Although Dad was a golfer at heart, I know that he really enjoyed sailing with us. As I sit here on Taka Trois writing this and reminiscing about him, I am so grateful for the times that he came to join us onboard and especially for that time he and my Mom came to surprise us when we made landfall at the end of our Atlantic crossing in Antigua, and for a very special Christmas with the rest of my family in Saint Martin.
the day he buys his boat, and the day he sells it.”
As to whether we’ll be happy when we eventually sell our beloved Taka Trois? Well, if all goes according to plan, we should be able to find out sometime in the new year. Yes friends and neighbours, we have started the process of putting her up for sale with a broker in Martinique. The decision to sell has been heart-wrenching, but after weighing all the options, we know that it is the right one. However, I seriously doubt that when that day comes it will be a happy one. I predict we will feel a combination of sadness, relief, and a profound gratefulness for the privilege of being her owners.
Before that day comes though, we will enjoy one more season of sailing; our ‘swan song’ of sorts. The general plan is to sail the boat from Trinidad to Saint Martin, with several pleasure and work stops along the way, over the course of the next few months. You’ve heard me say many times on this blog that, “a sailor write his plans in the sand,” so we’ll see how it goes.
The first step in this plan was to get the boat ready. We arrived in Trinidad early November gung-ho to get the boat and ourselves ready to go. Patrice had come down to Trinidad after my Dad’s funeral to take the boat out of the water and get the work started on a long list of repairs. He left her at the end of September in the hands of several people who promised to do the work, but as so often happens in the islands, things just didn't happen. So for the first three weeks we were there, the boat remained on the hard while the work was completed, amidst terrible heat and frequent torrential rain.
*We have bought three boats in our lifetime: Taka, Taka Two and Taka Trois—note Taka Four will be a canoe or perhaps a Volkswagen minivan.
It was a mad race to the end as there is much to do, and we kept finding new things that needed to be replaced or repaired, but we managed to accomplish what was necessary. Thankfully Jens and Colleen arrived keen and ready to exercise their newly acquired sailing skills following a sailing course they had done because we had a perfect weather window for that time--thank you God! And we left the dock less than 24 hours after their arrival.
The crossing from Trinidad to Grenada is a tricky passage of roughly 80 nautical miles which takes 9 to 12 hours depending on wind, weather, currents, and other factors. Because we prefer to arrive in daylight, 'Plan A' was to anchor out in Scotland Bay around the corner from Chaguaramas (see map below) after leaving the dock at Crew’s Inn Marina that afternoon, rest awhile and then set sail at the crack of dawn for Prickly Bay, Grenada.
As that anchor fell, our spirits sank with it, and ‘Plan A' got washed out to sea. Gathering our wits, we rolled up our sleeves, flexed our muscles, and like in the old days, pulled up all that massive metal by hand—I was actually at the helm watching with trepidation and admiration. Let me tell you, it is incredibly disheartening to return to a dock a mere two hours after one has left it, especially when one has put so much time and effort into the planning, and set off in such high spirits with great anticipation...but that’s what we did. Our friends from Indigo, Kathy and Greg, who had just bid us farewell at the dock, were there to take our lines and graciously offered us condolences and encouragement. It's what sailors always do. A few beers later, we were able to take stock, laugh about it and rejoice over the fact that no one got hurt (thanks be to God).
The next morning, we miraculously got a temporary fix, and because of our short weather window and the imminent departure of our crew, we decided to risk going that afternoon. It was a mutal decision to sail straight to Grenada overnight without stopping in Scotland Bay and testing the mettle of that windlass. I know some of you may be on tenterhooks waiting to read about the next disaster, and I hope I won't disappoint you when I tell you that ‘Plan B’, went without incident, and after a beautiful crossing, well lit by the moon and milky way, and a couple of squalls to keep us on our toes, we successfully dropped the anchor at dawn in Prickly Bay. As the French say: Ouf!