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Swingin' on a Star
Ship's log for the circumnavigating Saint Francis 50 catamaran, "Swingin on a Star".
Anode Baggage
10/08/2007, Grenada Marine

This is a nice shot of the fishing line we found spooled around the drive shaft of one of the sail drives when we changed the anode.

The Culprit
10/07/2007, Grenada Marine

Grenada Marine did a great job hauling Blue Star on time and getting the bottom painted quickly. We also got some critical sage advice from Craig, the gentleman who runs the mechanical area.

When we unbolted the motor we discovered that the starboard motor mount bolt on the engine side was sheered off. The following is speculation but our best guess at the issue.

This likely happened a year and a half ago when the engine was originally damaged by a mismatched folding prop installed at the factory. The dealers replaced the motor and then had to pull it and reinstall it due to another problem. We are guessing that this is the window within which the mount was broken. Regardless you can tell that the motor mount was broken a while ago due to the high gloss polish on the bolt.

Enter tropical storm Felix. So Blue Star is docked beam to the wind and swell and with one motor mount missing. This allows the motor to rock port to starboard, which doesn't happen much... unless you're beam to a tropical storm. The gasket around the sail drive was probably weakened by the loose motor over the prior months but the violence of Felix caused the crack to sheer through the gasket. Voila, hole in boat.

Saildrive Reinstall
10/06/2007, Grenada Marine

When we went to reinstall the saildrive Jay really wanted to do so by lifting the drive leg up from the bottom. The problem was the hull manufacturer cut a rectangular hole for a round drive plate. Almost, but not quite big enough. The laminate in the area that needed to be trimmed out was thin almost as if it was supposed to be cut out.

Jay is not shy. He grabbed a saw and started hacking on the hull. A moment later the hole was large enough to reinstall the drive leg from below (not to mention remove it from below next time!). This made reassembling the drive much easier.

Jay faired the newly exposed glass and gave it a good epoxy coating.

Saint David's Bay
10/05/2007, Saint David's Bay

We sailed over to Saint David's Bay and anchored just off shore from Grenada Marine today. Saint David's is on the eastern most end of the south side of Grenada. Jay brought Blue Star over yesterday to haul out and we wanted to be close by so that we could help with the work.

Grenada Marine
10/04/2007, Saint David's Bay

Jay on Blue Star fired up his Yanmar engines a couple of weeks ago right after Felix and was alarmed by an alarm. The "water in saildrive diaphragm" light was flashing with the buzzer howling.

When he checked he found that his port gasket around his SD50 saildrive had failed and needed to be replaced. A small pool of water was sitting on a level with the top of the gasket. No damage to the gasket was visible and no one wanted to mess with it until the boat could be hauled.

The only place that can do a beamy cat in this area is Grenada Marine and they were packed when Jay first inquired. Today, two weeks later, was the day they could get him out.

I wanted to give him a hand and learn as much as possible along the way. So I joined him in Saint David's by car. The haul out went fine and the GM folks did a nice job. Once blocked up we set about getting things set for the yard guys to do a coat of paint while we pulled the gasket.

Hah. Not so easy. Jay did most of the work with me spotting and helping out here and there. First we had to remove the prop. Next we had to unbolt the bell housing, then unbolt the engine to slide it forward. Next we had to lift the drive leg/bell housing assembly up and out of the boat to work on it.

It was about a million degrees out and the sun just baked straight down into the engine room. Working under the boat was better but the lovely smell of Micron 66 made me feel fairly polluted all day long.

Chili Cook Off
10/02/2007, Martin's Marina

We have parted ways with our friends Fred and Cindy on Kelp Fiction II several times now. They left Lauderdale Marine Center before we did and it took us months to catch up with them in the British Virgin Islands. We spent lots of time together in the BVI and traveled from the BVI to Martinique together. Then we had to press ahead to meet some other friends in Saint Lucia. We caught back up with KFII at Rodney Bay in Saint Lucia and traveled to Grenada together but split up three times due to different routes and friends visiting. Now they are heading to California for a month and we are going on to Tobago. It is fairly likely we will not see them for a very long time.

A going away dinner seemed in order, especially since they didn't have any food left after cleaning their boat out for its month of storage. We invited Tami and Jay from Blue Star, which just about includes everyone living on the dock here in Martin's Marina. Hideko and I did a mega shopping trip to the Grand Anse Mall where the IGA is. We returned to Swingin' on a Star loaded down then spent the rest of the day giving the boat a good cleaning.

I love to cook and I'm decent at it. Hideko is a great cook and cooks for us almost every day. I tend to cook the large meals when we have company. Hideko and I would really love to go to a Cordon Blue school, or something similar, and get some real polish though. In the mean time I try to come up with interesting things for the menu when we have guest over.

We had a nice meal with the crew and spent a great last few hours together. Here's the menu we printed for the table:

Swingin' on a Star
Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Guest List
• Cindy
• Frederick "Ricky-Baby"
• Tami
• Jay
• Hideko
• Randy

• Sweet and Savory Chicken Tostadas with a Cinnamon Whisky Cream Sauce
• 2002 Babcock Pinot Noir, Tall and Sassy Californian

• Green Salad in a Watermelon Vinaigrette
• 2004 Mendoza Malena, Argentina Red

Main Course
• Texas Firehouse Chili, garnished with shredded cheese, fresh red onion, sour cream and vine ripened tomatoes
• Tart Apples in a Lime Cr่me Fresh
• Garlic Toast
• 2005 Barton & Guestier Cuv้e Sp้ciale, French Table Wine

• Three layer Blueberry Cooler (Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, Blue Berries, and Sweet Vanilla Cream with shaved chocolate on top served in a wine glass)
• 2003 Kendall-Jackson Pinot Noir

10/17/2007 | Pablo Ramos
Mmmmmm!!! Chili! Wine! Chili, bread, chili, sour cream and more chili. So for thanksgiving Lou and I are taking Lou's mom to Las Vegas for Thanksgiving and play bingo. Should be much slower than the usual Texas hold em'. Gonna try and get a game in. We are Hititng the T.I. for Chicken Mole. Oh and for Thanksgiving we are having all you can eat SUSHI! It's a cool little place lilly and Jason found, I'll send you the info so the next time you hit Vegas or anyother of your sailing buddies want to check it out you can recommend it. Awwww MAN!!!! CHILI!!!
10/17/2007 | Randy
Sushi is always welcome here. We only get good sushi when we catch it...
09/20/2007, Saint Georges

We decided to ship few final things to the boat before taking off to Tobago next week. Our mail forwarding service has been shipping us things FedEx and it only takes two days to get here from the US. Not bad. I have now discovered that you can actually clear things through customs in about an hour yourself, if you know what you're doing, which I did not until today.

My first stop was a the FedEx office in Saint Georges with my FedEx delivery notice. It was worth a try, right? Perhaps not, but I needed them to berate my attempt just long enough to discover what paperwork I was missing. They obliged and informed me that I needed to get a provisional release from customs. Provisional, hmmm. I didn't like the sound of that but I dutifully marched down the Carenage in the blazing sun to the shipping port to see customs. After bouncing around the customs building a bit I finally wound up in an office with the right officer.

"You don't have a proper invoice", he said. I was unruffled. This is what they always say, no matter how complete your invoice is. The invoice read, "Computer Software: $400", "DVDs: $75", or something similar. I asked what the problem was. He said, "what is computer software?" This did ruffle me. "Programs for a computer?", I offered. "Yes but is it a CD?", he demanded. "uh, why yes", I responded with no real idea as to whether it was a CD or DVD, but fairly certain that it did not matter. "Ok that's what I need to know", he replied. "How many DVDs?", was the next shot across the bow. "Uh, 75 divide by 20, approximately 4", I responded, trying to maintain a tone of respect. The dialog continued for a few more rounds. Once it had been made entirely clear how inadequate my invoice was he set about preparing the sheet of paper I needed. The expected break to chat with any of his friends who might be walking by included I was in there probably a mere twenty minutes.

I emerged from the customs office and, after shooing off the ravenous customs brokers lurking about the dock (who will charge you $50 US for this process), I made my way back around to the other side of the port where the FedEx office sits facing the waterfront. "Hi, here's my delivery notice and the customs form you asked for", I said with an upbeat air. "Where's your permit to import ship's stores?", came the retort. "What is that?", I said meekly with a down beat air. "You need it to get the special yacht-in-transit duty reduction", said the lady in a what-kind-of-idiot-are-you tone.

Perhaps I'll just pay the extra, I thought. "What would it cost to get the package as is?", I ventured? "Oh, you'd like to know, wouldn't you? Well, sure enough I'm going to tell you then." This all in a fairly curt manner with rising exasperation. "Four million, seven hundred and thirty five dollars EC", she said. Not really but it was something like three hundred US for a box of stuff worth maybe five hundred. "I'll just get the permit then, why don't I?".

In my head I said, "why didn't you tell me that I needed a permit the last time?" No, better not go public with that one until after I have the package. Instead I queried, "is this the last document I will need to collect my package?". A hasty yes was offered as the lady disappeared into the back room. I had to subpoena another employee to find out where I get such and article. The customs office you cleared in at, was the response. Lucky for me I cleared in at the Grenada Yacht Club this time around, only a little farther than the port customs office. Somewhere on the south shore would have required a taxi and probably another day.

The quest continued. I hiked around the Carenage, up over the hill between the Carenage and the Lagoon and down to the yacht club. I was terribly fortunate not to have run across any of these facilities during a holiday, after hours or on a lunch break. The customs guy at the yacht club was watching a James Bond flick on the laptop and was fairly put out that I should interrupt him with business. All the same he gave me the form to fill out and upon my return signed and stamped it a few times and went back to his movie.

Back out into the blazing sun, this time armed with a Coca Cola, I marched back to the FedEx office. Assured of my just cause and righteous array of paperwork, I yet maintained an even disposition to avoid engendering yet another form requirement. I neutrally presented my paperwork, all of which had thus far been acquired at no cost, and waited. I had to print and sign in a huge ledger in the back and pay $40US, was offered a banana (a prize for perseverance?), and sent upon my way.

As I walked down the street I reflected upon the day; delivery notice [you get from your marina or use Island Water World], customs clearance [from the port], permit to import ship's stores [from the customs office you cleared in at], package pickup [at FedEx], at about 15 minutes each if you know what you're doing. It dawned on me that not one person ever required a single piece of ID or legal documentation (other than those I acquired that afternoon without showing ID or legal documentation). The only thing I had on me at the start of the day to prove I deserved this package was the failed delivery notice from FedEx. Anyway, it's nice to have some new movies to watch.

09/24/2007 | Pablo Ramos
Man... Had I seen that guy watching a bBond flick while on duty, I would have busted out with a spoiler comment and told how it end in the most innocent mannor known to me.
10/04/2007 | Rosario
I went through the exact same thing when we were there. I had several shipments of gear sent preparing for the crossing, and each one was a different adventure of pure chaos. In other words, I feel your pain 100%!

Hope all is going well. Someday we'll bump into you again. All our best, David and Tni
10/15/2007 | Randy
Pabs: You would never get anything through customs, remind me to leave you on the boat when getting mail...

David: Great to hear from you! Hideko and I follow your travels. It will be a couple years before we make it to Europe but your blog is a guiding light for us. If you're not going to the South Pac you should come join us for a while.

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