Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Surprise!! That sail is really an shade awning!

June 21, 2006    Wednesday

After the rain finally abated yesterday afternoon, we were both a little stir crazy.  Just had to get out of the interior of the boat for awhile and move around a bit.  So what better thing to do but go through all the cockpit and deck lockers and rearrange everything.

Judy has harped the entire trip that the liferaft should be stored in the cockpit locker.  If we should ever be unfortunate enough to actually require deployment of the liferaft, it would be much safer to deal with it inside the cockpit.  The liferaft has always been stored in the deck locker which is just outside the cockpit on the port side.  That locker is extremely deep, well in excess of 6-feet deep.  The liferaft is very heavy and requires both of us to lift it.  The only way to remove it from that deep deck locker (even when calmly tied to a dock) is to use a halyard and winch it up.  Now, if we were tossing about in heavy weather, then that might not be so easy to do and to control.

Anyway, Bill finally capitulated and agreed to move the liferaft into the cockpit locker.  Guess he decided that Judy just would never shut up about it otherwise.  The cockpit locker is more than 8-feet long,  over 2-feet high, and about 6-feet wide; so there is more than adequate space to store the liferaft and also to store just about anything else we might want to put in there.  It is a huge locker.  We have numerous large heavy plastic bins that fit into the locker, which we use to organize cleaners, waxes, oils, buckets, sponges, etc.  Keeps everything nice and tidy and easily accessible.

So now our liferaft is safe and happy in its new home and should be able to be accessed without us having to go out onto a stormy deck, should the need ever arise.

While going through all the lockers, we found a treasure.  We found a custom-made shade awning from Amel that was packed into a sail bag.  This awning has never been used.  We doubt that the previous owner even knew that he had it.  It provides shade from the aft side of the main mast all the way to the back of the cockpit; also has side panels and aft panels so that the cockpit is fairly well enclosed for shade.  Had we known this awning existed then we would not have ordered the center/main section of the Shade Tree awnings.  Could have saved about $800.  This large Amel awning did take us twice as long to install as the Shade Tree awnings do, but that probably was because we had to figure out how it was supposed to fit and where to tie it off on various parts of the standing rigging.

We are most pleased with finding this treasure.  Also, now that we have emptied the port side deck locker, Bill thinks it would make a perfect location for a spare diesel tank.  Our boat holds 160 gallons of diesel, which is a large amount for a sailboat; but if we do the South Pacific then there is one section that is a 3,000+ mile passage (Galapagos Islands to the Marquesas).  Judy had planned to buy jerry cans and store diesel in the stern lazarette for that trip.  Bill would prefer to have a stainless steel secondary fuel tank installed in the bottom half of that port deck locker.  We will make that decision later.  There are many places where there are no fuel docks and you must pick-up your diesel in jerry cans, so maybe just storing jerry cans is a better idea anyway.  Plus, the boat will sail better if that excess weight is in the rear part of the boat rather than on one side, even down low on that side.

We also found two nice long stainless steel grag rails.  We had planned to buy two of these to mount on the stern of the boat to make climbing aboard from the dinghy a bit easier.  Glad we haven't gotten around to dealing with that yet.  This find just saved us at least another $200.

Wish we could figure out the local mini-bus routes.  We only know how to get to the main city of St. George’s and back.  We would like to figure out how to get to the lagoon and to Grand Anse but can find no information on this, and do not want to take an over-priced taxi just to shop and look around.  It is much too far for us to walk, especially with these mountains.  Thinking about taking a tour of the chocolate factory and the nutmeg plant, but still haven’t decided if it is worth the money for those tours and the taxis as those places are way at the other end of the island. 

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