For those who have owned a boat, you know there is always something to fix or improve on and the list is just never ending. As you complete one task, you just add another (or two) to the bottom of the list. Then you work on whichever item you feel like that day and have enough time to devote to it. It is just the way it goes and you eventually get use to the concept and get some satisfaction as you finish each task.

As planned, there were a few items that I knew had to be addressed but it is always a surprise at how many other things turn up needing attention. How do things break while the boat is just sitting on the hard? Who knows, but it just does. Labor rates and quality of work differs on each island as it does here in the USA. You have to ask around and try and figure out who and who NOT to use. The one thing that makes any project expensive in the islands are parts. Any boat part can wind up being double or triple the cost then what you can get it for in the USA. This is mainly due to the availability of the part and the shipping costs to get it here. Most of the things we have needed over the years had to be ordered from the USA and then shipped.

The two main projects that I hadn’t expected to do was replace the cutless bearing and service the rudder. Luckily I checked both as soon as we were out of quarantine and I was able to get onto 5KNOTS. The cutless bearing holds the prop shaft in place and keeps it from wobbling. It wasn’t that bad but I didn’t want to chance it causing problems with the transmission and it wasn’t going to get better on its own. It is not that difficult of a job to replace it but getting the part was another story. What could be ordered here in the USA for less than $100 wound up costing over $400 in Grenada. I could have ordered one from the USA and had it shipped in but that could have taken a week or longer to get here. Since I had the launch and survey already scheduled, I did not want to chance missing that date because the surveyor is booked for months and if the buyer decided to not go ahead with the purchase, it would delay our sail back to Florida, both I wanted to avoid. So I had to settle and just get the one that was local on the shelf here.

The rudder shaft was an interesting one since we did not have any issues with it when we hauled out at the end of last season. However, while sitting in the yard for 8 months this time the bearing just seized up and I could not turn the rudder. This obviously had to be corrected. So there was some good and bad news for this repair. First the bad, it took 6 hours to remove the shaft in order to inspect it due to all of the salt corrosion around the bearings and bolts holding the rudder in place. But before it could be removed, the yard had to did a 3 foot hole under it so when it came out the rudder shaft could clear 5KNOTS’s hull. The good news is,  the original bearings were not badly damaged and were reused, so nothing had to be ordered. The bearings were cleaned and the rudder repaired and now it is like brand new.

We always take time from yard chores to enjoy the wonderful people and the island of Grenada. 5KNOTS has spent the past two hurricane seasons safe in the yard here in Grenada. Out of all of the Caribbean Islands, Grenada is where we have spent the most time and has been  basically our second home. Except for trips back to the USA and France, this is where we have spent most of our time. During our stays we experienced many of the wonderful things here on Grenada. The country is rich in culture and history with Museums, Forts, Nutmeg and Chocolate Factories, Jungles, Waterfalls, Beautiful Beaches and the Hash’s. A Hash is an organized hike through a different part of the island and is held each Saturday. A route is marked using biodegradable paper shavings and will lead you up mountains, through the jungle and local neighborhoods. It is not a race and racing is discouraged. However, you must travel at a pretty good pace in order to finish before dark and have enough time to partake in the after party. The course is comprised of two routes, one for walkers and the other runners and often times sections of the course are shared by both. At the start, runners are sent off first as to not be slowed down by the walkers followed immediately by the walkers. The route organizers mark junctions along the route where you have to decide which way to go. If you select the correct way, you will find additional route markings and if not, you will wind up getting lost in the jungle or heading the wrong way through a neighborhood. Hopefully you find the error of your ways sooner than later for you will have to backtrack to get back on the correct route.

The locals all come out and watch as Hashers make their way through their back yards and neighborhoods. Many setup stands and hand out water, sell refreshments, barbecue chicken, provide encouragement and directions as to the correct route. And of course the all important Island Music played at an extremely loud volume. In fact should you become lost along the way, just listen and head towards the music. You will usually find the correct way out and if not, at least you will find a party. You can find organized Hash’s in other countries throughout the world and was thought to have been started in the United Kingdom in the mid 19th century. Here is a link to to the History of the Hash – and another to the Grenada Hash House Harrier’s web page – If visiting Grenada, make sure to attend one or more Hash events. For if you do not, you will miss out on a great time. Also while traveling elsewhere, look for a local Hash that may be in the area and join in on the fun. They are great events providing exercise, you get to see different parts of the country, socialize and party when finished. Can’t see anything wrong with this!

We had the bottom of 5KNOTS completely sanded back down to the barrier coat and applied fresh anti-fouling to her bottom. This time we went with blue as last year her bottom was black. It is a good idea to change bottom paint colors each time it is painted so that as the ablative paint is washed away you will be able to tell when you are down to the previous paint. In addition to painting the bottom, I had all of our standing rigging cleaned and polished, boat washed and waxed and when finished 5KNOTS looked her best.

The following day, St. Vincent’s volcano La Soufrière erupted sending ash all the way to Grenada covering everything. St. Vincent is located about 100 nautical miles NE of Grenada. Residents of St. Vincent were evacuated off of the island due to the amount of ash that was dumped on it. Areas of the island were devastated. La Soufrière continued to erupt the remainder of our stay in Grenada. Fortunately for us the southern tip of Grenada where we were located was not covered again with the amount of ash as the first eruption. This was  due to the trade winds keeping it primarily north of Grenada. However, Grenada’s other island of Carriacou located half way between Grenada and St. Vincent, continued to get covered in ash. Each day we could smell the sulphur in the air and see the haze all around us. Usually in the morning we could see high clouds heading towards us. This continued for the remaining two weeks of our trip but fortunately avoided another shower of ash. I had to go back and rewash 5KNOTS a couple of times in order to remove the layer of ash.

With all of the boat projects complete and our survey scheduled for the next day, it was time to splash once again. In order to keep boats as close as possible, monohulls are launched and moved around the yard in a trolly rather than a travel lift. It is cool to see how they use it to lift you off of the jack stands and get you back into the water. Once back in the water and everything checked to make sure no leaks, we tied up to the dock in order to put the sails back on and ready 5KNOTS for her sea trial. It is not a good idea to attempt to put sails on while in the hard on jack stands because wind could catch the sail and possibly pull 5KNOTS off of her stands. Plus it is difficult enough loading/unloading heavy sails from the boat to the dock just a few feet away let alone attempting to do it while on  jack stands.

The rigging inspection, boat survey and sea trial all went smoothly. In fact with a freshly painted bottom, 5KNOTS screamed through the water during the sea trial. It felt so good getting back on the water and I started to wonder what it would be like without 5KNOTS. Rather than schedule an immediate haul out, we kept 5KNOTS at the dock for a week while the prospective buyers waited for the survey report and decided wether to purchase her or not. Well they decided to go ahead with the sale so now we had to decommission 5KNOTS and ready here to be put back into the yard. Seemed like a bunch of work to ready her and then decommission her for just one day at sea. But, that’s what you have to do when buying/selling a boat. It is just more work for sail boats because you have to mess with the sails.

Once the sails and canvas were removed and back on the hard there wasn’t much more to do to ready 5KNOTS to stay on land for the new owners. Now boat less, we would not be sailing back to Florida and had to arrange flights and schedule for another COVID test prior to boarding the plane here in Grenada. We arranged to stay an additional week, relax, enjoy all the things we like to do in Grenada, say by to friends and take in another Hash. On our last day, I did all of my laundry as to not bring back a bunch of dirty clothes.

With our negative COVID test results in hand, the flight back to Miami went without issues. We had to stay the night in Miami and the following day I UBER’ed to Ft. Lauderdale to catch my flight back to Tennessee.

They say the two greatest days in a boaters life is the day they buy and sell their boat. Well certainly it was a great day when we purchased  5KNOTS back in 2016 but I do not feel like it is such a great day selling her. She has been a great boat and has taken both Renée I safely over 7,000 nautical miles. We have seen and experienced amazing things and feel blessed to have had these past four and half years to travel/live like we did.

So What’s Next?

Our original plan was to build a small home on our 5 acre track of land located in the mountains just outside of Maryville. However, with the the cost of building supplies sky high, we are considering building a garage with a small apartment at this time until things settle back down. In the meantime we continue to enjoy our property and have begun laying out a driveway to where we will build.

No, it’s not a tumor. The large growth on the tree is called a Burl and it is used by wood carvers to make beautiful bowls. This started out several yrears ago about the size of a small basketball and has now grown to this. I have a few pictures of it and will get in touch with some local carvers to see if they have interest in it. I am sure it would make a great bowl.

No, that’s not the garage we are looking to build. It is just a lean-to to store a lawn mower and some tools up at our property.