After 13 months in beautiful Grenada, we raised the anchor, hoisted the sails, and waved farewell to the little Caribbean island that had become like home to us. Our hearts were sad to leave behind the welcoming Grenadians who had treated us like family, but our minds were filled with the excitement of the voyage ahead and new adventures that awaited us in Puerto Rico, otherwise know as La Isla del Encanto (Island of Enchantment).
Where does your power come from? When you plug in your phone, computer, your refrigerator, is it a thoughtless action or do you stop to consider where the electricity is coming from and how much of it you are using?
Before I moved onto a boat, I never gave too much thought about power generation, other than paying the power bill that was sent to me each month. Now, it’s a different ball game.
Since we spend all of our time off-grid, that means that we have to generate and maintain our own power. Gone are the days of mindlessly plugging in the laptop or phone whenever the mood strikes. Now, we must actively watch how much power we are generating and how much we are using.
How do we generate power?
We promised you a post on our power generation and battery set up on Soltara–I promise it’s coming! First, we thought you would be interested in an update on where we are and upcoming plans.
The last update we gave you had us still in the boatyard, waiting on parts and ticking off boat projects.
You will be relieved to know that we are no longer in the boatyard!
Before the final purchase of our Tayana 37, we hired an experienced surveyor to survey her inside and out. Just like when buying a house, we wanted to know of any potential problems that would need to be addressed or that could help in adjusting the purchase price.
We were aware from the start that most of the electronics onboard were more than 10 years old and that we would likely need to replace and upgrade some of them. During the survey, we discovered that many of the electronics did not function at all—the wind instrument, depth sounder, speed log, SSB radio, autopilot display, amongst other instruments.
In our last post we left you with the understanding that we were in search of a local buyer for our catamaran, since borders were still closed on island. We knew we would have to be much more flexible with our asking price, and we also knew that finding a local buyer would be challenging.
Then L. J. had a brilliant thought…
You know that halting sound a car makes when someone suddenly slams on breaks? That’s kind of what happened the last week of March 2020, which just so happened to be the week our buyer (the second one, now) was scheduled to travel and have Snowflake surveyed.
We had been following Covid-19 news for a couple of weeks, grimly noticing that it appeared to be slowly spinning out of control. When Grenada confirmed their first case, they locked the island down like Fort Knox. Who was in stayed in, and who was out stayed out.
Once we had our new to us Tayana 37 in the same bay as our catamaran, it was time to get to work. We had only a few days to move our belongings from Snowflake (our catamaran) onto Soltara (our monohull) and to prepare Snowflake for what sounded like a very keen buyer. We weren’t too concerned, after all, we didn’t have very many things to move over. Right?
After taking ownership of our new old boat, a 1981 Tayana 37, we prepared her to sail from the island of Trinidad to Grenada. Grenada is around 90 nautical miles north of Trindad and would require an overnight passage. But until we could make a few upgrades to Soltara, our insurance company was holding us hostage. Ah, marine insurance — how I loathe thee.
We replaced the old glass in the portlights (some of the double panes had small cracks), replaced the rigging, made a small repair to the bowsprit, upgraded all of the electronics (details about this will come in a later post), and a few other items were repaired/upgraded in Trinidad. Once we had completed the repairs, we were itching to get back to Grenada to meet with a potential buyer for Snowflake, our catamaran.
“Once you go cat, you don’t go back!”
It’s a frequent phrase you hear amongst cruisers. Suffice it to say, it’s not unusual to see people “upgrade” from a monohull to a catamaran.
What’s the attraction of catamarans?
- More living space.
- More stable, no heeling.
- Big cockpit for entertaining.
- Shallow draft, can anchor closer to shore.
These are just some of the things that attract people to catamarans, and it is generally rare that someone would change from catamaran to monohull.
But, as you know by now, that is exactly what we have done.
“Man, she’s a beaut. A real classic.”
“Yeah, she sure is. Look at those lines…the bronze fittings and ports.”
“And the teak… Don’t forget about that beautiful Taiwanese teak.”
“And those round port lights. Looks like a pair of eyeballs!”