Buying a six year old charter boat, we knew that there’d be slight problems so everything would have to be checked thoroughly to make sure we don’t have problems for the next 18 months. At the top of our priority list was getting the standing rigging (the wires and connections holding up the mast and keeping the hulls together) checked. Admittedly, none of us know the little details you have to look out for, nor do we have the time to try and learn, so we got it inspected by some professionals, FKG. Now apparenlty, these guys are the go to people. Ask anyone about getting the rigging checked and they’ll all point you in the direction of FKG. Perfect! So, they inspected everything and came back with some minor details but nothing of any concern. Great, that’s what we like to hear. Then we got the bad news. They also found a tiny hairline crack in our martingale, which supports a length of wire spanning the two hulls. Basically, for anyone that i just confused, they found a crack in a piece that is holding the boat together. If this tiny crack was to turn into a large crack then completely break, we would lose our mast which would be the end of our trip. So, to fix it, they needed to have our boat at their dock in Simpson Lagoon (about 2 hours away) which meant moving the boat which was a bit of a hassle, but, at the end of the day, it had to be done.
We moved the boat to Simpson Lagoon, docked alongside and let them do their thing. They needed to support the mast, take the martingale off, weld it then put it all back together. Now, this is where it starts to get a bit annoying and frustrating. We were initially told that it’s a day’s work, which, we were fine with (we have payed for a month at the marina in Oyster Pond so we didn’t want to be staying somewhere else). Of course, it ended up being 3 days worth of work. We then got the bill and to say we were shocked is a massive understatement! The labor costs alone were ridiculous. These guys get paid by the hour and they were taking their sweet time whilst working on our boat. They then charged us to stay on their dock, use shore power and water (things included in most marinas), all while being their customers.
After our stay in Simpson Lagoon, which is basically a parking lot for boats (dirty water, crowded, etc.), we were desperate to get out to Marigot Bay for a night in nice water we could swim in. To get in and out of Simpson Lagoon you have to go under a drawbridge that opens at specific times and the last one for the day was at 5:30. We powered towards the bridge at full throttle (literally!) and just got through which was so lucky.
After staying the night at Marigot Bay, we headed back to Oyster Pond in 25 knot winds which was going well until we were about 45 minutes out from the marina. We were sailing along when we suddenly heard a clang of metal followed by ball bearings falling onto the deck all around the mast. We quickly investigated and found that a section of mast track had been ripped completely off the mast, snapping two bolts in half. One of the cars that slide up and down the mast carrying the sail was now hanging loosely and the ball bearings that allow it to slide smoothly had fallen out all over the place. Not the best thing to have happen but, we’ll save that drama for another post.