Tuesday, September 29, 2015


Is it to check the quality of my sanding?

Or is it just to be difficult?


They were supposed to come Friday, then it was Monday, they arrived this Tuesday morning wearing their crisp new shirts. Very spiffy.

However their pump was clearly struggling and after only 40 gallons the magic smoke escaped. As all those of you who work with anything electrical know that means that it is usually FUBAR.

Maybe manana.

Who cares we run on Island Time.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

It's hot, really HOT

Too hot to do much work. Dripping sweat into the varnish ruins the finish.
But I am gradually knocking down the TO DO list.

While Dizzy stretches out in the coolest spot he can find and demands a belly rub.

We have two three masters in the bay, Vela is tied up to the dock at the new boatyard while Sagitta is at anchor.

I have to wonder at the deckhouse. Who on earth stuck that abortion on such a sturdy little ship.

Sunday Brunch at Whisper Cove and the locals were tucking in too.


Some Mormons are stockpiling canned goods. The “blood moon,” coupled with recent natural disasters and unrest, has led some to believe the end of times are coming and retailers who sell emergency preparedness kits are making a killing

The sales of Mormon 'magic underwear' has skyrocketed too.

I will be over at the full moon party in Benjie bay and no special underwear will be worn.

Good sunset last night.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


Well Dizzy Sox fell in. It is only the third time he has fallen in and the last two were years ago when he was about 6 months old. The last two times I heard him squalling and jumped in to find him hanging on to the rudder. I did not hear him this time but as always there is some netting hanging over the transom and he made it back on board on his own.

He submitted to the compulsory fresh water shower with a minimum of struggle and noise and after toweling off he is a subdued and tired little cat. He seems to be breathing fine so I will let him recover his dignity.

Had it been last week he could have had a free checkup from the students at a open surgery that was run at the local cricket ground. But he has just come to see me and is looking rumpled but OK.

Had a couple of unusual visitors

a really big stink pot

A stately three-masted, gaff-rigged, square topsail schooner called Vela. She was built as a sail training ship but is now in charter in the Caribbean.

The locals look at the stern of something outboard powered and say one motor, fisherman, two motors tourist transport, three motors smuggler.

So what needs FOUR motors?

A pretty all around sunset.

Made my sundowner a little special.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Rude to Your Parents

There's a legendary rum in Jamaica that's so strong it has been dubbed "Rude to Your Parents".

Well Grenada has it's own version. I was introduced to it by Nimrod who ran the little rum shop at the head of the bay while I was waiting for the local 'dolla' minibus into to town. . When he established that this was my first visit out came the book for me to sign and he insisted that I have a drink with him. He produced this bottle from the freezer and poured both of us a generous tot. Now I should have been suspicious when he also poured some water and insisted I downed it in one.

Rums are one of those drinks you take seriously and you know can pack a serious punch . That is till you’ve been to Grenada and sampled their local “firewater” rum. The River Antoine Rum Distillery has seen more than it’s share of tourists being on the tour map of everyone there and why not? They make one of the meanest brands of rum you’ll ever find anywhere. Supposedly, what they offer tourists is a sugarcane based rum with up to 75% ABV!!! However, the have the 69% bottles which tourists can take home because the 75% one is just so inflammable, the airlines won’t allow it. Rumor has it among circles that the locals get another version of the rum sold exclusively to them which goes way beyond the 75%ABV mark. Now that world make a lethal rum punch!

Well I can confirm it is no rumor. River Antoine has the capability to produce rum with 87% alcohol. I have seen the hydrometer in use and the slightly furtive look when it was sold off in unlabeled bottles just before carnival.

I think that is what Nimrod served me that day. I know that I don't remember anything much after drinking it. I came too as I wandered round St Georges with a slight headache and some considerable loss of coordination.

What prompted this trip down memory lane, well the BBC article here CLICKY is the answer.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


Chris and Manuela run Darling Blue as a skippered charter.

But he is currently shafted as his coupling broke and bent the prop shaft big time.

So at 10am this sunny Wednesday morning I reported for duty as Starboard engine. We had a South African as Port engine and Henri was reverse thrust.

Chris was clearly nervous has the anchor came up and he entrusted his home and income generator to a pair dinghy driving muppets.

We slalomed through anchored boats and lined up on the travel lift piers aiming off a little to allow for the cross wind. It all went smoothly and at no point was full power required, just gentle drive and we delivered Darling Blue to the brand new travelift, the biggest in the Caribbean.

It has already got the inevitable nickname. I mean what else would you call something that is bright green and can lift 260 tons.

Saturday, August 22, 2015


All my life I have worked with my hands making things. Model Aircraft, meccano tanks a couple of crossbows, dad made me dismantle the second when he saw it shoot through a tree, a 200 cc race kart scratch built Superstox race cars, model helicopters. When I was at Loughborough I was using advanced CADCAM gear to make moulds for the heli blades as well as using the machine shop to make the windvane self steering gear for Carpe Diem. But I never made a gun.

Wallace Gusler first made a percussion pistol at age 14, when reconstructing a historic firearm held far more fascination than going to school.

Wallace had become the first person in modern times to recreate all the processes of making a rifle with 18th-century technology. In 1966 John Bivins wrote an article about Wallace and that first handmade rifle for Muzzle Blasts. During the winter of 1967 Colonial Williamsburg documented making a complete rifle in the film The Gunsmith of Williamsburg. Released in 1968, this 58-minute film is still the best selling video of the trades series.

I do not know how old he was when he made this film but my guess is mid to late 20s. Nobody he could find had handforged a rifle barrel for 150 years so he had to rediscover the techniques required to make a barrel and rifle it. Watching him hammer forge a long flat tapered bar from a short thick piece of iron then turn it into a tube with only a forge anvil hammer and a mandrel is impressive. As I watched him at work I thought hmm I could manage to do that. Then I watched him turn the C section tube into a closed tube by forge welding the edges together I still do not see how he keeps it straight but he talks about sighting through and straightening the barrel. That I don't think I could do.

The machinery he uses to rifle the finished smooth bore is more a horizontal drill than lathe.but requires consummate craftsmanship to use.


Hurricane Danny has wound up to a tight nasty category 3 hurricane and was forecast to hit Guadeloupe then the USVI.

However the latest forecast says it will lose strength and hit further North with Barbuda being the island most likely to feel his full fury.

Maybe only a cat 1 when it makes landfall. I bet there are a lot of relieved people up there.