Hauling a vessel is an annual rite of passage for many, especially in the Caribbean when yachts are usually safer on the hard for hurricane season. All At Sea reached out to nearly 50 boatyards in the Caribbean to learn what’s new (See Sidebar) and to get these experts advice on three key questions. Here’s a sampling of responses:
Finding the Right Yard & Preparing a Vessel for Haul-Out
It’s important to do some research before a haul out. For example, says Douglas Rapier, of Douglas Yacht Services, in Le Marin, Martinique, “first look for a dry dock that respects the current environmental regulations. Secondly, a port that offers several high-quality services typically required during a haul-out and for annual maintenance. Third, remember that everything has a price. Low price frequently equates to lower quality when it comes to rigging, electrical and mechanical repairs.”
To prepare a vessel for hauling, especially during the summer, is to make sure as much storm prep as possible is done ahead of time, recommends Bentley Hodge, boatyard manager at Nanny Cay Marina & Boatyard, in Tortola, British Virgin Islands. “Remove and store the genoa/jib and remove the mainsail. If not removed, the mainsail should be secured, and the boom lowered to the deck or coach roof where possible and secured.”
Hodge additionally suggests removing any canvassing such as dodgers, sprayhoods, Bimini tops or loose deck gear and stow. All running rigging should be secure and fastened away from the mast to avoid excessive noise and wear and tear. Remove and stow all loose deck gear, cushions, pillows, fenders, etc. Remove solar panels and wind generators. Lastly, dinghies should be deflated and strapped upside down on the deck or stored under a catamaran.
Do leave available manuals onboard if you plan to have work performed on the boat while it’s hauled, advises Laura Fletcher, who with husband Jason, operate Grenada Marine, in St. David’s, Grenada, which has just introduced its new logo.
Before the haul-out, make sure your haul strap markings are in place before entering the slipway, have fenders on both sides of the boat, adds Milton McKenzie, boatyard manager at IGY’s Rodney Bay Marina, in St. Lucia.
On the other hand, this process is much easier on an owner if the yacht is purchased through a charter operator. The operator, says Jo-Ann Downing, director of Voyage Charters, at the Soper’s Hole Marina on Frenchman’s Cay, BVI, “will prepare the vessel for haul-out according to the boat’s bookings and dates dependent on weather. The company hauls most of its vessels at the West End Boat Yard.
Maintenance Work While Hauled
When it comes to a maintenance worklist, set your priorities, as per Jeff Howell, general manager at Bobby’s MegaYard, in St. Maarten. “The first is what must be done such as leaking Shaft Packing, Antifouling and any stuck overboard valves. The second list of what should be done, and the third what would be nice to be done if there is time and money.”
Corrosion spots are something to especially check for once the vessel is hauled, says Mark Ten Hoopen, owner of Boatyard Bonaire, near Kralendijk. “We see a lot of them. Also, check all your through-hull fittings and all valves. This is the time to see if they need to be changed. It’s not a fun job, but essential to get fixed in the yard.”
Wash and paint the bottom of the vessel before returning it to the water, says Carlos Ponce, sales and customer service manager at Puerto Del Rey, in Fajardo, Puerto Rico. “For vessels with motors, it is important to maintain generators, transmissions, propellers and engines. If your vessel is a sailboat or catamaran, it is important to perform maintenance on the generators, and clean and treat the propellers, transmission and engines. Also, to inspect the rigging cables that support the mast.”
When & How to Relaunch
Most captains and owners with vessels in the Caribbean wait until the end of hurricane season, November 1, or after to relaunch.
“It is always best to check with the boatyard for scheduling. Avoid the rush. Launch your vessel on days when the yard is less likely to be busy… between the ‘T’S’ Tuesday – Thursday,” suggests Nanny Cay Marina’s Hodge.
Finally, adds Bobby’s MegaYard’s Howell, before relaunch “the captain and crew need to board and do a full inspection of all areas that were worked on such as the overboard valves and shaft packing. A complete check for water leaks needs to be quickly done before the belts are released from the boat as it is much easier to lift out again if there is a problem. Once checked and found to be fine, the captain can head out to his next destination.”
WHAT’S NEW – CARIBBEAN BOATYARD UPDATE
Here’s a round-up of what’s new at a sampling of boatyards throughout the Caribbean.
Jamaica. The Errol Flynn Marina & Shipyard in Port Antonio is under new management, who are working to improve all services and the facility’s general esthetics. “Over the years the boatyard has moved towards being a ‘DIY’ space. As such, there is a greater thrust towards having outside contractors – who are available on request – to undertake electrical and mechanical works, minor sail repairs and carpentry,” says Donna Wilson, marina manager.
The Bahamas. Bradford Marine, in Freeport, Grand Bahama, expects to take delivery of a new 150-ton Marine Travelift in December. The lift is capable of hauling vessels up to 31-ft wide, 125-ft long and 14-ft draft. Other updates are a new onsite generator to mitigate downtime in a city power failure, solar power lighting installation as part of a clean energy initiative, new General Manager and Operation Superintendent. “Also, with the canal harbor expansion, our canal entrance will become completely unrestricted: no more narrow entrance and vessels needing to back down the channel due to their inability to maneuver in the channel,” says Ray Lightbourne, general manager.
Turks & Caicos. The haul-out ramp at the Southbank Marina and Boatyard in Providenciales is now wider at 36-ft. Also new are state-of-the-art added dock slips, haul-out floating dock and main dock, plus a high-tech fuel farm with a 15,000-gallon capacity each for diesel ULSD and REC 90 gasoline.
Puerto Rico. Some of the newest contractors at Puerto Del Rey Marina in Fajardo are The Yacht Garage, One Stop Marine and Wally Castro Marine. In San Juan, the Puerto Rico Ports Authority and Isla Borinquen LLC announced the execution of a long-term lease to create San Juan Yacht & Ship (SJYS), a superyacht maintenance and refit yard at Pier 15 near the Convention Center. Project highlights include a 645-ft Graving/Dry Dock, use of the 950-ft Outfitting Pier and 8 acres of uplands to support yachts and commercial vessels up to 625-ft in length. SJYS will also invest in a floating dry dock and mobile trolley system to lift and haul yachts and ships on the property and use the 102,000-sq-ft of buildings, which will be renovated on-site. The $15M phase one investment and renovation will be completed over the next two years. However, yachts can begin in-water refit this fall.
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. St. Croix Marine Center is now the Mercury Marine distributor for the island, with a certified Mercury technician on staff. “We have upgraded our crane to a 33-ton Terex, which enables us to de-mast sailboats safely and lift heavier boats, engines and other loads. We have 4 new moorings, which rent for $30/day,” says Chris Hanley, owner.
St. Maarten & Guadeloupe. F.K.G. Marine Rigging & Fabrication in Cole Bay, and sister facility, IMM, in Pointe a Pitre, are now RigPro Caribbean. “This is an exciting development allowing the companies to work as OEM on all Southern Spars, Hall Spars and Future Fibers masts and rigging as a manufacturer representative,” says Norina Edelman, manager.
Antigua & Barbuda. There’s new ownership at the Jolly Harbour Marina & Boatyard, in Jolly Harbour. “There will be some investment being made through the low season to refurbish the last section of the boardwalk as well as significantly enhancing the level of CCTV security,” says Jo Lucas, general manager. The property welcomes ABSAR (Antigua Barbuda Search and Rescue), which will be based along the waterside in the boatyard. The Antigua Port in Jolly Harbour reopened in July, with Customs, Immigration and Port Authority joined by the Port Health department. In English Harbour, Antigua Slipway Ltd. has introduced a new Guardianship Service, where the company caretakes vessels and provides monthly feedback reports, inclusive of photos and suggestions for repairs. “Before the 2022 season begins, we will embark on an extensive renovation of our Railway, which can haul motor and sailing yacht up to 200 tons and 200-ft LOA,” says Roberto Falangola, managing director. “We are also exploring the possibility of renovating one of our old carpentry buildings into a 6 room, 12 guest Crew House.”
Dominica. The Dominica Marine Center, in Roseau, has welcomed a new technician/mechanic, Pablo Villarroel, who comes with many years of service in the industry.
Grenada. New eatery, One Love Restaurant & Bar, is open at Spice Island Marine Services in True Blue. The company’s main office is now located above the Budget Marine store for easier access and there’s a new ABYC (American Boat & Yacht Council) certified technician.
Trinidad & Tobago. Peake Yacht Services in Chaguaramas reminds boaters that the island’s border opened to international visitors in July. In the past year, according to Christopher Peake, the island’s Port Authority has placed new navigational and marker buoys to mark safe navigation routes in the waterways around the peninsula. The Coast Guard has received several brand new, large patrol vessels, adding to an already large and expanding fleet, to ensure safe navigation around island waters. On the fun front, there’s now an official bicycle lane that extends the length of the peninsula and is cordoned off from the main road. This lane allows access to attractions such as Five Islands Water Park, the Chaguaramas Boardwalk, and Samaan Park, and a variety of natural cascades, waterfalls, and rivers. Plus, there’s a new farm-to-table restaurant/market in Chaguaramas called U-Pick.
Curacao. Curacao Marine, in Willemstad, has new laundry machines.