What’s the Plan?

So, are we going to set sail imminently? Tour each Caribbean island in a limited number of days? Try out each anchorage and finish off the experience writing a heart-rending, if best-selling travel book? Bill Bryson, eat your heart out… and add some entrails to the dish?

Uhhh, no. For now, we’re going to stay put and do school. Settle in. I know; good times. I think you’re safe, Bill.

This is partly because we have arrived in the Caribbean at the muggiest, hottest part of the year. Full-swing hurricane season. And as I mentioned in my previous post, we have an air-conditioning unit on Quest. Hmmm. Boatyard is gooood. Yesterday, we took turns standing under it. Air-conditioning unit is gooood. After about 10am, it became blisteringly hot outside. The day we arrived, we had a fair breeze and that was ok. It was nicely cooling. Yesterday the breeze left to visit some other lucky folks. We were left with the over-enthusiastic sun. And god, that guy’s friendly.

So, for now, all things being well, we will remain in situ. We’ve rented a car and are thinking a month. Maybe Quest will get lowered into the water before then. After that, we won’t plan on hanging around too much. We’ll seek a breezy anchorage.

Also, we’ve had new electronics mounted onto Quest. We are the proud owners of a new plotter – our old one died on the way to Barbados last year (it’s ok, she had a good life), some fancy new digital instruments, a new radar, transceiver and… drum roll please… an upgrade to our auto-pilot. Yes, George has had a face-lift. Yay George! On the bottom of Quest we now have two sensor blocks. These are to help George ‘feel’ the pitch and roll on Quest. This is because, a number of times before, he’s been caught out. And I’m not just saying that cause he’s a ‘man’. Hehe.

In fairness, auto-pilots do have a hard time on a boat. They have to feel out sea conditions as well as wind. When Quest pitches and rolls, which she does quite a bit being a monohull sailing boat, George has to adjust. And this gets harder when the wind gets stronger. Poor George. In some ways, hand-sailing (oh ya darling, very old-fashioned) gives you a better sail, because you can see the upcoming swell and anticipate with the steering. If the wind is coming from one angle and we dip into a trough, George can get confused and overcompensate. Result? We sometimes steer like we’ve had a bit too many. Or worse-case, he gives up completely. He can be a real sulker, our George.

The sensors have been fitted by the guy in the electronics shop over by Crew’s Inn Marina to help solve this issue. We also have a hydrovane; a self-steering wind vane. She came on board Quest four-years ago in Las Palmas. Fitted by the legendary Jon Crouch. Hey Jon! But despite the fun we had fitting it – remember when Jack had to dive into the stinky marina water for two days to find that one special spacer that fell overboard? Next to the sail boat full of American ex-cons? Hehe – we’ve found the hydrovane gets quickly overpowered. Even more so than George.

Because of our back transom ladder, she is side-mounted onto the stern of Quest. Although that’s officially ok, it always seemed a bit strange. A big ask for a steering system. Considering life is tough for them anyway. Now, she has become the most expensive, but useful, hand-hold getting in and out of Evil Edna, our dinghy.

Can’t wait to test George’s face-lift. But first thing’s first: school. And air-con.

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