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BRISTOL MAYBE October 6, 2015

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The boat came in today and the store says we should have the Bristol from customs tomorrow afternoon. They will then deliver it to our marina. That is nice. Tomorrow we are having a small tropical wave come through with showers. That may help to cool it down. The wind has been strong as the sun comes up then dies down through out the day. We are anchored out by the headland and get some strong gusts along with the dying breeze. The temps have actually got to 90 degrees and the humidity has gone up with the temps. Hotter longer with more humidity then last year. By this time last year the evening had started to cool down. It is still 85 sticky degrees out and it is 8 pm.

Today I got the 4th seal coat of varnish on my taft rail. That is the part with the spindles. Now all I need is 7 coats of Bristol and that will finish phase 2. Yesterday I started at 6:30 with sanding and a coat of varnish. I have been doing the 6:30 am routine for the past week so I can get the tedious stuff done before it gets really hot. Yesterday I started on the main cap rail that goes around the boat. I do that in the afternoon when I have shade from the awning. That has worked the last two days. Now I start an area that is not in the shade. Not looking forward to that.

We have 2 tropical waves this week with the one starting on Friday having squalls with it. They will blow 30+ knots. Tomorrow will have lighter rains blowing in the mid 20’s. Therefore as the sun went down I took down the awning. In the morning I am taking the shopping bus to the hardware store and the boat store to get supplies to finish this miserable task.

All the scraping has been done with the aid of a heat gun. That means we run the generator. When the generator is on the air conditioning is on. The mate disappears below with a book and her A/C.

I am trying to get done in time to leave for the island north before our visa expires around the 20th. That cost EC$70 for 3 months. Even if you leave the next day, still 70 EC.

We will miss Halloween which is to bad. There must be twice as many kids around this year. Lots of boats with 3 kids, 2 dog and a cat. I do not understand.

My work list is getting bigger while the varnishing is taking over my life. Several of the items on the list must be taken care before we leave. We will be heading back to the states this coming year. Mary wants to be in the Bahamas by April 1st. Grandkid’s spring break. We do not plan to be back to the US until around July 1st. We plan to spend the Hurricane season in the Gulf and then when it gets cold head back to the Bahamas. Actually hope the government will take the final restrictions off going to Cuba. I really want to go early after all restrictions are taken off. I feel the US developers are poised on our shores ready to make Havana look like Miami Beach. I first want to see it the way it is.

SPINDLES September 28, 2015

Posted by sailingnightwatch in Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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I may have mentioned that there are 15 spindles surrounding our aft deck. That is where we have been for the last week. Using a heat gun to remove the old varnish then sand it with 80 and 120 grit sand paper. Then it is washed the day before the first coat of varnish and then wiped down with acetone the morning you start. Tomorrow I start the varnishing. I put on 3 coats of varnish then seven coats of Bristol. That is a two part acrylic type of clear coat. I swore I would never use it again, but here I go. I ran out after three coats of Bristol on the cockpit cap rail. I have been waiting for the boat to come in. It is suppose to be here next Monday. That will give me plenty of time to put down the varnish coats.

Once this is finished, I only have the cap rail that goes around the main deck to do. That is fairly easy, normally. I have always been able to do it from a pier. This time I will have to lay over the rail to reach the outside of the rail. I usually have to visit a chiropractor after this. We will see.

I am still giving it some thought as to whether I should do the cap rail at all. Sitting here I can think it really does not need it. Then in the bright sun, I know it looks terrible and needs to be done.

On the social side, we had 7 friends over for heavy hor’ederves and bring your own poison. I have no idea how you spell that and neither does spell check. You know what I mean. Little meat balls, dips, ham and cheese rolled up. That kind of stuff. We had a lot of fun. One of our guest has left for Trinidad and then they are going back to the USVI to pick up his meds and get checked over. He had open heart surgery about 8 years ago and still gets checked up. After he gets checked up they are off to the Sand Blast Islands near Panama. They have been there before and think it is the best. They have been out here 6-7 years. Real Cruisers.

Have I mentioned how warm it has been. The last couple weeks there has been a tropical storm Ida drifting around north of the Caribbean. It has shut off the trade winds. What normally plows 15-20 knots is now blowing 5-10 knots. Not enough to keep the boat cool. The water is probably in the mid 80’s. You jump in then get out and stand in the wind to cool down. Repeat as needed.

We have dinghy drifts on the night of the full moon. Well last night there was an eclipse, blood moon, harvest noon, and some other things that will not happen again till 2033. I doubt I need to worry about that one.

Time for bed. After finishing sanding this morning, I filled the aft fuel tank. I carry the fuel from the marina to the anchored boat in 5 gallon jerry cans. I have been doing this since I got bad fuel in the Bahamas. I use a filter to make sure there is no water or junk in the fuel. Tomorrow after varnishing I will fill the forward tank. I put 30 gallons in the aft tank and need about 20 gallons in the forward tank. I am getting old for throwing around those jerry cans. Knock on wood, I have not had fuel problems now for about a year and a half. Having your engine stop due to bad fuel when you need your engine is not fun. It took quite a bit of rough sailing before I had problems when going into an anchorage in Puerto Rico. Clogged up filters and burned up fuel pump. About 3 hours of hot messy work before I got it going again. I do change fuel filters a lot more often then I used to. I also drain the water separator at the same time.

A BUSY WEEK September 21, 2015

Posted by sailingnightwatch in Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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I finished prepping the cockpit cap rail. That included 3 coats of varnish. Then I got 3 coats of Bristol laid on before I ran out of Bristol. Today I found out that not only did I run our, but the whole island is without. Their boat comes in around the first week in October. In the mean time I have started on the second and worst phase. That is the taft rail around the back of the boat. Back to the borrowed heat gun and running the generator.

Today I put the finishing coat of varnish on the wheel. I do that at least once a year. I took it down to bare wood when we first got the boat. Swore I would never do that again. It is an old fashion style wheel with 12 spokes ran through 2 rings and the hub. The kind of wheel that people use for coffee tables. It took me a week to take it to bare wood, working with it fastened to a work bench. Just to many little parts that you have to scrape and sand. So todays projects were a light sanding and varnishing of the wheel and changing oil in the generator so it is ready to run the heat gun and sanders.

On the social side of last week, we went to a birthday party for one of the ladies we had dinner with the previous week. We did that at the restaurant at the marina. It was hamburger night, so we all had hamburgers. That was a fun evening.

Thursday we did a tour. We started at the largest distillery on the island. It is called Clarks Court Distillery. They produce at least a dozen different brands of rum. During the 50’s it was a sugar refinery with rum as a by product. The sugar industry was died, therefore, rum became the main product using molasses for its sugar. The molasses is imported from South America.

The old sugar refining equipment is still there and it has been turned into a museum. I have been in several sugar refineries mostly dating from the slave period. It is a labor intensive crop and Grenada is a very rugged island and does not have a lot of flat land to raise a large crop like cane.

After touring the sugar end of the plant, you move into the distilling part. That is a transition from large steam driven roll crushers to large vats, lots of piping and separation towers. Just a little larger scale then they had back home in the woods. They import I believe 100,000 gallons of molasses a year and distill a good number of gallons of pure alcohol. This is then blended into the various products they sell. Some of them are very good. I did not realize they have a distiller like a brewery has a brew master. He is responsible for the consistency and quality of the alcohol. That gives him the base for blending the various products. It is a continuous process, but like making paint, there is slight variations from keg to keg. It is aged in used whisky kegs. After they uses the kegs a few times they are made into furniture.

After visiting the sampling room for a while, we headed up into the rain forest for lunch and the next adventure of the day. Lunch was very good.

After lunch we went tubing down this river. Rapids, rocks, boulders, deep pools, the hole bit. Both the mate and I capsized once. I banged a knee and elbow, but no blood, so I survived. It was fun. I do not like going into the rapids backwards, but that seems to be the way God intended. You have to hang out arms and legs to push off rocks to get headed the right way and keep your rear end up so it does not bounce of the rocks. I would do it again. The mate, not so sure. Kind of like “been there, done that”.

So much for that week, time to get back to the scraping and sanding.
Make sure to look at my Facebook page for the pictures of the day.


Posted by sailingnightwatch in Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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I guess they have Dog Days all over. The local weather people read the same forecasts day in and day out. Ours is temps in the mid 80’s. showers in the morning, possible showers in the PM, scorching sun in between. Wind out of the east 12-17, gusting to 20. That’s it. Actually not all that bad. The only bad is mid 80’s, scorching sun, 12 kts. of wind and no A/C. The boat gets warm inside. Taking a dip is only a few steps down the ladder into the water. Hey, somebody has to do this stuff. The water is about 80 degrees. Pretty refreshing. Remember I lived most of my life in Florida and any water below 80 degrees is cold.

I started wooding out the boat last week. That is when you take the finish back to bare wood. I use a heat gun. Yea I know it is already hot enough. Well, not quite. I got the cockpit all prepped and 3 coats of varnish on followed by 3 coats of Bristol, so far. The cockpit coaming takes a lot of abuse and Bristol holds up very well.

I am ready to start on phase 2 which is the rails and 15 spindles. I hate those, but they are in worse shape and need to be worked on next.

Last week we got in our anniversary dinner. We went to a resort on the east side of the island. Went with 3 other couples and had a great dinner in fantastic surroundings with wonderful people.

Well, other then eating, swimming, enjoying great friends and surviving the dog days of summer, life could not be much better. I know those of you up north are getting to feel the first brushes of cooler temperatures. We will not feel that for a couple more month. I do look forward to the cooler evening and diner in the cockpit. Oh, dream on, back to scrapping varnish.


Posted by sailingnightwatch in Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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I have this boat list of stuff. Some are minor spares, unless you need that piece, then it is a major spare. Some are for the water maker. Since the mate is the Water Czar, those spares moved up on the list. I also lost the control valve for the gas grill. Like over the side. I do not grill. Something about the way I cook on the grill. The mate thinks it is a pain, so we do not use the grill very much. But it is hot. Using the grill would be a good thing.

If you had not noticed, it has been a hot summer almost every where. That also means in Grenada. Now I am not complaining. Because we are a little speck of land in a great big body of water, our temperature varies from day to night about 5 degrees. The humidity is normally in the 50% range. When a tropical wave passes by it will get up to 70%. That is muggy. Day time highs, mid 80’s. No 90’s, no 100’s That is why they call it Paradise. Oh, the difference between summer and winter…, about 7-8 degrees. Now I did not mention the sun. That is different. It is searing! You do not want to be out in it. You just start to sweat and get hot. We get about 2 months of that sun. I feel for those who work outside. I like hot and sun, but this combination got me beat. The poor mate sweats so much I expect to find her sitting shriveled up like a raisin.

So all of a sudden, this cash shows up to get spares. Not all, but the valve and paint thinner so I can do some of my bright work. It has not been touched in 2 years and looks bad. It is getting to me, so tomorrow I start taking the cockpit cap rail down to bare wood. The fitting for the water maker? Not one at the boat store. Maybe on the next boat. Island life.

With the stash, we went to lunch on Saturday at a little marina that does a little steak special. It is good and is only about $10 US. Last year it was a “must do” on Saturday. This year we have not got into the habit. I think it might have started. You get a small steak, French fries, a salad and a small helping of cooked onions in a sauce that I can not describe other then it is good. And a beer. All for $27 EC’s That is Eastern Caribbean. The currency in the island south of the French West Indies. Tied to the US dollar 2.7 EC’s to 1 US. Helps to keep your math skills up. So, life is good. But it is hot!

Today started a week of 3 tropical waves. It is like a cold front during the winter up north. About every 3 days you get a change. Once in a while it is a blizzard. With us it means squally weather, but it could be a hurricane. We are below the hurricane belt…. But Ivan came through here 11 years ago today. About blew the island away. Agriculture wise it is just coming back. This is the Spice Island and many of those trees take years to grow back and start producing.

The squalls come in a line, does not last very long, usually, and can dump a lot of rain. Between the squalls comes the sun, and the humidity. The squalls also have wind from 25 – 35 knots. Or more if God wants. That means no awning for the boat. Those winds can tear it up. Which means more heat inside. Therefore, I took it down this morning after the early rain. Good thing, this afternoon and evening it has been squally. Did I mention how hot the sun is.

BACK IN GRENADA August 31, 2015

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We had hoped there would be a space in Hog Island to anchor. No such luck. The place is more crowded then before. Therefore, it was back to Mt Hartman. It was also very crowded and we ended up on the west side of the bay. That is good and potentially very bad. The good is that there is more breeze and steadier then on the east side. The bad is that we are about 40 feet from a reef. If we would drag, we would not have time to avoid hitting the reef. That means we have to be careful during squalls and if we know it is going to be stormy, insure we have the awning down. Do not need 400 square feet of awning area to help us drag anchor. So far so good. We had the awning down for 2 days at the end of last week and got it back up Sunday. The awning will cut the inside temperature by about 5 degrees. It also makes it nice to sit under the bimini and enjoy the breeze.

We will set here till we get bored. That usually takes a few weeks. We will go up to the island in the Grenadines and spend some time in a couple islands that are still outside the hurricane box the we must stay out of for insurance coverage.

And then there was the major disaster of the week. Saturday night we had a squall come through and came through the hills from a different angle. The wind usually keep us pointed between northeast and southeast. This squall hit from the northwest and with a lot of rain. It rained into the engine room. In 18 years we have never had that port closed unless it was very cold. The port is located under the starboard seat in the cockpit. It is hard for the rain to get in there. Well, the 4 A.M. squall hit and the next thing we know we hear loud snapping sound coming from the engine room. The inverter which is under the starboard seat got wet and began to self destruct. We also got this smell of insulation melting. I opened the engine room door and the place was full of smoke. Used the exhaust blower in the engine room to clear the smoke and smell. I had flipped of the circuit breaker when this event started. The inverter has a built in circuit breaker that cuts out and resets. It did this so fast that it did not stay off. It may have gotten fried in the on position. I tried turning it on a couple times to only get more snapping and smoke. Its fried.

I tried to go back to bed for another hour of sleep, but that was a dumb idea. I got up, dug out the catalogs for the boat stores in Grenada and started looking up what this was going to cost. This was 1 week after we were in the yard and spent almost twice as much as we had budgeted. Those cushions and chaps really look nice. 8 A.M. I am on the phone and find a new inverter and tell them to put it aside. 8:30 A.M. I am on the shopping bus to go pick up the inverter. By 1 P.M. the new inverter is sitting on the deck in the saloon while I remove the old one. Same brand, same foot print, same wiring. 4 screws, 2 plugs and 3 wires and it is out and the new one is running. The refrigerator is getting cold and making ice for cocktail party on board this evening. Ah the cruising life.

That put next week’s anniversary dinner on hold for a couple weeks till fund start to refill the credit card. 49 years and counting. We always pay off the credit cards so we do not get socked with interest. We may get into one months worth this time. The mate has put a clamp on all spending till mid month. Oh well, that’s the cruising life.

SPLASH August 25, 2015

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Yard work is done by Friday morning and we get put back into the water in the afternoon. Then we go back to a slip and wait our dinghy chaps and upholstery. Those should be done Tuesday and Wednesday. In the mean time I will wax the topside, the mate is doing a major cleaning and maybe get in some touring.

The wax job on the hull was great. It shined almost as well as when it was just painted. The bottom job is a bottom job. It always looks the same. Hopefully it will last longer then our last job. Nothing against the last job, it is just that we are really in the tropics and things grow on your boat overnight. If you are not always on the move your prop gets enough growth to look like a basketball. And the stuff does not like to come off. When you take off a barnacle it will take the paint with it to the gelcoat. When you take the boat out it has a lot of little white spots that were barnacles. If you have not looked at our Facebook page, there are pics of our finish job.

The chaps and dinghy got returned on Tuesday as promised. They look good and I hope they last even longer then out last set.

Wednesday we were going to get our interior cushions back. It rained. Not constant, but it would quit for 5 minutes and then pour again. No cushions. We had planed on leaving Thursday, but the good weather was not till Friday or Saturday. We therefore planed a tour up this river in which the national bird rousts. It is a red egret. Suppose to be something to see. You go in the late afternoon, up this river and see them come to there nests. Well the morning was good enough to get our cushions and then the rain started again. So we got to sit in the boat and look at our new upholstery. Probably not a good thing to do. You have time to compare every bit of workmanship between the new and old. It actually turned out pretty good.

There are other pic of Chaguaramas. Throw that one at spell check. It is a heavy industry port. It seams to have 2 industries, 4 yards for yachts and support for the oil and gas industry. There were many oil drilling platforms sitting in the bay with nothing to do or place to go. The contractor I used said he had never seen it this bad for the oil industry. Enjoy your cheap gas, this to will end. There are also pictures of various support boats for the industry. Several of which I have no idea what type support they do.

There are some pics of the yard. You can see boats that are almost totally covered up while they sit and wait for their snowbird owners to return in November for some winter sailing in the 80 degree weather.

Saturday we were off for Grenada. Pics of us leaving and going through a pass with some good tidal rips and the wind wiping through the hills. There is one picture in which the center shows some land in the haze. That is Venezuela. Can not go there. The insurance company says that is a no no. Like I would want to. Real live pirates. Get kidnaped, held for ransom. Such fun. Pirates might have a hard job. They get these 2 old geezers that no one has seen in 2 years and for all the family knows could be ready to check out anyway. And they expect someone to cough up good hard earned cash for them. And these two just send pics of beautiful islands and talk about fun things they do. I don’t think we better get caught by pirates.

The trip was pretty quiet. Nice seas, just the wind was to much on the bow to make headway against the Equatorial current. So we ended up motorsailing for 19 hours. Hey, beats getting kidnaped and held for ransom.

WORK WEEK August 24, 2015

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Got a contractor I liked. But, there were quit a few small blisters. There was also a question about the compatibility of EPA approved paint and what the rest of the world uses. Not the stuff that kill everything within 50 yards, but the stuff we used a few times back. I have seen boats that come with the best from the states, get a coat of paint and have it flake off in 4 months. So for 50 bucks you put on a barrier coat to keep the two compatible. They either have a good line going or there is something to it. They sell a lot of the barrier. I figure cheep insurance. They did good work. The hull shines and the bottom looks great. Maybe not quite as good as Eric would do. I had several of the contractors come and look at the 10 year old Awlgrip job. No orange peel, no waves, sags, no drips. And that was after getting repaired from Ivan. Their painting quality just doesn’t measure up to Sue’s

The cutlass bearing turned out to be a lot easier job then we had expected. While we had the shaft out we took apart the stuffing box and looked at our in the water repair. It worked. It got us to Trinidad. But it was not to good. So I had the pros do it in the dry. They were amazed that we did it in the water. They have only worked in the dry. They were surprised we got it done as good as we did. Thank you Pat. It is easy when you get to measure precisely, slide in on a clean dry shaft and space like the book says. Hope all goes well tonight as we head back to

Grenada.All was done by Friday afternoon except the upholstery and new chaps for the dinghy. The upholstery was about 15 years old. It had held up very well, but the last 2 years really done it in. The chaps were about 3 years old. The dinghy does not just sit in the davits for weeks at a time. The dinghy is your car, truck, and bus. It is used every day. It gets banged, pushed, scraped against other dinghies, boats and pilings. It is like being in a demolition derby. Did I mention the tropical sun.

Yes I am a week behind. I will fill in on what we did this week. And about upholstery. And waxing.

ON THE HARD August 11, 2015

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This is the most well organized boatyard there is. It is a large yard with probably 60-70% long term storage. These are snowbirds that go home after Easter and do not show up again till October. The rest are like me, getting work done. All workers here are contractors that are approved by the yard. You get a contract from them that is approved by you and the contractor and then by the yard. Any changes must be approved by all three parties. Payment is made according to the contract through the yard. This eliminates a lot of who said what. I like that. So far I have seen 3 painters. Two I will get bids from in the morning, then I will make my choice. Everything is negotiable. I like that. We are having the hull cleaned and waxed. That is done by the same people doing the bottom job. We are having new chaps made for the dinghy. That will cause us to stay at least 4 days longer. I believe we got a good deal. That individual is also going to do new upholstery for the inside. The welder was here today, but we talked our way out of welding. There is welding to be done, but not onto the davits. He is to return in the morning with ideas. We shall see. Could get expensive. I have little feel for what he will come up with. I did find a boat trailer winch that is good to 1800 lbs. That would be more then adequate and it is cheap. Problem is it is steel. Steel and salt water do not get along together. The welder thought he had a better idea there, but would not tell me till he checked it out. Tomorrow.

Two surprises. The first was a real one. My cutlass bearing is worn out. The bearing does not cost much, but it is labor intensive in replacing. You have to remove my rudder, prop and shaft. Then you get to pull the bearing out. Pulling is not what really happens, it is more driven out from the inside using a special tool. They do not like to come out. Can take a lot of time. That will allow me to check out the packing gland installation.

The other surprise is whether the paint we want to use on the bottom is compatible with the old paint. I remember the brand, but not the number we used last time. The people down here do not think it is a problem since the US EPA has turned bottom paint to common house paint. One of my prospective painters has raised the question. I do know of one boater from FL who had his bottom done about 4 months ago and it is flaking off his boat. That is $1000US in paint. Not good. The prospective painter is know as a hard dealer and will tell you anything to scare you into using him. He started off by telling me the small blister that had been fixed in the past were blisters. Wrong. Well I did not go for the blister deal and that is when he shifted to compatibility. Wait till I say his price is way out of line no matter what it is and walk away. People say he does not like being flat turned down. We may see unless he is running real cheap. He does have a very good reputation. I do not like to cut my noise off to spite my face. Tomorrow could be a fun day…, or a very frustrating one.

TIME TO MOVE ON August 3, 2015

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This was a good week. Got the scratches repaired by a fellow cruiser from South Africa. From what I can ascertain he was a powder coater. They have a different name for the process, but he explained what it was and how it worked and powder coating was it. To keep his cruising kitty full, he does repair work. He did my scratches in less then 2 hours and half way through you could not find any sign of them. He is also a licensed captain for 100 ton vessels and does yacht deliveries where ever in the world. Cool guy.

His lady is Miss Kitty. Think “Gun Smoke” She is from the Grapevine Texas area and lived just a short ways from my brother and sister-in-law. She can lay on the draw like you would not believe…, darling. Neat couple. Been cruising together for 10 years. Each has a boat, hers is here and I think his is in Europe. Makes it easy if they deliver across the pond. Just get on his boat and cruise there until a job comes this way.

The mate’s back is better, but she is being very careful about what she does.

Went to a going away party for Canadian friends who sold there boat and are going back to their home in the Canadian Rockies. There to buy a motor home and visit all the provinces of Canada and all the states in the US. Then maybe get another boat. They are in their fifties, maybe 60, both have more energy then I ever had. They do a lot of hiking. There maybe something to be said for that.

Wednesday we head for Trinidad. Going there for a haul out which is when they put the boat up on jack stands and repaint the bottom and do other maintenance and upgrades. We have a wish list that will never get done. The bottom will be repainted. That is really needed. We are going to get a winch for the davits. We store the dinghy in the davits with the outboard on. Dinghy, outboard and gas weigh around 300 pounds. It is a lot to lift even with a 3 fold tackle on the motor side. I have some ideas and the people at the yard say they have built several different types. We will see. Money will determine this one. We also want to reupholster the settees and stools in the main saloon. They are about 15 years old and are getting threat bare. They really held up good and are still very confortable. Again dollars. We would like to get a new set of skins for the dinghy. Those are Sunbrella covers that protect the dinghy. Your dinghy is like your car, pickup truck and bus. It takes a lot of beating. It is used almost every day and not treated very gently. It gets tied up to docks that have rough services, various marine growth and various nails, screws etc. to tear up your family car. Again its dollars. Trinidad has a reputation for doing excellent work for a reasonable price. I should know about the reasonableness by next Monday. That is when they will haul the boat and start work. It will be interesting. Prices are negotiated and it will be done between English and Spanish. My Spanish is like my French. I can be polite and that is about it. Pray for us, we will need it on this adventure.


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