Monday, October 31, 2016

“Hi Ho, Hi Ho …. It’s off to work we go….”

Back in paradise?  

Ha! ….. it’s truly unbelievable how much time can be spent getting one’s boat ready to launch! We arrived back in Grenada October 18th, and have only just finally “splashed” October 28th.  Where did the time go? What did we do?

There were some items on Serenada’s ‘To Do’ list. When we left her in the Spring, she had an electrical/battery short resulting in the inability to equalize the batteries; and a broken autopilot. On top of that, the surveyor had recommended that a rigging inspection be completed. So, even before we returned to our boat, we had arranged for some help from the boatyard staff.

Louis from the rigging shop came by  the morning after we arrived, and along with a staff member, completed Serenada’s rigging inspection. Up to the top of the mast they went, and to the ends of the spreaders, and back down to deck level. Though our rig is old (we don’t know when Serenada was last rigged – before we purchased her in 2010), she ‘passed.’  One less bill! We had prepared ourselves for a different eventuality; so we were quite thankful.

The following day, Herve from the electrical shop sent one of his staff to sort out  our electrical issues, and before the day was gone, that part of Serenada had been healed and we were able to equalize the batteries. We were checking off the jobs on Serenada’s ‘To Do’ list.

Meanwhile, I was exterminating ants …. ‘lots of them …. *#@$+!^  little critters!  Recommendation: Terro Ant Killer. Kills on contact J.  This process, however, essentially involved tearing the boat apart, to get at every nook and cranny; and cleaning everything before reassembly. Though the rigging inspection was completed, and the electrical problems had been resolved,  I was still exterminating ants! I think it was the third day, but it may have been the fourth (?) before I felt that I had regained the upper hand on the critters.

Next up was the autopilot installation. Oh wait, we still didn’t have our (hockey) bag of declared goods yet. *#@$+!^   Another story….  Before we left home, we had contacted a local broker, Ricky, who was recommended to us by Grenada Marine, the boatyard where Serenada was being stored. We had printed off the Customs’ C14 form, completed it,  attached copies of original receipts, and scanned them all and emailed them ahead of our arrival to Ricky. We understood the process; we knew our bag of declared goods would be held at airport security, until it received final clearance; a process that Ricky assured us would take “max 1 day.”  The short of it: we arrived Tuesday evening, and our bag of declared goods got to us Saturday morning, and we were very happy (because at that point we weren’t expecting it until at least Monday!). I won’t share the long of it.

The new autopilot system (Raymarine EV 200) seemed simple to install. It’s described as “plug and play.” The system has several components. Each has to be mounted. That’s the catch. Every captain understands; small boat captains especially. First, all contents of the lazarettes must be expelled. This is what that looks like....

Then the captain must get himself in there with the instruments to be mounted, and the tools with which to do that, amongst them the adhesives you shouldn’t be breathing in; while it is 80+ degrees ‘outside,’ but considerably worse ‘down there in the hole.’ The short of it: we called Herve again. Herve delegated it to Terry, who was an exceptional guy, and got that job done for us.

There were many other (unanticipated) items that jumped onto Serenada’s ‘To Do’ list . The extermination of ants was one of them. Our boat wasn’t completely level while it was stored. One result of this was that water pooled in the propane locker, and this caused the bottom rims of the propane bottles stored in there to rust. That had to be cleaned up.  Who knew that zipper heads can seize up? Solution: penetrating oil (not vinegar, not scrubbing away with an old toothbrush…..). So, the job of putting on the dodger and bimini took 2-3X longer than anticipated. Cracked engine exhaust hoses were replaced. The cockpit drain hoses were also replaced.

Then there was all the regular pre-requisite work prior to launching a boat: rigging tightened; sails hoisted; sheets and lines restored; davits put back in place; dinghy cleaned and chaps put back on; deck and cockpit washed; hull waxed and polished; windows cleaned; salon and cockpit cushion covers (sewn while at home) were replaced; jerry cans (for water, diesel & gas) were cleaned, filled and secured to deck; chart plotter reinstalled; radios reconnected; several electrical connections cleaned; stainless polished; seacocks reopened; etc. ….

Worse than all this work, was the heat. It saps the life force from you. We would jump in the shower fully clothed, and be dry an hour later; but it seemed our best coping strategy!


Provisioning was another task. We purchased locally, from several sources. The ‘vegetable man’ comes to the boatyard every Tuesday & Thursday @ noon; the ‘sandwich lady’  comes daily; the bread man lives up the street; the fishermen bring in their catch daily; the local Foodland grocery store is a 10-15 minute bus ride away; and the local convenience store  is a 10 minute walk away. Everything we needed we found close by, though not all in one spot! Our legs got a work out.

Finally the day came when we could “Splash!” Serenada was first put on to a trailer...


Then from the trailer into the travel lift's slings....

Then into the water! Yeah!!! We were floating again!

Gil fired up the engine to get ourselves out into the bay .... it died seconds later :(
What a horrible feeling! Captain Gil didn't waste a second of his time. He quickly saw that no water was being exhausted out the stern. The problem was that the bearings inside the water pump had seized. Fortunately for us, it happened just before lunch, so Gil had the staff's hour long lunch break to remove the water pump, disassemble it, miraculously unsieze the bearings, reassemble and reinstall the water pump. What a captain, I've got to say :)  Gil's fix got us to the dock.

As I post, this is where we sit. We are having the bearings replaced before we head out for the season. At least we're afloat! In other good news, the dinghy's outboard fired up just fine...

After almost two weeks, Serenada and her crew are ready for another season of cruising adventures. Stay tuned.


  1. Great for you guys---may all your problems be solved and clear skies are ahead. Got back after a 24 hr delay at the airport from our trip--was great but will take a few more days to recover. Georgie

  2. Makes me happy to be not yet retired! ...bro peter