I have a dream.
I have a dream that I leave Mina2 with a boatyard for 6 to 8 months with a list of things I need to have done in my absence. I have a dream that after a week or so of entrusting Mina2 to their care, I get from the yard a confirmation list of the work I have asked for, together with an indication of the cost of each item and an idea when they plan to complete it.
I have a dream that I get an email, say once every month or two, confirming what work has been completed and what remains outstanding.
I have a dream that when I return to the boat, having given the yard three months notice, that the boat keys are handed to me and I’m told that all the work has been completed and I am free to take the boat away.
But dreams are dreams. Fantasies of the mind that bear little resemblance to reality and certainly nothing like my experience in the last two years with Grenada Marine. Despite pleading with them every couple of weeks I never did get a list of what they understood my instructions were, which meant that several things I had asked them to do in writing hadn’t been done when I returned. And a lot of the things that they did know had to be done had not been completed either.
The consequence was that when I arrived in the middle of January hoping to take Mina2 away the following day, I had so many panic-stricken people working on the boat desperately trying to complete long overdue jobs that there was no room on the boat for me to get on board to complete the long list of tasks that I had allocated for myself. It took them almost a week to get everything finished.
However one thing I will say about Grenada Marine is that once they eventually get round to doing the work, notwithstanding the incompetent management of the yard, the work is generally of the highest quality. This year, in particular, my gratitude and admiration goes to Louis Cuenoud and his team of riggers. When we were in the Deep South, so extreme had been the conditions that half the paint had been stripped off my mast. And regular readers of this blog will recall that last year we were plagued by other rigging problems. Louis’ team took the mast out, stripped it down to its component parts; took it back to bare metal, had it re-sprayed, and repaired and replaced many tired and faulty components. The result is I have a mast, boom, rigging and furling equipment that is (fingers crossed) almost as perfect as the day Mina 2 was first launched nearly 18 years ago. Thank you Louis.
My delayed launch meant that I only had a few days to get Mina2 into shape for the first part of our cruise. The DS (Downstairs Skipper, aka my revered and much-loved wife Maria) and I had decided that we wanted to cruise the northern Leeward Islands and, in particular, the British Virgin Islands. But this meant getting Mina2 from Grenada some 350nm up to Antigua where the DS was to join me. I worked like a slave for 12 hours a day, and by the time my crew for the delivery passages arrived, Mina2 was tugging at her anchor in Prickly Bay, champing at the bit to get going – as was I.