St. Martin (April 22 to….)


The appointment to haul out Keraban at Philipsburg was on May 3, so I hanged out with our friends from Youth at Grande Case, then Marigot for a couple of days, letting the silent environment on the boat set in.

I also wake up to the fact that there is an Atlantic passage in barely 2 week time. Last one took months to prepare, now it is more hit the ground running, but other than some maintenance you only need to convince your mind (and stomach).

We meet Chicca and Andrea Pestarini, which we had first seen in Lugano in the spring of 2016 when introducing their new boat. Their life is at sea, now on Durlindana, a 70ft steel ketch. We speak of many things, jumping back and forth their latest 250,000nm at sea, spent mostly in cold waters…way to go Keraban, way to go. What a pleasant and charismatic couple, I will seriously think of booking a few days of Antartica sailing, or Baja California. Go and check


First solo sail on Keraban on May 2nd from Marigot to Philipsburg, some 15nm to destination. Unfortunately things that never happened before did finally happen. Upon hauling the mainsheet up, it felt as one of the reefs was not open, and when I realized what was really happening it was late. I got my main halyard tangled in turning block att the base of the mast. The braid was ripped over 4-5m and the sail refused to come down as it did not get through the spinlock because of the braid. Re-anchorage, and with the main halfway up I started cutting the braid open while paying attention not to core of the line. The halyard is lost (64m of dynema core…), but at least getting the new one through the mast will just need a mast climb. It was a Genoa only sail down to Philipsburg then. What a disappointment as wind and seas were just perfect, some 20 to 25 kn and no swell. I guess I need the strong hands and arms of the kids to get it right.

The next morning I had the crew of Youth helping for the haul out. What would you do without friends. They have also chosen to carry their maintenance in the same shipyard, and our sterns are looking into each other , high above terrain on wooden pillars. We will spend the next few days hand in hand working on our boats and helping each other.

Although Keraban has the usual marks for the lift points, at the travel lift we could not respect them because the backstays would not fit. In the end the forward point was moved aft 1m, and when the boat was out of the water we noticed with relief that the speedo and depth sounder did not remain under the strap, by less than 10cm.

The list of important works for the next 5 days is not extensive, but as usual surprises will happen / parts will be missing, etc. Without the breeze the place is a furnace with 35C in the shadow at times. Keraban has isolation and is well ventilated, so any job below decks is still bearable, but above you need your bottle nearby:

Antifouling (2+1 layers) Trilux 33
Replace anodes. Rudder anodes apparently not working much. Check

Backstay starboard – Check / replace lower end
Replace mainsheet line (12mm)
Replace mainsheet halyard (10mm dynema)
Replace haul out (12-14mm spectra)
Lazy bag – reinforce covers
Lazy bag – sew bottom scratches
Rinse backstay alumine
Genoa UV band sewing
Staysail UV band sewing
Winch cleaning and greasing
Rinse all lines
Rinse and grease all deck shackles, pulleys, fittings
Replace boom O rings

S-Drive oil
Alternator belts
Maxprop cleaning and greasing
Throttle Lever control
Change heat extractors location

Rinse outboard engine / gearbox oil
Clean dinghy

Replace watermaker inlet vane
Check fridge cooling exchanger – contact surface with hull
Clean all seacocks from outside

Rudder shaft greasing. Check all nuts and bolts

Reset electronic compass
Gauge depth sounder

Hot water balloon leak
Loose ground grid connector
Sika under solar panel
Rinse and fill spare water jerrycans (4x25L)
Soft water level gauge sensor
Clean and grease electrical contacts
Fill rechargeable batteries
Passivate all sinks / taps

Cut 25m of chain (we will be left with 75m of 12mm chain + 20m of 22mm rope, a 100Kg saving right at the bow). Cut and replace union slab with welded slab.
Anchor roller – shave off 1.5mm

Test data connection. Simulate GRIB file downloads.
Confirm land based routing support

Proprietary cabin door hinge
Clean and grease drawer locks
Kitchen hatch water loss
Transparent silicone around kitchen table
Calibotis barreur
Apply silicone grease to all hatch sealings

Re stock as required


…the evenings after returning from the Greenhouse (the local bar / restaurant) it is about route planning, pilot book reading, waypoint plotting and starting to have a first look at the weather…how would it be if I left just now? pretty much perfect, let’s hope it stays like this.

As I write this we are Sunday and a couple of jobs are yet to be completed:
– Checking and most likely replacing the lower section of the backstay which has a (superficial) scratch, probably caused by the outboard prop. The rigger is due to visit tomorrow.
– Refitting the seacock vane for the water maker. In the end we could not replace the vane as the part is not available. We will pressure test the original one and refit. If the test fails, we will fit a 3 way (instead of 2 way) Randex with the same diameter and seal one terminal.
– Checking fridge heat exchanger seacock. If no corrosion, clean surface, vacuum clean, apply epoxy layer.
– Installing the replacement main halyard.
– Cutting 25m of anchor chain, welding new union slab
– Unloading 6HP Mercury, sold to the shipyard

The hull is clean and the new antifouling on. Always nice to look at a slick hull. The Maxprop is shining as new. The lithium 0 grease was not available, and since the prop is folding very smoothly and the oil is 1 year old, we did not replace it. With the crew available I will dive in the bay with the boat at low speed to check if it is folding properly. It will do a nice MOB recovery exercise to.

Speaking of which, the crew of 3 will be gradually arriving on the 8th, 9th and 13th. It is an interesting combination of personalities and skills. To be continued.

If we are not delayed by some of the open items above and I am rested enough, we may sail to Anguilla on the 10th or 11th and pick up Daniel at Marigot on the 13th. On the 14th I plan to do all the food stocking at the “Souper Ou” and thereon we will be monitoring the weather….

Precedente Virgin Islands (April 1 - April 21) Successivo Ready, Go!

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