahogony jaws which fit around the mast to hold the boom in place. The spliced section is throughbolted and stronger than the original which had extensive sections of rot in it....



As we had been in Antigua weeks longer than expected Pepsi came up to see me for a couple of days before heading back to the UK for work commitments. It was great to see her after so many weeks, but it was also great to see the samples of the Jus Sail Tshirts that she brought along with her aswell!!!







We finally left Jolly Harbour on 25th November - Friday evening at sunset after a rush to clear customs, say goodbye to people and generally get ourselves into some sort of order. We had had a small launch party the night before to thank everyone for their help in the project and had said goodbye to many people then. After six weeks it was good to be saying farwell to Jolly Harbour and on our way home. And to all of those friends that we made there, we will see you again no doubt (you know who you are!). That first night we motored around to Falmouth Harbour on the South side of Antigua. Unfortunately we realised that one of the injectors on the diesel engine was leaking badly so the stop off was essential to effect a repair.

We took advantage of the local restaurants to get some food in our stomachs and couldn't help being amused by the similarity of our vessel and this old poster on the wall of the Mad Mongoose Bar in Falmouth Harbour....


We spent the night at the Cat club Marina and in the morning were given a wonderful rainbow behind the boat...


The diesel engine needed a number of issues dealing with it and this delayed our leaving Falmouth. We eventually raised the sails at sailed out due South towards Guadeloupe at 1pm on Saturday 26th Nov. The next four days were to be some of the most frustrating and at times downright miserable of any of our combined years at sea... Fickle winds, intense lightning storms and unbelieveable heavy rain and 50-60knot winds followed by dead calm again delivered very challenging sailing conditions. Under normal circumstances this would not have been too much of a problem with a solid diesel engine to power you home, sadly our engine was far from finished with its issues that meant for most of the journey we were without engine power and left at the mercy of the elements to make our way home.

After a long night of sailing down the leeside of Guadeloupe and managing to sail across the channel to Dominica we chose to put into Portsmouth in Northern Dominica to get a charge on the battery (the alternator packed up and stopped charging the battery!) and fix the transmission cable which had come away from the transmission. We also needed to try and find replacements of the tiny springs which make a winch work as the portside winch had become unreliable and at the most inopportune times chose to release the sheet by spinning free. Very dangerous especially when grinding the winch with the winch handle under the full load of the sail.

Prince Rupert Bay in which Portsmouth sits is a picturesque scene. It was good to get ashore and get a hot meal and more provisions.


We managed to charge the battery but could not get the winch springs and had to make do as best we could. We left Portsmouth at 2pm on Monday under a wonderful following breeze, what sailing in the Caribbean is all about...


Sadly it was all too short lived, the trade winds deserted us again and we motored down the leeside of Dominica. What was amazing was how the mountains of Dominica had been keeping the bank of heavy cloud to the East at bay, acting like a huge block to their westward progress...


On reaching the channel between Dominica and Martinique the cloud was spilling through the gap and looked very menacing. By this time it was getting dark and we had no choice but to continue on into the blackness ahead of us. There was very little wind to speak of even in the usually very gusty channel. By daylight we had made it past Fort De France the capital of Martinique, Diamond Rock was off to our portside and St Lucia due south. The engine had packed up again in the night, this time due to overheating and a problem with the cooling system. We had been crawling along at only a couple of knots for the past 10 hours or so and the coming daylight did not bring any further increase in the winds. All of Tuesday was spent trying to make progress across the channel to St lucia with little success, but we were halfway between the two islands and there was no point in turning back. Martin pulled out all the stops in light wind sailing techniques, wetting the sails, shifting ballast over to the lee side of the boat and getting all of us sitting on the same side to change the hull shape in the water to eck out some more boat speed. We did the best could under the circumstances and by sundown we were 17 miles or so from Rodney Bay. The clouds had been building all day and soon after dark the first really heavy thunder started to rumble behind us from over Martinique. We could also see lightning over St Lucia, it looked to be concentrated down south around Soufriere (which we subsequently heard suffered more landslides under the intense rain). For some hours we bobbed around in the middle of a number of storm cells, we had no wind but knew there was wind and lots of it in the squalls. Around 10pm we got hit by the first of a number of very intense squalls. From no wind to 50-60knots in seconds, dry to soaked by the heaviest rain imageinable in less than 10 seconds. The pattern of being battered by squalls and becalmed once they passed continued throughout the night. Until around 3am when Martin was hit in the back by the boom during a particularly ferocious onslaught from the weather. He was hurt, not sure how badly but enough that he had to go below and flake out. We were worried about him. It was critical we got to shore now. By 4:10am we were within 6miles of Rodney Bay and I managed to get a cell phone call into Adam Foster the Marina Manager. He thankfully picked up the phone and got straight onto the Coastguard who came to our aid and towed us in around 9am Wednesday morning, by which time the current had taken another 3 miles NE out towards the open Atlantic and the dangerous windward side of St Lucia and Martinique where there are no anchorages and no shelter. We had made a number of VHF calls on Channel 16 in the hours prior to the cell phone call, we tried to hail a crusieship, a passing container ship and a number of other sailing vessels. No one answered! what has happened to the camaraderie of the high seas that used to centre on the VHF? 

By 10am we were at the dock. Exhausted yet so relieved to be in harbour. The sleep deprivation and constant soakings from the rain had left us tired, cold and hungry. clearing customs was a blur i was so tired and spun out I could hardly stand up. The past six weeks of 12hour days hard work on the refit and the rush to get ourselves back to St lucia had all taken their toll. But we had made it.

The worst part of that day for me however was the news from Pepsi  by phone around 6am that our beloved puppies Bonny and Marlie had been cruelly poisoned (subsequently we have been told deliberately due to the type of poison), they died on Sunday. With a working engine we might have been back in time and they may not have strayed so far from home to get in touble. Had the refit taken fewer weeks they would almsot certainly still be alive as with me home they would not have gone so far. Bringing Good Expectation home this week has therefore been a very emotional and bitter sweet event. I will miss our dogs and am focussing on the future and the fun we will have with this boat in the coming weeks, months and years. I had hoped for B&M to be boat dogs and help me entertain our guests. Sadly I never got to take them aboard. I know they would have loved it.

So in memory of Bonny and Marlie we take Good Expectation and Jus Sail forward.


In the next two weeks we will undertake a major face lift to Good Expectation with a through paint job. So watch this space....





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