More on Georgetown

What a place.  We arrived on February 19th.  We were planning to stay about  4-5 days.  Over a month later we getting ready to depart.

What kept us here?  Well there were boat repairs, a visit from Amy’s parents and sister, the cruiser’s regatta, lots of kids, and weather.

Georgetown’s Elizabeth Harbour is a large well protected harbor.  The city of Georgetown is located on the west side of the island.  We stayed in Georgetown at Exuma Yacht Club during the times we were working on the boat.   Most of the time we anchored on the eastern side of the harbour in the lee of Stocking Island.  Stocking island has miles of beaches, great hiking, and great places to just hang out.

Headquarters for the Georgetown Cruisers Regatta is a restaurant on Stocking Island called the Chat and Chill.  Chat and Chill’s beach is also known as Volleyball Beach.  It has picnic tables, volleyball courts, swings and treehouse for the kids, and benches for “Beach Church” on Sunday.  Chat and Chill completes the scene with BBQ, hamburgers, a Sunday pig roast, and lots of refreshing beverages.

Chat and Chill Headquarters for the Georgetown Cruisers' Regatta

The Georgetown Cruiser’s Regatta is a really a series of fun events which includes some sailing races.  Events included the hilarious coconut challenge, Texas hold’em, volleyball, homebuilt model boat races, and the in harbor and around Stocking Island races.  It’s a fun family friendly event with Dances on the opening and closing nights.

Coconut Challenge on the water portion


Coconut challenge on land portion-toss to your teammates

Dinghy race in the improvised sailing dinghy category

Mostly, Georgetown is an almost ideal setting for a cruiser’s paradise, which is why you will find more than 250+ cruising boats here during the season.  The Bahamians here are very cruiser friendly.  The Exuma Market is a grocery store with its own protected dinghy dock, free water, and free wifi.  The water taxi offers services like special events trips as well as shuttling people to and from the Chat and Chill.

I have already talked about how helpful the cruising community is in my previous post.  The community is also friendly, experienced, organized, and interesting.  Some of the cruisers have been cruising for more than thirty years.  People have amazing stories.  If you have a question, you call it out on the radio net in the morning and somebody will respond.

George Town, Exuma, Bahamas

We have been in Georgetown for about a month and have really enjoyed ourselves. Graham has found many friends here several of whom use the Calvert Homeschool program too. He gets his work done early in the day so he can be off to the beach to swim and play volleyball and jump and dive and they all come home at sunset when they are hoarse from all the laughter. It is wonderful for him to be around kids his own age again and especially ones who are cruisers too. Most of the ones he has met have been cruising for 5 years. Matt has found another project — it is amazing to me how he can diagnose and fix these proble s on the boat. I too have found many things for me in George Town. I love the library here. I love the vegetable lady here. I love my walks with my music. There is not much opportunity for wifi which is good and bad. My parents and sister came to visit last week for 3 days and that was fabulous. They brought 150 lbs. of luggage for us — not kidding.

Graham and Mal at the Chat and Chill

Cruising is….

Cruising is working on your boat in exotic places.  I had heard that phrase many times before.  Now it has really started to sink in.

I will summarize some of the work we have done so far.  If you are interested in the details, I will be  including them on The Boat page of the blog.   We were offshore on our way into the Bahamas when our chainplate broke.  Chainplates are thick stainless steel straps that are the attachment point for the sidestays that hold up the mast.  When one of them breaks, it is a big problem.  Lucky for us it was the attachment point for a lower sidestay and there was sufficient support for the rest of the mast.  We have been motoring not sailing while the chainplates were being worked on.

When we got in to Green Turtle Cay we found that there were really not any riggers or repair facilities on the island.  We went ahead and took a little R&R in GTC and then motored to Marsh Harbour, where we were told CJ’s Welding could fabricate chainplates.  I took the broken chainplate in to CJ’s so they could use it as a template.

The other thing about chainplates is that if one breaks, you need to pull all of the others to make sure that the others are not about to break too.  So I pulled some of the other chainplates.  The not so good news is that the other chainplates showed similar corrosion.

In the first photo you can see the top portion of the broken chainplate.  As you can see, the top of the chainplate and the portion below deck is in pretty good shape.  The corrosion occurs where it goes through the deck.  They survey missed this completely, although to be fair, a standard survey doesn’t usually include pulling a chainplate to check for corrosion.  The close-up of the break looks even nastier in real life.

Broken Chainplate

Close up it really looks nasty

Ultimately, the decision to replace all of the chainplates was validated when I pulled the port upper (the support for the top of the mast) and found that it was nearly ready to fail too.  As you can see in the photo, almost 75% of the chainplate was gone.

Port upper almost 75% gone. We were lucky this one didn't break.

We finished repairing the chainplates around the beginning of February and we continued cruising south into the Exumas.

Our other major repair is in progress.  While we were coming into Big Majors Spot near Staniel Cay.  We were having problems with the engine overheating.  As it turns out, we had a hole in our mixing elbow about the size of a dime.  The mixing elbow is part of the engine exhaust system, where water and exhaust gases are mixed together and then forced out through the exhaust.  In order to get us to Georgetown, I improvised a patch over the mixing elbow.  I made patches from cut up spare engine hose and then used hose clamps to hold them in place.  This repair held up for 8 hours of motoring or motorsailing for our trip from Staniel to Georgetown.  Here is a picture of the improvised patch.

Improvised patch for the mixing elbow.

When we got to Georgetown, I located a welder willing to try to weld the hole.  However, when he looked at the elbow he said it couldn’t be welded.  He then drove me around Georgetown to the hardware store and a marine store while we gathered the parts to fabricate a replacement.  In the photos below you can see the old and new side by side.

Noke welding a fabricated mixing elbow

Old and new mixing elbows side by side

In the meantime, we found out that my in-laws would be visiting us in Georgetown.  I arranged to have new parts sent to them so that they could bring them down with them.  This will make the 4th time I have had to remove the exhaust system between the engine and the muffler.  Hopefully it will be the last for a good long time.

The good news here is that the cruising community is helpful, knowledgeable, and expert at improvising solutions.  A call out to the cruiser’s net here in Georgetown resulted in six responses including one with a spare mixing elbow that might fit.  It is a great community of boaters.