We arrived in St. Martin / Sint Maarten on January 4th, late in the day.  We went out or a nice lunch the following day, and relaxed, and then the work started. 

When we lost our shroud in Grenada, we replaced both shrouds and thought we were done.   Then a few days later, we noticed that the wood trim on the door that leads from the starboard bath to the V-berth, had a gap in it, that was never there before.    We thought that perhaps we had tightened the rig a bit too tight and deformed the boat.   We kept an eye on the gap, and it did not seem to become larger, so we figured we were OK.   Then the other doorframe on the starboard side got a gap, and then we noticed a small crack in the Formica that covers the walls.      O.K. - time to get serious about the matter.

We started taking all the trim work off, which included the door frames, the nice white smooth Formica covering the walls, and the headline, which is a vinyl fabric, glued to foam, and glued to a thin sheet of plywood.  What we found, gave us a frown.  The nidacore (honeycomb structure), had cracked and there was a 1/2" gap in our "structural" bulkhead. 

Now we say structural, but it wasn't really originally fiber glassed to be that structural, but it later boats they must have found an issue, because they beefed up the wall thickness and added more fiberglass on later models.    We were not too concerned, because we had sailed from Grenada to St. Martin with the breakage, and had taken on some very high winds and big seas, and had no further breakage, so this particular break was obviously only part of the structure - - but still we needed to fix it.

This looked outside our talent area, so we asked around and found out a recommend place called Custom Fit Marine to do the work.   We were lucky that they had time to work on our boat, as they are quite busy, but they got us in.   We moved to a dock out the Time Out Boat Yard, which is where Custom Fit is located, and ended up tied up to the boat that the owner of the company lives on  - how convenient.

Everyone at the boat yard was very nice, and our experience there was as pleasant as it could be, with half the boat torn apart and grinding and sanding going on.  We decided not only to fix the bulkhead that broke, but reinforce the same bulkhead on the port side as well, so both hulls were  more than a bit messy for 4 days, but it was worth it as now the boat is stronger than ever.  To save some money, we decided to do the final finish work of putting varathane on all the wood work, and installing the ceiling panels and putting all the lighting back in. We won't have the job completely done for another month probably.  

As long as we were in the money spending mood, we purchased a new forestay and also hired the local rigging shop to come out and "tune" the rig.  Which means adjusting the tension on all the rig on the boat. 

We did have time for some fun while in St. Martin.  We went out to lunch with Pollux one day, and had some of the best food we had eaten in a long time.   In fact it was so good we had to go back.  Dean ordered pizza both times (boring).  But Derek had an out of this world Salmon and seafood lasagna, so we went back for it, but they did not have it, as it was a special.  So Derek got a salmon steak with creamy seafood sauce, and Kris got a salmon steak stuffed with sea scallops.    Kris and Derek both wanted to go back again, but the restaurant was on the pricey side, so we only did twice.   With the work on the boat, lunch on board was a bit lucky, so we did make it to McDonalds twice, and then one of our favorite places from last time, Sarafina's, pastry shop.  

Another fun thing folks do in St. Martin is to stand at the end of the runway to the airport, and get blown away by jet wash.  We made the trip with Pollux, Day Dreamer, and Windchasers.   The first jet took all by surprise as the jet wash flings sand at you like a sandblaster would, and anything not secured down will blow away, like Pollux found with their waterproof bag that was sitting on the ground.  Good thing it was empty, so no loss there.  Derek got a thorough sandblasting, but Kris and Dean were smart enough to stand slightly aside.     We were also able to watch a 747-400 fly in, which is one big plane, especially when it is only a few hundred feet above your head. 

St. Martin was unfortunately a place for goodbyes as well.   Windchasers has his boat for sale, and will not be leaving St. Martin - and good for him, it looks like it might be sold, so he can head back to South America and rejoin his family.    We will miss sailing side by side with Windchasers as we were pretty equally matched sailing, and it drove us to be better sailors when sailing alongside.

The other goodbye is to Day Dreamer.    We have spent a lot of time with them, and they are good close friends.   They are also not heading any further north at this time, and will be in St. Martin for  a couple of months, with no plans at this time to take the boat any further north. We have been around Day Dreamer for over 6 months, seeing them almost daily, so they will be missed.

We got together with Windchasers, Day Dreamer, Pollux and us for a goodbye potluck, which was fun, but also sad.




01/17/14; St. Martin, The Big Boat Project and Goodbyes.

Door trim pulling apart, and formica with split

All trim work gone, and wow - there is a crack there

You can see the crack and broken fiberglass

OK, now it is looking better

Reinforcement on port hull in same area

Big ole jet airliner

Derek takes a turn checking out the rig.

Sarafina's pastry and sandwiches

A look a some of the goodies to choose from. 

The Day Dreamer gang

Dmitri from Windchasers