TO EVERYTHING A SEASON
This month, we have two special features on boatyards. One is a roundup of what’s new in the region’s boatyards and the other suggests things you might look for in a yard before making the decision where to haul out. Just like the e-revolution, boatyards are evolving at a tremendous pace. Newer and larger hoists are operating in cleaner yards, and facilities are realizing the importance of having onsite chandleries, business centers, restaurants and bars. Perhaps most important of all, yards are training their operatives and most companies now employ highly skilled workers and contractors able to tackle any job from sanding the bottom of a hull to installing the latest in communications equipment. I have had some terrible experiences in boatyards and I view these upgrades as good news. One thing that all boatyards should do is listen to what the boat owner has to say. An owner who has lifted his boat several times knows where the slings should go and how the boat should be chocked. My classic yacht was badly damaged by a yard that refused to listen and went behind my back by moving the slings to the wrong palace. That’s why I put communications between the owner and yard operatives high on my list. Discuss the lift by all means, but if you think the yard is not listening to you then perhaps it’s time to find somewhere else to haul.
Sailing is all about timing and sometimes we get it wrong. Very wrong. As I write, Tropical Storm Bret has formed north of the Bahamas and is churning northeast across the Atlantic. Ahead of Bret, another area of disturbed weather has turned into Tropical Storm Cindy. Both systems are in an area used by cruising yachts on their way to Europe for the summer. The boats that left it late to make the Atlantic crossing would pay a price for their bad timing.
Never have we been so connected and I ask myself how we managed without computers. As one of the ‘keep it simple’ brigade I seem to have complicated my life with a string of different email addresses, two websites, five Facebook pages, Twitter account and a Blog. Perhaps this accounts for why I’m rarely seen around the bars anymore. One thing about the internet, it takes us places we wouldn’t normally go. No, I’m not talking about porn, but blogs about boating and sailing websites. I have always liked boats and I don’t care what kind of boats they are. One blog I follow is written by a woman who runs a working barge on the waterways of England. What a different way of life to that of cruisers and charter boats in the Caribbean. I find something appealing about meandering through the countryside at three knots and then tying up outside a pub for the night where I could log on to their WiFi, check my emails, write my blog, connect with Facebook, Tweet â€¦