Reunited with my Beloved

It was our first morning in the luxury hotel in the Caribbean. I was pacing up and down the recently raked beach like a caged lion. The DS, draped on a sun lounger trying to read some light holiday novel, eventually snapped. “Oh for God’s sake, go to your wretched boat then”. Permission enough. Within ten minutes I was being driven to my beloved Mina2, clutching a small bag of expensive presents I had bought for her. Having been neglected for months on chocks out of the water, I looked forward to caressing her smooth bottom before mounting her (I hoped a ladder had been left for that purpose).

My pulse raced as I arrived to find her gleaming in the sunlight. Despite the tropical downpour that had caused beads of water to pour over her magnificent curves, she looked hot – damned hot.

Mina2 awaiting my return

But she was also wet – damned wet. Some loon from the boatyard had left the main hatch completely open and as you get a tropical downpour at least once a day here, everything down below was totally drenched. As the boatyard packed up for Christmas on the 24th, it must have been like this for 10 days, and consequently there is some water damage to the woodwork. But it says something for the security in the yard that nothing had been stolen – my brand new chartplotter, for instance, was still sitting on the table thank goodness.

Of the very long list of things I’d left the yard to do in my absence, the major item was the fabrication of a massive stainless steel arch over the back of the boat. As we will be spending the next year or two in the Caribbean where two certainties are plenty of wind and sun, I have bitten the bullet of renewable energy. So the arch supports two large solar panels and a beefy wind generator. As my radar had packed up at the end of last season and has had to be replaced, the new radar is also mounted on the arch.

The new arch

Whist very practical, arches are never going to be pretty things but I have to say that Dietmar and his crew of fabricators have done a wonderful job – it is a work of art. In the planning, I tried to incorporate as many practical features as possible, so the arch will also accommodate a passarelle (gangplank for when you anchor stern to a harbour wall) ready for immediate deployment; a crane which can be used for lifting the outboard motor onto the deck and recovering the stern anchor, and it will provide a solid attachment point for the sun awning/rain collector. But my master stroke was to have a couple of rings welded to it that will support a hammock – the DS is particularly taken with this feature.

Despite my constant cajoling via emails, there is still a lot of work to be completed on the boat. The yard doesn’t reopen until Monday, and my guess is that our planned launch on Tuesday is a pipedream. Time will tell. Meanwhile I’ve got to spend some time sitting on that damned beach with the DS.

La Sagesse – our room is bottom left with a verandah overlooking …

… the damned beach


Tim Barker is a sailor and occasional adventurer. Since 2004, Mina2, his Oyster 485 yacht, and he (with the Downstairs Skipper and a wonderful bunch of friends) have sailed from the Arctic to the Antarctic and many places in between. Come join their adventures and read Tim's award winning blogs and journals from the comfort of your own computer screen.

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