Here we are smack in the middle of July and well into the Atlantic Hurricane season – a time of year where we should’ve already been heading South. Peter and I discussed our options months ago and we both agreed that moving South to Grenada in June was the best thing for us this year. We’ve already spent two Hurricane seasons down there and we absolutely love it. It may sound like a simple plan to pick up anchor and set sail but things haven’t exactly unfolded the way we had hoped.
We knew we bought a project boat. We knew she needed some TLC to bring her back to the condition we knew she was once in. What we didn’t know was just how many other unforeseen repairs and upgrades would be needed along the way. The money we got back from our insurance claim on our last boat helped us to buy this one and get back on our feet but the cost of additional repairs has far exceeded what we had left over. Because of this, Peter has been working pretty much full time here in St Thomas in order to pay for the extra parts we needed and for our weekly groceries. I thought BVI was expensive but honestly I don’t see the food here on St Thomas being much cheaper at all. With a paycheck-to-paycheck budget and with Peter gone all day at work it’s been very difficult to get everything done to the boat that we want or need to do.
We thought we were finally ready to go. With three days left in the month of June we left our favorite spot in Christmas Cove and pointed off toward Grenada. The weather window was promising and our friends Rob and Deb from Cosmos Mariner were buddy-boating down with us. About two hours into the passage South when the seas started building, Peter noticed a significant amount of saltwater pouring into the vberth. How much you ask? Like a gallon a minute. It was pouring in from the dorad boxes and about four other places every time the bow sliced through the waves. The seastate wasn’t terrible but we also weren’t used to a boat that buried the bow so much. Our Whitby didn’t sail to wind this way. This boat was made to slice through in such a different way. Peter also never had these issues on the passage from Antigua to the VI because it was all downwind. We had done a small shakedown but nothing offshore in this direction. Brig was getting frustrated with having to stay strapped to me in our Lillebaby carrier and Peter determined there was no temporary fix he could do while under way that would keep that much water out of our forward cabin for the next 2 and a half days. At that moment he decided it was better for us and for the boat to turn back, make some repairs and wait for the next weather window. *sigh*
No big deal except for now our insurance wouldn’t cover us after July 1 in a named storm if we stayed “inside the box” instead of getting down to the lower latitudes. I immediately got a rider for our policy allowing us to be covered for another month in USVI – another unexpected added expense – and Peter began making repairs. He serviced the frozen dorad scoops so they could be removed and the covers installed closing them off. He recaulked our forward hatch at the base and along the top of the glass. He recaulked the windlass controls. He recaulked the staysail connection to the deck. He pulled up and rebed our two forward cleats, both of which ended up badly needing new bolts. And lastly he pulled up, serviced and rebed the windlass!! That was a NIGHTMARE job but really needed to be done. All I can say is thank goodness my brother Brandon is still here because he’s helped Peter every step of the way, to make this boat safe for all of us, as quickly as possible.
Our weather window is finally here. This time Peter doesn’t want Brig and I to go. Instead, he insists that we fly down to Grenada and wait for him there. It should only take him 2.5-3 days and then he won’t have to worry about us if the waves are miserable. My brother is still here with us and will do the passage too. Our friend Mike from Three Sheets Sailing is also going to go along so Peter can actually get a little sleep and take real shifts. My brother will be able to help a little but he’s never done anything like this before so entrusting him with the responsibility of being on watch when he doesn’t know anything about navigation or sailing isn’t really fair to him. I fly out in two days with Brig. It will be a very long day with one ferry and four connecting flights to hop down island but the good news is we will get to spend the weekend with our friends from the Sunkissed Soeters!! Brig will have so much fun with Darcy and Luuck’s boys, Stormer and Rio and it’ll be good for me too.
I get it… I understand Peter just wants to keep us safe. It’s a new-to-us boat and he wants to gain a little faith in our boat first before taking his baby out to sea in it. I also know it would be very difficult to entertain a one-year-old on a passage to wind. The first attempt a few weeks ago was challenging and that was just a couple of hours worth. Going below to use the head and to change Brig’s diaper just one time was very tiring. But part of me also feels like i’m failing at “cruising with kids” if I can’t even do a little 3 day passage with my baby. SO many other families take their babies on passages longer than this all the time so why can’t I? I know I shouldn’t feel that way and that I’m not failing and that we just need to do what is right for our family. But it’s hard to not think it. Oh well. It doesn’t even matter anymore. It’s another extra expense for the plane ticket but it’s just money right? Peter will just work a little more.
By Monday we should be all settled back on our boat together as a family in a Grenada. I can’t wait. ❤️
Prayes for all. They say — after children one’s world is never the same! Hugs!
HUGS! You’ve got the logic right, but it doesn’t necessarily make it easier to accept. Hang in there, Monday will be here soon & you’ll all be together with a new understanding of your new home. HUGS to Brig too! J&D (starting the Trent Severn Waterway in Ontario tomorrow)
I’m sure it’s tough to be separated from Peter, but at least this time it’s a short stretch and it sounds like your reasoning is absolutely sound. Safe travels and hugs to all!
Good grief!!!!So glad you are all safe and hope Peter can get the boast fixed so you and Brigg can rejoin Peter
Good read, thanks for sharing. Looking forward to hear about it once you guys are through this passage. Evelyn has been sailing only a little bit, and conditions were very calm so we didnt strap her to anything when she was in the foot well in the cockpit. Our full enclosure prevents her from being close to danger but she definitely cant stay calm very long at all. Not sure what I’d do in anything remotely rough. As with every new thing to her, it takes time to adjust and become comfortable with the whole situation. The sound of winches really scares her every time still. My solution for the diaper changes was just to do it upstairs! At some point for a 3 day passage though you’d have to go down below.. You guys can only make the safest decisions for your family and that is all you can do! Good luck and have a safe flight ;)
Brig is GROWING!
Sorry to hear about the boat problems, but happy to hear that you guys are being so cautious. Safety first. Nothing in life is fun if it is not safe. It’s just the way things are.
Mundane question, but you guys are lots more experienced than me. Caulking. I am familiar with butyl tape and 5200, but with all the caulking you had to do, I was wondering what you used. No rush. You are to busy to answer my question now, but after you get setteled in your new location and things slow down, maybe you could reply.
Anyhow, I always look forward to reading each post.
Hang in there! You are doing the right thing!
Wow! I haven’t been on the blog in quite a while and was pleased as punch to see you back on the water again. Yeay for you both!
We ran into Rob and Deb on Comos last year after we spent H-season in Grenada. I think we met them in Bequia (a really fun stop). Please say hi to them from us.
I hope you enjoy Grenada. We loved it there. The local people are the best. It is a beautiful island with a crazy bus service. Remember Carnival is in August. It is a must see event, especially the parade on the last day. Forget taking a bus during carnival. There won’t be any. instead take your boat and anchor at 12°02’27.8″N 61°45’20.2″W. Dinghy to the free dock at Island Water World or the Grocery store near Port Louis Marina on Lagoon Road. This will put you in the heart of the carnival activities.
Enjoy the summer,
Mark and Cindy
sv Cream Puff