On Sunday, April 27th, Cutter Loose is underway from La Phare Bleu Marina to St. David’s Harbor for the final segment of the 2013/2014 winter cruise. Today’s journey is a scant five nautical miles in distance, but seems twice as long. A two-knot favorable current is pushing us directly into 23-knot, easterly trade winds. Wind against current…always a deterrent. Cutter Loose is in washing machine mode today, bucking and pounding her way into six-to-eight foot seas with torrents of green water crashing on the foredeck. The stainless steel deck hardware, meticulously polished at La Phare Bleu Marina, is saturated in salt by the time we arrive in St. David’s Harbor.
At 8:45 AM on Monday, the annoying beep-beep-beep of the Grenada Marine travelift grows louder as it proceeds to the launch slipway for its 9 AM reunion with Cutter Loose. Once the lifting slings are in place beneath the keel, the short step from the swim platform onto the dock is a transformative experience. In that blink of an eye, our transition from sea creatures to land lubbers is complete.
By their very nature, all boat yards are harsh environments. The temperature is already well into the 80s and the humidity is paralyzing. For the next three days, we will endure the hot, dusty and noisy conditions in the yard while undertaking final preparations for summer/fall (aka hurricane season) storage. Gazing at this landscape, one cannot help but imagine how this scene might appear at the height of a major storm. In her welded steel cradle with ratcheted tie-down straps, Cutter Loose would probably survive all but the severest of storms. But the materials, supplies and other miscellaneous stuff scattered throughout the yard would rapidly become airborne projectiles. This disconcerting thought is counter-productive to our mission. The path of least resistance is to devote our undivided attention to the final shut-down task list.
The perfect antidote to work in the yard by day is an overnight stay at nearby La Sagessse Resort. Each day at 5 PM, a driver from La Sagesse arrives in the yard to transport our aching, dirty, sweaty bodies to the tropical paradise that awaits us in the adjacent bay. Within minutes of our arrival at La Sagesse, it is off to the beach for a swim. Once immersed, one’s body temperature drops and the day’s work in the yard fades to a distant memory. A shower, a glass of wine and dinner at the resort’s open-air restaurant completes the humanization process and prepares us for another day of work in the yard.
Each day, the list of unfinished tasks and our remaining time in Grenada become shorter. Finally, on Wednesday 4/29 at 5 PM, the preparatory work aboard Cutter Loose is declared complete. With an affectionate pat on the stern, we bid her farewell and promise to return in December.
That evening, Caribbean 1500 friends Neil and Shaun of s/v Escapade join us for dinner at La Sagesse. There is much to discuss, not the least of which involves our respective float plans for the 2014/2015 season. Ironically, the sailing season began at La Sagesse in the company of Neil and Shaun in early December. Tonight, the season ends over dinner at La Sagesse. They have become “bookend” friends.
Back in our oceanfront room, the lights are out early in anticipation of a 5 AM departure from La Sagesse in the morning. Time and the silver bird to Miami wait for no man.