Tag Archives: marine communication

Sint Maarten – Getting the Boat Ready

Jerawyn lived on a mooring on the Dutch side of Simpson Bay Lagoon from mid-February until mid- April to allow the work to get done. The Lagoon, 12 square miles of nearly land-locked water, is half in Sint Maarten and half in French Saint Martin – you get in and out through two draw bridges. This is generally considered the yachting center of SXM and, while cruising yachts are a big part of their business, there are also quite a number of marinas that have been built to cater to megayachts. Watching these behemoths squeak through the 56-foot wide draw bridge is great sport attested to by the line up along the rail at the bridge-side St. Maarten Yacht Club.

Richard had discovered a “guy” in Sint Maarten,  David Duong, who had been recommended by our surveyor.  He found us a reasonably priced mooring, visited, charged batteries and generally watched over Jerawyn while we were back in New York.  He was a terrific resource for services of all kinds (from inverters to cleaning) heading us in the right direction through his own local knowledge no matter what we needed.   Vendors and installers had been contracted with in February and a good size shipment of parts, electronics and heads had been delivered from the States through Tropical.com in Miami via their twice-weekly containership to Sint Maarten. A new genoa and a new stack pack arrived right on time from South Africa,  and the new main had been delivered from Tortola to the marina in Oyster Pond.  That it turned out was the easy part.

Of course, everything seemed to slip to the eleventh hour so there were a lot of workers crawling around the boat the week before our arrival. The Raymarine installer requested that we move the boat to a dock to make things easier so we booked a space at the marina behind Island Water World and David arranged to have her moved.  Island Water World is a big, well-supplied chandlery –  one of four in the Caribbean – that offers good discounts (often better than Budget Marine) and good service. They have a dinghy dock and also offer free bikes for touring. As an aside, we bought our 12 ft. dinghy and 15 hp motor from Island Water World in February and that put us in their “deepest discount” category so we were inclined to keep a running tab there with all manner of last-minute purchases from books to sets of snorkel gear to more serious and pricey stuff.  Manager Erwin Rutenberg was helpful as were all the staff throughout – and we stopped at their other branches along the way.

And it wasn’t just boat stuff!  For an early birthday present, I got a coveted pair of Jabsco “quiet flush” electric push-button heads that we shipped from the States and which were impeccably installed by Julian from Custom Fit Marine whom we thoroughly enjoyed meeting and highly recommend. When we arrived, that was the only project completed. The heads are simply terrific – no more pumping blisters. But “Quiet Flush” is  a bit of a misnomer!

Bert Lamerigts at Electec honchoed the installation of the new Xantrex inverter, additional 110 plugs, a 210 AH battery, and the job was ably executed by charming Nico. They, too, could not have been easier or more pleasant to deal with. Even when we ran into problems later in the voyage, one of them was at the other end of the phone, even on Sunday afternoon, solving problems that literally no one else could. That is the kind of follow-up service that is priceless.   Rob from St. Maarten Sails fabricated the new custom cushions with a comfy combination of closed and open cell foam. It was a little eleventh hour and a little pricey but, bottom-line, we love them!!

We returned to St. Maarten in mid-April, as scheduled, about a week before our family was to arrive for our week’s cruise.  Heads were done, electric work was done, but the biggest project – a new Raymarine chartplotter, radar, AIS, wifi hi gain antenna and modem, had not even been started.  Reason? Late arrival of the shipped equipment, conflicts with other projects, other workers on Jerawyn……  In short, we departed St. Maarten the following Saturday with all of the uninstalled equipment stowed under our berth.