August 13, 2019

Grenada Boat Yard Blues

When we made plans to head back to the states for a family visit, we decided to haul Borealis and store her on the hard rather than leave her unattended in the water. Since it was nearly a year since Borealis was out of the water, it also gave us an opportunity to inspect the boat's bottom and do some necessary maintenance.

Grenada is just below the hurricane belt and is therefore a popular spot for cruisers looking for a lower-risk Caribbean destination during the summer months. Since demand is so high for summer land storage, few boat yards will entertain short stays (many cruisers store their boats for the entire six-month hurricane season), but thankfully we were able to get space for Borealis for the month at Spice Island Marine Services in Prickly Bay, which hauls and stores more than 200 boats each summer.

On Monday, June 21 we motored Borealis into the haul out bay at Spice Island, stepped ashore, and left her in the hands of the very capable crew, who dropped the travel lift slings under Borealis' bow and stern and began to hoist her out of the water.

Moments later, Borealis was cradled in the air and ready for a pressure wash and light scrape to remove barnacles and other growth. Thankfully, the boat's bottom looked really good for having been in the water for almost a year, which made us very happy since we spent a lot of time and money redoing the bottom last summer.

After cleaning, the crew transferred the boat from the travel lift to a trailer lift, which allows them to place the boats less than a foot apart in the yard!

In less than an hour, Borealis was chocked and supported on jack stands in her temporary home. In most Grenada yards, boats are also secured with hurricane tie-down straps, and monohulls are kept separate from catamarans.

Grenada boatyard living is not for the fainthearted: it is dirty, involves scrambling up and down ladders, and is full of ants and mosquitoes. With no air conditioning or refrigeration aboard (Borealis' refrigerator is water cooled - and not air cooled - so it's inoperable on land) boatyard life is also HOT and exhausting. Thankfully life was made a little bit easier with the boatyard's very nearby showers, toilets and laundry.

With only four days until we flew back to the states, and a goal of getting back in the water the day after we returned, we quickly got to work on our to-do list.

We first focused on cleaning, lubricating and repairing anything on the bottom of the boat, which is so much easier while we were out of the water, like replacing the zincs, which were nearly disintegrated (their purpose), cleaning the anchor locker and chain, greasing the seacocks and rudder bearings, and grinding and refinishing the propeller.

Next, we tackled projects to prepare the boat for sitting closed up for a month in a tropical climate: heat and humidity, along with no ventilation, can quickly lead to mold and smelly fabrics and cushions! This included laundering and storing away all our linens, wiping every surface with vinegar, and opening all lockers and drawers so that air could circulate.

Since tropical storms could still come through the area, we also removed all loose items on deck, including our bimini canvas and frames, and deflated and wrapped our dinghy; we'd already removed the jib (headsail), but tucked away all our lines and deck safety equipment (lifesling, horseshoe buoy, and fuel jugs).

Lastly we tackled a few interior dirty jobs, like changing out our head hoses, cleaning the fridge, and draining the water from the tanks and hoses.

Thankfully, when we boarded our flight home on June 22, we felt great about all the projects we'd completed and leaving Borealis in the boatyard.

While hectic, our month-long visit to the States was mentally, physically and emotionally what we needed after more than 200 days of cruising. We spent time with our loved ones, caught up with dear old friends, traveled our way through 8 states (sleeping in 12 different beds), and ate way too much of our favorite foods. We road tripped from Wisconsin to Colorado to celebrate Nick's brother's wedding and welcomed a new sister-in-law to our family, and we said forever goodbye to his grandmother, who lived a long and happy life.

A special thank you to our parents for opening up their homes us for the majority of our visit and for making us feel right at home, as well to our friends Steve and Courtney, Jill and Patrick, Shannon and Reggie, and Lanie and Dale (and their families) for hosting us during our stay!

After four weeks of 'vacation from vacation' 😁, on Monday, July 22, we boarded a flight in Chicago to return to Boreails, feeling refreshed and happy and ready to settle back into cruising life and our summer in Grenada.

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