Micro Stories

The Saloon A/C wasn’t working when we bought Dragonfly so the seller committed to fixing it.  His local refrigeration guy is named Quentin, and he is beyond impossible to get in contact with.  No email goes responded.  But he finally showed up one day after being relentlessly badgered by the broker. Quentin said he had recently bought a repo’d Open 40 racing sailboat on Guadeloupe and would be gone for about a week to get the boat and start the refitting process.

When I was cleaning out the aft lazarette I came across on old gennaker that had significant UV damage on the leech.  Apparently the prior owner had it on a furler and left it furled for an entire season with no UV protection.  Touching the sailcloth along the leech resulted in tears and more holes.  But the rest of the sail was in good shape, so I offered to give it to Quentin as maybe a cut down gennaker would fit his boat.  He was excited – surely he would be over soon to pick it up.  Well, at least he was consistent: on our fifth planned time for pick up he arrived with a smile.

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Everybody wants roads but nobody wants road construction. Everybody wants lush green hillsides but nobody wants rain. Well, a rainforest island like Martinique sees rain nearly every day and night. Usually it’s a light to medium rainfall that goes on for about 5-10 minutes then blows through; 15 minutes later it’s dry and sunny. But every now and then the skies literally open – the old Texas saying of it’s raining like a cow peeing on a flat rock comes to mind. Well one night after dinner it was a deluge. After running around and closing all of the hatches I managed to get this picture from the companionway hatch.

Later that night it was time for bed.  Ought Oh!  I missed a hatch!!  The one directly above my pillow!!!  Guess I won’t be sleeping here tonight.

An unplanned project was added to the list the next morning.  

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An experienced sailor friend once said that no matter how big your boat is, when the weather offshore is lousy you always wished you had a bigger boat. So just when I start wondering if 54 feet is big enough, a bunch of 32 -36 Junneau Sun Fast sailboats start showing up in our marina. Turns out it’s the Transquadra Regatta finishing in Martinique. I learn from a friend that they race every four years, and go from France to the Canary Islands, leave their boats there for a couple of months, then return in early February for the two week race to Martinique. There are classes for single-handers and double-handers. My friend does qualify her explanation by saying participation is limited as it’s for Old Sailors – you know, they have to be over 40.

One of the singlehanders led the entire two week race but was passed by a doublehanded boat just miles from the finish line.  Two Italians were approaching the cut south of Martinique, almost there, when they saw a squall behind them.  They figured if they kept the spinnaker up they could make it around the point and protection from the big breeze.  The squall hit before they cleared the point, knocking them down and laying them on their side for seven long minutes.  The finish line is just off the Club Med point, so there is some navigating to do for the last couple of miles due to shallow water and a few shoals.  After racing 24/7 for two weeks, one boat arrived in the middle of the night and continued up the channel only to get stuck on a reef.  Requiring assistance from a motorboat to get off the reef, sadly they were scored as Disqualified.

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Just when you think these boats are small to race across the Pond, you come across a 5.8 meter (19 feet!!!) class single-handed race boat anchored in the harbor. There is a reason the French and Kiwis are the best offshore, blue water sailors and racers – a little bit loco in la cabeza.

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Baked fresh without preservatives and stabilizers means the baguettes, croissants and pain au chocolates are really, really good. But it does require a daily stroll to the patisserie.

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Balsa is a very sweet dog. Huge! But very sweet. Hangs out on the aft deck of Django, the Amel 53 tied up next to us. He loves people but his relationship with the cat on the dock can best be described as peaceful but filled with much tension.

When I returned from the Weekend in the Boatyard, Balsa was not on deck.  Inquiring of his owner, it turns out the two of them had also been in the boatyard helping a friend paint his bateau.  They spilled a gallon of anti-fouling paint on the ground and kind of put off cleaning it up.  In the meantime, Balsa wandered over and lay down in it.  Yikes!  The copper and other biocides inflamed his skin under his arms and legs where there is not much hair, so he was still down below recuperating.

Update – two days later and he’s back on the aft deck keeping a watch out for the cat.

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Leaving the Boatyard and entering the main channel we saw this large catamaran aground on a reef. Notice the difference in color and texture of the water directly in front the cat. Every capitaine knows this could be them so it’s a good reminder that just because you See water does not mean there Is water.

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This is the family mini-van.

Just like the American suburbs, everyone has one. It’s used for everything – grocery shopping, exploring, beach trips. All of the cruising guides have the same advice: lift it or lock it or lose it. So every day when you go somewhere, rather than tying the boat off to the dock, we use chain and a padlock. And at night, we either lock it to the boat or lift it out of the water.

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