Our 2002 Hylas 46

Monday, May 21, 2018

Another great season winds down

After the excitement and thrills of watching Antigua Sailing Week races, our attention turned to the tasks of getting Ambition prepared for summer storage. Storing a boat in the south versus preparing a boat for winter storage is a whole different  activity. Besides the obvious of protecting the boat from freezing weather in Canada, prepping the boat for the heat and humidity of the Caribbean summer is very different. 

This whole prep process is about 8 or 9 days of work for Maryse and I to complete, while we are tied to the dock in Jolly Harbour Marina. This year everything got off to a great start when on day one I slipped going from the dock onto the boat and REALLY sprained my ankle! 

Fat foot!! 

After a few phone calls to our daughter in law Mireille, a talented physiotherapist and Daniel an orthotherapist it was off to the store for bags of ice and elastic bandages.  As you might imagine, I am quite useless at prepping the boat with my butt parked on the seat and my leg either in ice or elevated in the air! A quick review if the to do list and I rescheduled some items to the fall and other reassigned to Maryse. She is now trained in changing the engine oil and filters in the main diesel engine and the generator – I coached as I moved around the boat on my knees!  Now another talent Maryse has added to her resume! She is great!

Our biggest worry is the arrival of hurricane season in June and it continues through October. We do everything possible to minimize wind damage to Ambition. This involves removing the dinghy and sending it off to storage in a building and the outboard gets stored in a shipping container. All the sails are removed and sent to the sail makers who wash them after a salty winter, do any required restitching and then put them away in storage. This saves us a lot of room down below to store all the other odds and ends.  The canvas is washed and dried and stored below. 

The wind generator is removed completely and the solar panels are locked in a horizontal position – they remain on to trickle charge the batteries. 

I remove the 1000’ of lines on the deck to save them from both the wear and tear in the wind but also from the sunlight all summer.  I replace them with thinner messenger lines to reinstall all the lines back through the mast and boom in the fall. 

 The second major worry is mold and bugs. Maryse has her special concoction to ensure that the boat will not suffer from mold in the summer heat by washing the interior with vinegar and water EVERYWHERE she can reach, inside cupboards, storage lockers, ceiling panels and under the floor boards. Her final special treatment is a light spray of clove oil diluted in water. 
All our stuff that gets left on board ends up in Ziploc bags … tons of Ziploc’s in all sizes!  Last task is to leave a collection of little pots of bug killer to make sure that we have no tenants move in and take up residence while we are away.  

Contracts for repair work for the summer have now been given to the talented folks in Jolly Harbour and everything else will be watched carefully by our boat manager Jesse, who checks up on Ambition every few weeks to make sure the batteries are charged, the bilge is dry and that she is doing well while we are away. 

After Ambition is on the hard, we move into a little villa for 4 days while we knock off the last tasks and pack up our stuff for a summer in Montreal. 

The last item on our to do list is always the same – Ambition gets a pat on the stern and a wish that her summer is uneventful. 

All ready for the summer

The boatyard will come by in June and weld all the jack stands together with steel bars so they do not move and then they will tie her down to underground anchors with large straps. 

Maryse and I hope that you have enjoyed following along with us via our blog, as we travel around the Caribbean islands feeling ever so fortunate to be able to enjoy this lifestyle. 

Have a great summer everyone from the crew of Ambition!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Antigua Race Week

 Our time in Falmouth Harbour started off with a great Sunday night BBQ up on Shirley Heights, overlooking the harbour – this is a “must do” for any boaters visiting Antigua.. 

Falmouth Harbour in the background -English Harbour foreground

Anchorage in English Harbour

Awesome Steel Band at Shirley Heights

Walking the docks before the boats head out to the race courses.. a lot of very busy crew members. 

Flurry of activity pre-race
When you go big ... this is how you attach the main halyard raise the sail! 

Warrior cockpit ... a machine

One of the big boys - repacking the spinnaker on the dock

We had the fortune to be able to watch a number of the starts and finishes of the races this week in Antigua. Each day we hiked up the hills overlooking the start lines as part of our early morning exercise routine … ugh … but well worth it! 

Here are a number of pictures that we took… Enjoy…

Note the shredded genoa sail - not supposed to happen - racing over for them

A little crowded at the start line

Esprit du Corps from Quebec

Even the goats wanted to get a better view of the races!

The pink spi is one of the few Canadian boats entered

Just flyin'

Close battles
Just about to run over the spi - not good!! Scooping for fish!

Opps - this is not supposed to happen either

The big boys rounding the mark
The on water photographers

A Farr 155' - Sojerne - spi up and pulling! 

Warrior - the first place boat

Between races we fired off a few other pictures ...

This is Eric Clapton's home in Antigua - not a bad holiday spot!

A cold beer and chill

between races - a little chill on the beach

Next stop is back to Jolly Harbour to start to prep Ambition for her summer storage.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Les Saints to Antigua - Classic Regatta

We so enjoy Les Saintes – there is always something going on in this beautiful spot. While messing about on the boat this afternoon, we had a rather unusual visit! 

Please excuse the quality of the video - I haven't learned to edit yet! 

They arrived with an invitation to take in their show tonight in the town square. This group of folks on three sailboats from Bretagne, France are a travelling sea circus called … Seacus

Well it is not the Cirque de Soleil by any means, but they did entertain us with magic shows, music and a number of video presentation. Turned out to be a fun evening! 

I had learned from another Hylas owner who has a similar vintage boat to Ambition, that he had experienced failure in one of his deck cleats due to crevice corrosion. This occurs when salt water is allowed to remain in contact with stainless steel for extended amounts of time without oxygen. All the deck fittings on our boats are attached using a caulking compound. As the caulking ages, it looses it adherence to the stainless steel letting salt water creep in under the fitting. Since the gap is so slight, air has no chance to get in the crack as well. End result corrosion of the stainless.  

I decided that I would start pulling off the deck cleats to check for crevice corrosion. I started with the first two that were the easiest to access in the anchor locker. They are through bolted so getting to the underside was a piece of cake.  Using a pry bar, pulled the cleats up and out. Used a Dremel to clean all the bits up and then reinstalled them. On one of the cleats while tightening the first turn using a socket, I snapped off one of the two threaded studs!!! This falls into the "NOT GOOD" category!

completely corroded 

It is amazing how “brand new” the stud looks and yet it failed with so little effort! Ok now I have a new project, pull out ALL the remaining cleats to see if more will fail. 

Broken stud

Glad to report that after removing all 10 cleats, no others failed during reinstallation and I really put as much torque on the studs as I could. This is reassuring! Just one cleat to order from Taiwan. 

Cleat with studs

Reinstallation almost complete

We have made our way from les Saintes to Deshaies and then on to Jolly Harbour, Antigua where we cleared in and hung out for a few days before moving Ambition to Falmouth in advance of the start of Antigua Classic Regatta. 

There were far fewer classic yachts in the harbour for this years racing compared to last year, but they are still so very spectacular.  The boats are covered with folks sanding, varnishing and getting the yachts all buffed and ready .

The 4 race days provided a lot of excitement as the winds were strong and the seas were 8 to 10 feet. We took Ambition out to the race course and got more than a few pictures of the action. I also include some pictures taken by the pros who were MUCH closer to the action than I dared get! 

J Class Yacht - they did not race however

Chillin' between races....

Same yacht out on the course with her sistership - 157 feet long 

Ashanti  V
Rhea and Chronos


This boat was being towed back into harbour after running into one of the 157 foot yachts ???? The mast in more than 2 pieces, hanging off the stern.

How can this happen???



Doesn't this just look like the best job on board??? 

After Classic Regatta wound down, there are a few days before the Antigua Race Week starts – this is the exact opposite of Classic Regatta. The classics are all older (pre world war 2 designs) and the Race week is all about the very latest in designs and materials. We are looking forward to seeing the action. 

In the meantime here is a picture out our front door – we are anchored in Green Island behind a reef that protects us from the ocean swells and waves -  nothing but sea in front! 

We will return in a day or two to Falmouth for Race Week then we will be on the final stretch of our winter. Then back to Jolly Harbour to prepare Ambition for her summer out of the water.