Saturday, April 30, 2011

Still blowing and a bit more on the upturned barge

Well it blew up again during the night and I got involved this morning in helping a couple on a nearby boat retrieve their dinghy and outboard which had turned over during the night. It was a lightweight dink with a tiny 2 hp Suzuki and a line attached to rowlock soon pulled it over. We got the motor on to its rail mount sprayed it with fresh water, removed the plug and gave it a few pulls, replaced the plug, a splash of fresh fuel in the tank followed by a liberal spray of WD40 and Jeff prepared to give it a go. He said that this was the third time it had been dunked. 4 or 5 pulls and it coughed a couple more and the little clockwork YoYo spluttered into life. Jeff blipped it a couple of times and beamed, "best $60 I ever spent. You just can't kill it!"

Over a beer or two I discovered that they were both Canadian, in their late 70s and had been cruising for over 20 years. During this time they had made the trip down the thorny path from Florida through the Bahamas and out to the USVI no less than five times. RESPECT.

A bit more on the upturning of the barge from a local surveyor

The barge was loading cement from a ship in Kingston St Vincent by laying alongside and they had 3000 tons to deliver to Canouan for a hotel project. They would normally load the cements slings two high but because the weather has been very calm and the crew wanted to be home for the Easter Weekend in Bequia which is where the tug and barge call home, they decided to load the slings three high and carry all 3000 tons in one trip rather than the two it would normally take!

Well they finished loading around 2 in the morning and decided to take off. The tug was tied up alongside with its port side to the tug, the lines were cast off and the vessel pulled it away from the ship and then made a hard turn to head out to sea. The barge heeled a bit towards the tug and it just kept going until the cement slid across the barge and piled up between the tug and barge. Luckily for the barge the lines must have parted or it would have gone down to.

There is considerable damage to the topsides and superstructure of the tug. If you look closely at the pic you can see they have a tarpaulin over the wheelhouse.

As the barge capsized one of crew got caught up somehow and had one of his feet cut off but that was the only injury!!

Obviously all 3000 tons of cement is now lying in a pile on the bottom of Kingstown, it might even be a hazard to shipping as the bottom is not very deep there and it might have to be moved!!

I would think the captain if he was responsible is looking for another job!!

Getting the barge back upright is not going to be easy or cheap. It will have to be carefully sunk on one side only until it can be rolled over but this requires skilled divers, air compressors a calm port and someone with the knowledge to do it.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


It has been blowning hard the last couple of days with squalls up to 30 knots. Admiralty Bay is a bowl so the wind swirls around and boats have been lying at all sorts of odd angles. I have been up and down a few times checking that I was still where I had been for the last few days and nobody else was going walkabout upwinnd of me.

Also with all the changing winds I had a good look at my snubber and chafe protection to make sure that was OK.

It has given me a chance to tidy up my photo albums and rename some.

These two are squatters 1 and 2 from now on. A Csy 44 that has been in Bequia for a long time has some unwanted guests.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


I am just back from watching the start of the last days racing and did get to see the local boats start.

This guy sailed his boat down for the start and one or two others did as well but most were left overnight on the beach.

It was interesting to see how the traditional materials and boat layouts were changing with high tech sailcloth, full batten mainsails aluminum masts and booms creeping in esp on the top class 7 boats which are 28 feet long. I saw a dagger board on Confusion and on some boats there were trapeze harness set ups.

Team uniforms were also creeping in and I liked the guys in the matching Mount Gay Rum T shirts and assorted shorts very spiffy!

As usual in the Caribbean the start time was a moveable feast but eventually boats were rigged hip flasks filled and the racing was underway.

They have changed things and instead of the mass chaos of the Le Mans style beach start, they now start like an English Steeplechase with the boats milling around until they are sort of lined up and pointing in the same direction at which point the starter should fire a cannon but is best Caribbean style they have no gunpowder, the batteries are flat in their bull horn they have no gas for their air horn so he just shouts loudly. Lots of fun to watch.

Last off were the small 12 footers and it was here that booms were bamboo sails rarely sported battens and I did not see anybody trapezing.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


I missed seeing the start of the local double enders races because when I was about to leave I realised that the boat upwind of me that had come in late yesterday afternoon was getting closer. I watched for a few minutes and it was clearly dragging and going to get close to me. So as it was unattended I stayed on board, got the fenders out and waited for the owner[s] to return. My thinking was that as they had the Q flag up they were ashore to clear in and would reurn soon.

I did get a couple of shots of the starts in the distance including this one of yet another spi wrap, and watched through binocs but it was not the same as being on the beach. Drat and double drat.

I finished up being on boat bump watch for 2 or 3 hours and eventually moved a power boat of a mooring behing me just before the dragger hit it and attached the dragger to the now vacant mooring.

In the late afternoon I pottered over to the strange shape that I had thought might be an inverted barge and confirmed that it was indeed such an animal. There had been more entertainment when a large yacht not spotting the connection had sailed bewteen the tug and the barge the rope is now marked with a plethra of assorted floating things.

Friday, April 22, 2011


The local guys were out getting some practice in but their races doon't start till tomorrow.

I wondered for some time what this strange object that had arrived last night under tow but now think it is an upside down barge! How did this happen? Parked in the course too!

The prestart manouvres were enlivend by this charter boat blundering through the melee.

I am not sure if this was one of the crew who had been practicing spinnaker hoists yesterday but yet another wrap.

They got it sorted out though and everybody headed off on a downwind run.

This was a colourful class mostly French and they were

pretty clued up on their boat handling and good at the intimidation with much shouting too as they rounded the mark together.

By this time the cruising class was starting

spot the solar panels

wind generator

radar SAT DOME and red hats!

Nice shiny bottom paint too!

The first boat home was one of the French boats with crisp paper sails. My battery was flat so did not get a pic. A group of J24s finished with a few seconds of each other and everybody had big grins, nothing like a close race but the biggest fist pump came from the leading boat.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


I had a slow run down so stopped off in Wallilabou. Also I was tired because there were a lot of big bits of tree trunk floating around at the North end of St Vincent. So I was standing up in the cockpit and manualy steering, well with a foot actually, to slalom around them for about two hours. A charter boat was in a Pan Pan situation as they had bent a prop or shaft hitting one.

It was something I had not seen before, most pieces were between 6 and 12 feet whithout any bark but also not bleached or carrying any sealife in the form of barnacles or weed. No recent heavy rain to wash them down in streams either.

Anyway I made it in to Bequia today Thursday and remembered that as tomorrow is good Friday everything will be shut so did my shopping for the Weekend.

The J24 race boats are here from all over the Caribbean, some with motherships and many are out for a final shakedown/tuneup/messup before the races. I saw two spinnaker wraps with much shouting and buck passing over who was to blame. Wish I had had my camera ready! But this pic from another day shows the sort of thing that happened.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I am off down to Bequia for the Easter regatta held over this coming weekend. Races for local boats, cruisers plus the growing J 24 fleet.

I will drop down to Marigot bay this afternoon then if I get a good run go all the way to Bequia on Wednesday, if not then stop in Wallilabou for the night. I don't mind stopping there now that the rude boat boys are now polite beach front service providers.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

ST LUCIA and a major RANT

First of all I wish that the Microsoft nerd that forced my lappie to update to IE9 have his garden infested with fire ants, his TV remote default to the weather channel and his car to develop a random misfire on every intersection.

Internet Explorer 9 produced some random failures across my entire system. I know I have a slightly weird set up but it has NO BUSINESS SCREWING UP MY JAVASCRIPT APPLETS. Amongs all the other problems I have been unable to post to the blog until I dismantled some of the forced setups. AND SPELCHEKER IS GORNE WILKABOUT.

ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH hours of wasted blundering about in the dark reaches of Windows Vista and IE9 setup.

The first time I have a week to mess with my system it is LINUX and CHROME for me.

Anyway I am in the lagoon in St Lucia after a gentle sail down from Martinique. So gentle that the bucket of water I collected in the rain in Marin was still 3/4 full when I arrived despite seeing some 7s on the way down.

The lagoon is being filled with IGY moorings, sometimes placed so close to existing moorings that they could not be used. A local says that the IGY contractors will just cut the existing established private moorings off when they finish the installation of the last 15. Ah well I really prefer to be outside in the bay except that it is so noisy on Friday and Saturday when Gros Islet cranks up the volume.

Spotted in Marin

I had seen this at anchor before and dismissed it as some kind of unseaworthy pirate ship wannabee but got to talking with people who knew the owner/builder/logger who had cut down the trees built the boat sailed it round the world THEN fitted an engine. They cross the Atlantic back to Europe most years.


Thursday, April 7, 2011


The wind has continued to blow and the dragging has continued. This boat bounced off at least two others before coming to rest quite neatly alongside the Beneteau 38.

I was amazed to see that no one has been out to sort out the mess as it was at least 48 hours since the first movement of the power boat.

Still he had his fenders out so it might have been a pinball boat wizard and a piece of planned rafting up. Who knows?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Marin Martique

I had had enough of rolling all night so I beat up to Marin checking on the quiet Club Med at the entrance but no volley ball acttion to be seen.

lala, the cruising Canadian family, is still were and Hendrik popped over to see what was going on and asked if he could borrow a gas bottle as the insular French refuse to refill US style gas bottles.

It has been windy on and off and there have been some dragging mostly power boats, perhaps if they used better than 2to1 scope it would help.

There is some labour trouble at the docks again! so the containers full of fresh food from France are not getting through to the supermarkets and some of the shelves are emptying. Just when I want to stock up too.

Oh yes this is what can happen when you clean a fish, recycling the guts etc to the ocean. The airborne pirates arrive!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Martinique Grand Anse D'Arlet

Anchor is down in one of my favorite places in the world. Now you can even do the whole customs and immigration thing in a tiny bar by the dinghy dock.

I had a good sail down and was going so quickly that I bypassed my usual stop at St Pierre in favour of the Anse.

Mind you I was hoping that it would be less rolly than St Pierre and my last two nights where I was hanging on to the bed and listening to the dishes sliding back and forth. But whatever it is that is producing the big swell it is getting in here too!