15/03/2016 – Yes, we arrived!

When John came on dock soon after 0700 the wind and our speed had both dropped, it began to look as if we should have made best speed all night. We reset the sails, sailed a bit, gybed the mainsail, sailed a bit further, reset the sails again…. The wind wasn’t that stable and we met a counter current which pushed us sideways so, as we tried to change the boat’s heading, the wind angle to the sails changed. The wind finally built as we approached Pointe Salines, the SW corner of Grenada. We had about 6 nM to run, 18 knots of breeze, 6 knots of boat speed and 1hr 40m before our ETA. The only problem facing us was not how to slow down but rather how to reach the line in time as the wind was now from almost dead ahead. We fought hard, or at least John did, to cross the line 2m 30s before our predicted ETA. After nearly 30 years of owning a yacht I still do not like beating close hauled, as close to the wind as possible with the boat heeling over at a horrible angle! It probably wasn’t that horrible an angle but… The marina staff helped us with our bow lines, tied to thick ropes which they pulled up from the depths, the stern lines tied to the pontoon. Here, with minimal swell and a stable, floating pontoon, it is quite safe to tie up close to the pontoon and put our plank from a step on the transom across to the pontoon. It’s not perfect but it’s a whole lot better than Fortaleza or Salvador. We didn’t achieve much Sunday afternoon but I did clear the forward cabin, put fresh sheets on the bed ready for an undisturbed night’s sleep. It should have been undisturbed but I forgot to turn off my i-pad alarms for the 3 hourly log recording! I barely stirred as I cancelled first the midnight alarm then the 0600 one. We didn’t seem to achieve much on Monday either. We woke up to hearing Chat Eau Bleu arriving next to us. Just after breakfast Allegro arrived, having experienced engine problems on the approach to Port St Louis. Luc went out in his RIB to standby in case their engine stopped again and escorted them in. John spent the morning clearing in with customs and immigration then trying to connect his laptop to the modem and free internet supplied by the marina. In the end he had to ask for help from Luc, one of the most helpful people we have met. This whole group is very friendly and always willing to help but Luc and Sarah both do a lot more. Late afternoon Wayward Wind reached the finish line but had no engine. Luc went out to tow them in, then the rest of the fleet on the dock pulled them into position alongside the dock. The camaraderie in this group is really fantastic and we are so lucky to have joined them. Today we have finally sorted out the problem with the roller furling genoa. The problems arose from a combination of three things. In Cape Town the rigging check revealed we needed a new forestay, the rigger cut off about an inch of damaged material from the top of the foil, a metal extrusion which has twin grooves for the sail luffs and rotates around the forestay on a swivel at the top and a rotating drum at the bottom. The second event was when we hoisted the genoa again in Salvador and the bottom of the foil was no longer attached to the drum assembly. John just shortened the joiner which had slipped down, leaving the foil untouched. The final event was John’s decision to replace the metal shackles top and bottom with soft shackles because they are easier to undo without the use of any tools. The extra length introduced by the soft shackles combined with the shortened foil length resulted in the top swivel jumping off the foil and jamming between the forestay and mast. He has now been up the mast three times, once to investigate the problem, a second visit to cut away the soft shackle, persuade the swivel to sit back on the foil and tie the swivel to the sail and inspect the forestay for any damage, the third visit was after we had unrolled the sail, dropped it, replaced all the soft shackles with traditional ones, rehoisted the sail and rolled it away. He took photos of the top of the foil and swivel. We will now find a rigger to replace a length of foil and the top trim piece which, in all probability, broke off when we first put the genoa back on in Cape Town. We still have a few minor issues to sort out but also the ongoing saga of the Fischer Panda. We have been in contact with Austria who have supplied us with a name and contact details of someone in Grenada. As soon as I give John the laptop back he can trawl through his emails and make contact! Soon we will start doing some of the tourist stuff here! Joyce

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