Failed PCR Test Attempt

To check into St. Vincent and the Grenadines, we need a negative PCR test before we travel. So, after a leisurely morning, we went down to Hillsborough to visit the little clinic and take PCR tests.

But, we were too late. The days tests were already on a boat to the mainland. We'll have to come back on Wednesday, right at midday, to get tested.

That means a little more time in Carriacou, after a night in Sandy Island, we plan to sail to Petit Martinique tomorrow, following a roti recommendation.

Time on the water: 3:29
Distance covered: 4.4nm
Avg speed: 1.2kts
Max speed: 8.5kts

Navionics Track

Anse la Roche

While Sandy Island is a lovely anchorage, Anse la Roche is one step up. It's a small little bay, towards the North West corner of Carriacou, barely big enough for 1 yacht to anchor in.

When we were here in August, there were about 6 yachts anchored here, which was a bit tight for comfort. But today, we motored up and found it empty. We get the whole anchorage to ourselves.


It can be a little exposed in the bay, and there isn't a lot of room for anchor chain, so we ended up putting two anchors out to hold us in place. The secondary did a much better job than the primary.

A local, Tim, runs an off-the-grid beach bar here, we booked dinner with him for the second evening in the bay.

The second day, we went for a hike up the mountain behind Anse la Roche — High North, which has a well maintained path with a few spectacular view-points, and a tree-replanting project.


We snorkelled a little, and I got some time to catch up on these blog posts. The last few days have been too busy to stay on top of them.

Time on the water: 1:04
Distance covered: 3.5nm
Avg speed: 3.2kts
Max speed: 7.2kts

Navionics Track

Sandy Island

After a quick visit to the local shops and a dinghy fuel refill, we headed round the point to Sandy Island. This is one of the nicest places to anchor in Grenada. A marine reserve, relatively protected by Carriacou on one side and the little strip of Sandy Island on the other.

Lovely snorkelling and a comfortable anchorage to sleep in.

Time on the water: 0:45
Distance covered: 2.5nm
Avg speed: 3.4kts
Max speed: 7.2kts

Navionics Track

Return to Carriacou

Time to leave Grenada, and head up to Carriacou. We went up the lee side to make for a smoother ride than yesterday, but that meant we'd be almost dead into the wind for most of the day, so it was almost all motoring.

We did manage about half an hour on sails only, and another hour or two of motor-sailing, before we turned into the eye of the wind, around half-way up Grenada.


Stopped for a late lunch and swim Corn Store Bay, and then pushed up through the gap towards Carriacou. It was pretty slow going, against a strong current and wind.

We had thought of stopping for the night behind Frigate Island, at Mark's suggestion. Apparently there is good snorkelling there. But the anchorage reviews we read didn't sound great, so we pushed on to Tyrell Bay and managed to get the anchor down just before sunset.

Not the most exciting day, with so much motoring, but it's good to be out on the water, and moving again.

Time on the water: 8:34
Distance covered: 42.6nm
Avg speed: 5kts
Max speed: 10.2kts

Navionics Track

Launch Day

We gave ourselves 10 days to prepare to launch, but things ended up dragging on a bit, and we ended up delaying the launch by a couple of days. We hadn't made firm commitments with contractors in the yard, to book their time while we were there to work on the boat, and so some of this work happened rather late.

Finally, after 2 long weeks on the hard, it's splash day. We got almost all the work we wanted to, done. But it did come right down to the wire, with a mechanic coming for a final check, while the yard crew waited to get the yacht on the move to the travel-lift.

Johnny and his team in the yard carefully edged the yacht out from its corner in the back, through a gap they'd cleared in the days before, and out to the travel-lift. The travel-lift can measure the weight - we came in at 32 tons.


The launch went very smoothly, but I noticed I'd installed a sea-cock with its handle upside down, when we were in the water, so we had to be pulled up again so I could quickly flip it.

Mark had come to help us with the launch. We had to drop the stern tower and the back-stays, to fit into Spice Island's travel-lift. We'd really struggled to get the back-stays reattached, after the haul-out, but they went in quickly and easily, with Mark's touch.

Motored out around the point, into a strong swell and head-wind, to anchor in Woburn Bay. The crew were feeling a little queasy, this wasn't the nicest first day at sea experience, especially after a hot morning in the yard sun.

When the wind died down that afternoon, Mark came over again to help get the fore-sails up.

It's only when you're re-doing things that you really understand the choices and compromises that were made before. In re-rigging the fore-sails, we ran one furler line down the port side, assuming it'd make sense to split them up. But then the winch setup doesn't work as well, as the main sheet comes to the port fore winch. We'll re-rig it on a quiet day at anchor, somewhere.

Took Mark out for dinner at Le Phare Bleu marina, to say thanks, and goodbye for the next few weeks.

Time on the water: 1:32
Distance covered: 5nm
Avg speed: 3.2kts
Max speed: 7.9kts

Navionics Track

Yard Life

A new season begins.

But first, there's a lot of yard work for us to do. We gave ourselves 10 days to get the yacht ready, with the understanding that we'd likely end up extending a couple of days. Everything runs on Caribbean Time, us included. It gets very got in the middle of the day, and having a nap in an air-conditioned room just seems like the right thing to do... :)

The pre-launch list was long. The critical things were to get the bottom painted and install some (mostly electrical) equipment, while we had access to parts and help. The dinghy was also due for a re-paint, topsides and underneath.

John and Clare concentrated on the paint, while I was digging in the boat's navigation instruments, figuring out how things were wired and trying to improve the setup.


At the moment, we can't use the boat's VHF radio, without turning on all the navigation equipment, because it gets its GPS position through a convoluted NMEA 0183 chain. And if it doesn't get a GPS position, it complains loudly. This should have been easy to fix, just connect it directly to the GPS's NMEA output. However, that upset the chart-plotter, that receives DSC Distress Messages from the VHF radio over NMEA 0183. After a lot of fiddling, I concluded that the way things were wired before was the only way that kept the chart-plotter happy. So be it. At least I understand why things are the way they are, now, and have the network documented.

The big electrical change we needed to make was to install a Battery Monitor (a Victron BMV-712). The existing monitor was ancient and we could only gauge state of charge from a voltage reading. We got this professionally installed, as we were expecting to have to re-wire the battery banks to accommodate it. In the end we kept the current wiring to save a lot of time. The batteries will probably need to be replaced at the end of the season, and that would be a good time to re-design the system.

The boom vang's gas struts were at the end of their life, when we bought the yacht. Rather than replace them (for another couple of years' life), we decided to replace it with a stainless-steel sprung vang. The local riggers at Turbulence provided and fitted it.

We removed the some big chunky electronics, an old CRT TV, DVD player, and CD changer, freeing up a cupboard in the saloon. The WiFi router and Raspberry Pi can live in there, instead, with lots of room for other storage.

Cleaning up the wiring for it meant getting the ceiling panels down for the first time, and cutting our first holes in the aluminium structure.


While this was going on, John and Clare cleaned salt off the water-line of the hull, with acid, lightly sanded the old antifouling paint, and painted new coats on.


I got the help of an electrician's assistant, for a day, and we ran cables for some USB charge points, a UV water filter, and an AIS transceiver.

I didn't realise that the AIS transceiver would require its own GPS antenna (I assumed it could be fed from the boat's NMEA 0183 bus), but it did and we ended up sticking an old passive GPS antenna we found on the yacht, up above a ceiling board in a spot that got good reception. Less than perfect, but it works. Ships can now see us on their charts, and you can follow our position online.

The engine got the rest of its annual service, replacing the sea-water impeller and coolant. The generator got a new impeller, too. Far easier to get that one out than the engine, which was a long hard fight that my knuckles are still recovering from.

I won't go into all the other jobs we did. But there were many. The main head got a rebuild, with a new motor and impeller, for example.

We drove around the island a little, mostly in pursuit of boutique fabric for cushion covers, but also after good local food, especially jerk chicken, and roti.

Sandra's Roti came highly recommended, and was fantastic.


Haul Out

The day has arrived. We postponed the haul-out several times over the last month, as we were in no hurry to leave the Caribbean. But we were finally approaching some unavoidable deadlines. I had an (online) conference, DebConf 21 that I was helping run, and needed to be on shore with good Internet.

So, with the help of our friends Mark and Michael, again, we motored around the point to Prickly Bay and slowly backed into the Spice Island Marina slip. Mark guided me through the final manoeuvres, and we got the yacht hauled out.


Spice Island Marina's travel lift is slightly too small for us, so we had to take down our back-stays and the stern tower with the wind generator. Taking them down was easy, but getting them up again was a challenge. We had to call in the riggers at Turbulence Marine for help, when we just couldn't get one of the back-stay fittings to line up with the hydraulic ram it attaches to.

Then started a crazy scramble as we did as much preparation as we could in the next 2 days, before flying back to Canada. Some things got forgotten in the rush, and many postponed to pre-launch, but the essentials were done. The water maker was pickled in the morning, before we hauled out. The engines had their oil changed, and got a good fresh water flush. The main sail was parcelled and all the gaps plugged with old towels, to discourage birds from nesting in them. And many other little jobs, like storing everything removable on deck, down below, greasing locks, etc.

We'd finally received our carving and marking notice for the new registration, so we got a local print shop to cut our new name in vinyl.


Boat yard life is hard and hot, thankfully Spice Island marina have some air-conditioned bedrooms to rent, so you can have a cold shower and recover from the heat, after a few hours of pouring sweat off in the sun.

We managed to go out for dinner to celebrate my birthday, and thank our helpers, at La Phare Bleu marina in the middle of the crazyness.

Next time we haul out, we'll try to schedule more than 2 days to pack the yacht away. It can be done, but it's not really long enough.

Time on the water: 1:04
Distance covered: 2.6nm
Avg speed: 2.4kts
Max speed: 9.1kts

Navionics Track

Dropping the Sails

The sailing community is amazingly helpful. Mark, and Michael (our broker) came to help us lower our foresails, and get the boat ready to go on the hard.

They also suggested that we join them in Secret Harbour, which were only too happy to do after that terrible night in Prickly Bay.

The sails were wet, from the storms the night before. So we went out and sailed back and forth a bit, to dry them out in the sun. Under Mark's expert supervision, we got them dropped and neatly flaked and bundled for storing below.

We left the mainsail on the boom, because we were only going to be away for a couple of months, and it's a big, heavy sail.

Secret Harbour was wonderfully calm, and we caught up on the sleep again.

Time on the water: 2:28
Distance covered: 7.7nm
Avg speed: 3.1kts
Max speed: 7.3kts

Navionics Track

To Prickly Bay

We set off past London Bridge, a rock with a hole in it:


And sailed down the windward side of Grenada, to Prickly Bay, in the South, where we were scheduled to haul out.

The anchorage was pretty crowded, but we found a spot near our friend Mark, on Pom. And went out for dinner with him and the brokers we bought the yacht through, and another happy client of theirs.


It wasn't very protected in Prickly Bay. A rainstorm hit the bay, and we spun dangerously close to a neighbour, our dinghy probably bumped into it on the way round. Later in the storm, our anchor chain was pulling directly under this neighbour's keel, looking like it could be scraping on it. No damage done, it was all fine in the morning, but a terrible night's sleep.

I don't have any desire to anchor in Prickly Bay again.

Time on the water: 4:50
Distance covered: 29.8nm
Avg speed: 6.2kts
Max speed: 9.2kts

Navionics Track

Finally! Out of Quarantine

After a long overnight passage, taking a day off to do nothing isn't hard. And being required to take a few more for quarantine was just as easy.

But the ticking clock of our return to Canada meant we were very happy to be able to move again.

Finally, with our long-awaited PCR test results, we were freed from quarantine, and able to check into Grenada. So, after the formalities, we started to head down to the main island of Grenada.

We were only able to leave fairly late in the day, so stopped in Corn Store Bay at Ronde Island, for the night. This is a tiny little anchorage, with space for maybe 5 yachts, off an uninhabited island, near the north tip of Grenada.


On the way down, I recorded some silly video segments for the DebConf 21 Online conference opening.

To our surprise, our friends on Atmospheric were anchored in the bay, so we got to say goodbye, before our haul-out.

Time on the water: 1:49
Distance covered: 11.5nm
Avg speed: 6.2kts
Max speed: 11kts

Navionics Track