April 21 - Still busy....

OK, then....Just what have we been doing? The woodworker, Carlton, has shown up every day, is quite talented, and I work alongside him. The galley sink access panel is complete, was mounted a few minutes ago, and looks great. The dodger eyebrow, which lifts the studs that the dodger attaches to from the fiberglass deck to a canted area on the teak, is just about finished. Carlton can be reached at Busy Bee Woodworking, 472-2490. The Yamaha outboard works fine; we used Jonathan's Outboard Shop at 727-9293. Our cockpit cushions are being recovered by Mervyn at Mervyn's Canvas & Cushions 463-7099. The FW pump pulley had a new, machined insert pressed onto the old bearing surface as well as a keyway slotted into the material. This approach saved a lot of money rather than starting from scratch, was installed back on the Perkins today, and we'll test everything out tomorrow. We used Wazied at Twin Line Boring & machine Shop (at Tardieu Marine) at 322-2600 for several projects now, and he knows his stuff. What else....got a haircut at Carla's across from us (75TT), near Crew's Inn; the sails were taken to Ullman Sails; Matt's booked his ticket back to the States (this coming Monday) and is busy with last minute stuff, as well as running substitute line for halyards, cleaning, and painting. We've been to a few cruisers BBQ's (braai's in SA!), had dinner with friends, and are trying to eat all the food we have aboard before we depart as well (no tickets yet). Whew...time is flying by!

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April 11 - Busy times

Well, we started to tackle our punch list of projects. So far, we've removed the Yankee and main sails; they and the staysail will go to Ullman Sails for inspection and stitching repairs where needed. The wood worker stopped by and I discussed a few teak projects with him. I went to the machine shop to drop off the FW pump pulley for insert fabrication. He smiled when he saw my keyway modification. But, hey...it worked, didn't it! I called about the liferaft repack but didn't get a good feeling from that outfit; we'll have to wait and see. We visited the YSATT office and talked to Catherine there. Next door to the Coral Cove Marina is Tropical Marine, where Jesse James hangs out. He wasn't in, but we did stop for a beer at the Wheelhouse Cafe there. The foredeck's been washed; the cockpit still needs it. The Yamaha went into the shop for a modification. The starter pull cord wouldn't work; something new and different. I was afraid the cylinder was locked up, but that's not the case. The mechanic explained that on the two stroke, 15 HP Enduro models, the one we have, the shaft goes up into the head and is, basically too long, therefore susceptible to salt encrosion which eventually just packs so tightly that the engine can't turn over. The solution is to remove the upper part of the motor and literally cut off about an inch or so of the shaft; newer Yamaha models already come with that mod; more specifics will be forthcoming. This morning I took the gooseneck off the boom for R/R as its bearing surface was eating into the forward end of the boom and caused the boom to tilt as well. Fortunately, the welder is next door to the machine shop. What had happened was that over the years, salt water, again, caused corrosion behind the bearing surface and pitted the bearing surface of the gooseneck where it inserts into the boom. The welder filled it in where needed with material (aluminum); the machine shop took off the extra metal, and I had a larger SS bearing surface (think of a large SS washer) fabricated to distribute the load a bit more on the most forward vertical surface of the boom. More fun and games. But, seeing that we've only been here two days...hey, we've made a start on it! Sue's done a few loads of hand laundry, which is now hanging from the lifelines (yes, we do look like a laundry scow...), and has arranged pick up of another few loads (sheets and towels, mostly) to the laundromat next door at Tropical Marine. She's also posted a few more photo albums; enjoy!

April 9 - TEAM INFINI REPORTS SAFE ARRIVAL IN CHAGAURAMAS, TRINIDAD

I call it repairs with bubble gum and duct tape; kidding of course. We arrived to the north coast of Trinidad during the early afternoon but were too late to attempt the narrow channel into Chagauramas. We chose to anchor under a spit of land that provided protection from the prevailing easterlies, and although rolly, we all got enough sleep and, more important, the engine worked getting into the anchorage which was located behind a reef. At 0600 we departed with light winds, and by late morning were far enough along under sail to start the engine about one mile from the channel entrance. We had contact with several other cruising boats, and arrangements were made for several dinghies to help us get into our slip when the time came. The engine worked fine; the repairs held and we gave thanks for that. Gordon (sv Mantra), Fred (sv Liberty) and James (sv Banshee) came out by dinghy, and the dock hands caught our lines as we maneuvered into a narrow slip at Coral Cove Marina. Customs and Immigration had given us permission beforehand to go directly to our slip rather than tie up to their dock, and it all worked out. By noon we were secured and realized we had sailed 6790 nautical miles from Richards Bay, South Africa to here! We've crossed the Indian and Atlantic Oceans in the last year, and have had an amazing time. At 1300, we cleared in with officials at Immigration, then Customs and were treated very professionally; processing went quickly. After, we went for lunch (very expensive) at the Crews Inn and are now slowly organizing the boat and ourselves. A hot shower...wifi...life is good. Bubble gum and duct tape :)

April 5 - Happy Easter Sunday!

Pos: N08deg10min / W054deg42min. We had a good noon-noon run of 177 miles; average speed 7.4 knots. The full moon and conditions during the night were beautiful. Sue's prepared a lovely dinner: steak tenderloin medallions, Oriental noodle salad, mashed potatoes, onions with mushrooms, and sticky toffee cheesecake for dessert. Yumm! AWA.

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April 4 - It's a marlin!

Pos: Matt hooked up Infini's first billfish today, a 32 pound, 5 1/2 foot marlin! To set the scene: it was 11:30 in the morning, winds were 18-20 knots and we were barreling along at 6.5-7 knots. The drag on the reel went off and the line spun out fast. Matt got on it immediately and managed to tighten the drag enough to slow down the fish but not tight enough to break the line. Eventually, we furled the jib to slow the boat down to 5 knots. The man-vs-fish battle lasted two hours and I was dumping fresh water on the reel to cool it off while Matt reeled in; towards the end, the fish appeared to be winning and was very close to spooling the reel (unwinding all the line on the reel and taking off for the deep blue) when he finally tired out and eventually was brought to the boat, fortunately dead, as we didn't relish having a large billfish jumping around the deck trying to impale one of us. Exciting stuff! The freezer is definitely packed!

April 3 - We're getting there

Pos: N06deg54min / W049deg59min. Winds have been ENE-NE 13-18 for days now, occasional gusts to 21-22. We've been running with a single reef in the main, and 1/2-2/3 of the Yankee. Lots of sargosso weed in the water. Tonight is the full moon; Good Friday. AWA.

Mar 31 - Repairs have worked

Pos: N03deg28min / W044deg09min. We ran the engine earlier and the FW pump pulley turns fine. Unfortunately, a slight metallic sound can be faintly heard, no doubt the new key in a very doubtful keyway holding it in for the present. Because of this, we've decided to go directly to Chaguaramas to affect proper R/R. The weather forecast looks favorable; brisk NE winds the entire way. Yesterday's noon to noon run was 164 mi, so we're making good time.

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Mar 30 - We'll have to wait a bit longer

Pos: N02deg26min / W041deg50min. It was a boisterous day sailing, winds 18-20 for most of it. Our speed has been in the 6's-7's, so today wasn't conducive to starting the motor. Coolant is in the system and all the hose clamps have been checked; it's now up to the small key in the keyway to see if the entire repair holds.

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