Fred the Frenchman

Carnivale over, it was time to get some boat jobs done.

We’d made a booking with Fred Marine for our engine work, as they were recommended by Chris Doyle and were the Yanmar dealer. Fred turned out to be the French owner and he sent two of his guys, Fabrice and Stephane to work on the engines and they were excellent. 

Fixing the leaking sail drive gasket was a big job. The engine needed to be lifted forward and up, to provide access to the top of the saildrive. And the gasket wasn’t cheap here in the Caribbean. In fact, none of the parts were. Now that we are doing a lot of sailing and not that much motoring, we can get the servicing done in the USA and we can buy parts there as well so that if we need to service anything whilst we are in the Caribbean we won’t have to fork out for (more) expensive parts.

The problem with the genset skimmer box going low on sea water was a Steve Tull useless mechanic error – I didn’t manage to retrieve all the bits of impeller from the heat exchanger when I last blew an impeller. Fred also suggested that I put some hose loops in before the skimmer box to help ensure the impeller doesn’t have to work so hard pulling sea water up from so far when it first starts. An easy and cheap fix.

Whilst Fred Marine was good to work with, Waypoint was proving elusive. We wanted them to run a replacement cable up the mast to the spreader for the BadBoy WiFi extender. We tried to find their email address on the web – their website plus google. Their phone number was proving equally elusive. All we could find was a Contact form, which we submitted twice without a reply. So when we rolled up we asked if they could send someone and this got pushed back to 4pm on the last day. They turned up to tell us they needed two workmen and couldn’t do it to the day after. We gave up and left it to another island.

It was a long day for Fabrice and Stephane so we had to delay dinner with Peter and Jenny until after dark. We headed for the Route De Rhum restaurant; sort of appropriate as this is where this famous race finishes.

Next day, we lowered the dinghy and took it over to Fred Marine for a service. I supplied the parts for this as they couldn’t source them – Honda, really??? – and anyway it helped keep the cost down.

Whilst this was all happening, we took a 20 minute walk into Pointe a Pitre, Pointe a Pitre main town. We ended up at the main square, famous for its guillotining during the French Revolution. There were some interesting fruit and vege markets as well as local fisherman selling their catch in the adjoining small harbour. After grabbing a bite to eat, we headed off to the new Slave Museum, a magnificent building right on the waterfront. It was just reopening after lunch, as everything does in France, and the lines were long so we gave it a miss and headed back to the Marina.

We got back just in time to greet the unusual Westerlies that were forecast. They were creating a bit of carnage around the marina and in the adjoining anchorage (which is fine mud with poor holding). There was a James Bond 70m power tri that was being blown all over the place and theyt scrambled all hands to get it off the dock and into safety. We were not immune either as the wind was pushing us back onto our pontoon and we needed to get the Marina guys to attach another line to the mooring buoys out the front so we could pull ourselves off the pontoon. Elsewhere around the islands people were being washed ashore as a lot of yachties were basically ignorant of the big change from the regular Easterlies to the unusual Westerlies.

With all our work done, it was time to once again head North for some diving at Pigeon Island on the West Coast.



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