To be honest, Tortola has been a somewhat weird stop for us.Â I think that yesterday I figured out why this is.
Itâ€™s hard to think of a place where sailing is more of an â€œendâ€ than it is here.Â Scads of people fly in here, charter a sailboat, go sailing around the Virgin Islands, return the boat and fly home.Â The trip is about the sailing — and the sailing IS indeed great.Â Throw in a few rum punches at Foxyâ€™s and Soggy Dollar Bar, and that makes for a pretty nice getaway — I get it.
But, for us, our trip isnâ€™t about the sailing â€“ and it isnâ€™t for a week or two.Â Sailing is, for us, a â€œmeansâ€ to see the world.Â This is a trip around the world that happens to be on a sailboat.
And, speaking of sailing, not much of that is happening for us right now.Â You may recall that our original plan was to sail the boat from the Bahamas straight to the Virgin Islands to have some repairs done.Â After the Twin Fiascoes and the trip to Puerto Plata, we have even more repairs to add to the list.Â Hereâ€™s a PARTIAL list:
- Replace entire battery bank (5 new Lifeline 8D AGM batteries).Â Â Four of the 5 current batteries are shot.Â No sense in replacingÂ Â just four.Â Good news â€¦ theyâ€™re only $675 each (not counting labor).Â Ouch!
- A new forward hatch, replacing the old hatch which (inexplicably) had a little solar fan on it, whichÂ ensured that the whole forward cabin would be under 4-5 inches of water if youÂ were sailing upwind.Â This is a straight-up design defect â€“ you arenâ€™t doing much upwind sailing with that thing on there.
- A new companionway slide (which I accidentally broke on the way to the D.R.).
- Repairs to the companionway screen (another â€œoopsâ€ moment).
- Reattachment of the autopilot rudder return indicator mount, which spontaneously disintegrated just as we were landing the boat here in Tortola.
- Repairs and steel reinforcement of both salon tables (these were ridiculously flimsy and had obviously been broken multiple times before).
- Freezer repair (this has never really worked very well).
- Fridge repair (ditto).
- Fix both air conditioners (the forward one needed a new pump, the aft one only minor repairs).
- A comprehensive rust removal/polishing of all the stainless steel on the boat.
- Sanding and oiling of the toe-rail (weâ€™re removing the varnish and returning the teak to a natural finish).
- Yet another diagnosis/repair of the generator (weÂ have some sort of oil pressure problem).
- Repairs and batten replacement on the mainsailÂ (thanks to my stupid Christmas Day furling maneuver).
- About a dozen more â€œdo it yourselfâ€ jobs, including sourcing and installing a new, proper-sized fuel-filter head to swap for our emergency, over-sized replacement from the D.R.
Obviously, this is going to be shockingly expensive (probably five figures).Â But almost all of it simply HAS to be done.
Given the extent of the repairs, we have workmen coming to and from the boat basically every day.Â This means that, by and large, we are stranded in the marina.Â Even today (Sunday), we have a guy here working on the boat.Â Aside from boat repairs, there are basically two things to do here: sail and drink.Â We canâ€™t really sail.Â Fortunately, weâ€™ve made some good friends here.Â More on that in the next post.