Welcome to the Maunie of Ardwall blog

This is the blog of Maunie of Ardwall. After a six-year adventure sailing from Dartmouth to Australia, we are now back in Britain.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Preparing for the next voyage

Well Grenada is lovely and we can see why lots of cruising yachts get her and just stay. However, we need to be moving west so hope to be setting sail for Bonaire at the end of the week. So as well as sorting out food supplies, we've been working through the inevitable list of boat maintenance jobs - servicing the water-maker and generator and replacing or repairing anything that looks as though it's getting towards the end of its serviceable life.

Whilst we were in the marina we took the opportunity to take most of the mainsail down onto the pontoon so that we could do a few running repairs with the sewing machine. We also unpicked the stitching on the sprayhood (a very tedious job) to replace the velcro that fixes a cover to protect the windscreen from harmful UV when we aren't sailing - the same UV had destroyed the velcro's ability to stick, so we have had to make a set of extra little covers to save the new velcro from the same fate! It's amazing how destructive the sun can be here.

It's been an expensive month; the boat insurance renewal has just come through (ouch) and we've splashed out on a new outboard engine for the dinghy. The little 3.5hp was nice and light but struggled a bit with the wight of our big dinghy and in the Pacific we'll be doing long dinghy rides from the anchorages. In Grenada you can still buy new 2-stroke engines (no longer sold in the UK or US) which are much lighter and simpler to maintain than 4-strokes so we now have a splendid 9.8hp Tohatsu which allows the boat to zip around at high speed even fully loaded. Hopefully a fellow yachtie is coming across to buy the old engine from us this evening. Once we get past Panama the spending should stop as, basically, there will be very few places to part with money!

In between all the work we're managing to relax, you'll be relieved to know, and have met some really nice people. Next to us is a Fowey-based Sadler 34 called Jon Jon (we recognised the boat from our visits to Fowey) and further along is another Vancouver, the baby-sister to Maunie at just 27ft, which sailed across the Atlantic at the end of last year. 

Peter and Heidi on Stormvogel arrived here on Sunday with their friends Gabbi and Uwe aboard (who fly home today) and so we'll sail in company with them to Bonaire and Panama; in the meantime it's been great to catch up with them and compare experiences of cruising the Grenadines. We're just waiting for news of the third boat of our little west-bound  fleet, Gallinago. They have had gearbox problems but the new parts have arrived from Sweden so hopefully they will be back in action by the end of the week.

We'll certainly miss the local food here. Yesterday we had the local speciality known as 'Oil Down'; curried chicken with breadfruit (texture a bit like dense potato), callalou (similar to spinach) and plantains (firm-textured fruit which look like bananas but are only for cooking). It was absolutely delicious, very filling and cost only $EC 20 (about a fiver). We are now doing daily work-outs on the foredeck to try to get fit again!

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