Friday, April 22, 2011

End of the Season

We cleared customs from St. Vincent and the Grenadines in Clifton Harbor, on Union Island, only stopping for the hour or so that the clearance process required, and then sailed to Hillsborough, on the island of Carriacou.  Carriacou is part of Grenada, and a convenient place to stop on the way down.

Next morning, we started early to make the 40+ mile trip to the southern tip of Grenada.  Prickly Bay is large and well protected, and a great place to do some chores as we prepared the boat for the haul-out.  Lots of picking up, cleaning, putting away.  It was hot, and having the water nearby was wonderful.

Originally, the haul-out appointment was for April 21, with the mast coming out of the boat on April 26.  At the very last minute, Spice Island Marine asked to change the appointment to the 26th, which was inconvenient for several reasons.  We discussed it with them, and finally everyone agreed on April 20.

The process of taking a 14 ton boat out of the water seems difficult, but in fact is pretty easy.  The boatyard has huge, specialized equipment optimized for this.  First a mobile crane lifts the boat out of the water on two large straps.  It then drives away from the water, and puts the boat down on a very specialzed vehicle that is basically just a boat trailer, but a very strong one.  The trailer moves the boat to the storage location, and then sets it down with the keel on wooden supports.  These hold the weight of the boat.  Then a total of 11 jack stands were put in place to keep the boat from tipping over.

We had arranged for Callisto to be stored in a special, very strong, steel cradle for the hurricane season.  The crade wasn't quite ready on our haul-out date (there are LOTS of boats being hauled out around this time), so we were put on jack stands temporarily.  Callisto will be moved to the cradle in a couple of weeks, and then strapped down to special anchors fastened deep into the soil.

We still had quite a number of chores to complete, including putting two coats of varnish on the companionway stairs.  The boom has been removed, and all of the electrical cables from the mast disconnected.  In a few days, the mast will be unstepped, and we will be flying home to Switzerland.

Its been quite a season, and we have had a terrific experience.  A bit wind-blown, but happy.

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