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Kite Surfing, Spam and mechanics! – Liz Wardley

Liz Wardley is currently in Antigua with Maiden, whilst the rest of the crew have some time off. All photos included below are ©Liz Wardley.

Whilst the crew have taken a well deserved few weeks of holiday, it was only fair that Maiden got a bit of loving as well in view of a bit of Caribbean racing coming up and then a trip up the East coast of USA. So, I relinquished my skippering duties to Betty and Barney for a few weeks and put on my Boat Captain hat, grabbed the tool bag and got to work on ‘the job list’.

It will be no surprise to anyone who has ever been on a boat that working your way down a job list clearly doesn’t work and the list never gets shorter, sometimes you even end up with multiple lists! This has been the case over the last week Maiden was plagued with a few mechanical issues, which are all now mostly resolved – but it took a fair bit of perseverance to get there.

At one stage I threw in the towel and asked a local mechanic to come and take a look,  we were out on the furthest swing mooring to the dock possible with a small rowboat, so I borrowed a power-driven vessel for the trip to pick him up. Halfway out the outboard sputtered and died, and I had to start paddling with my one oar to avoid a superyacht who had just put there anchor out and were trying to berth.  They must have thought we were a little close as they kept putting their stern thruster on to push me away – not helping! We then accepted a tow from the harbour master and he took us to the boat and left us there – the mechanic took it all quite well but was well aware that he was now abandoned on Maiden with me, so he laughed and asked me which engine he should start with!

We settled on sorting out the original issue, and I told him that I would like him to make me feel stupid as I had been through the whole motor multiple times and was sure I hadn’t missed anything – sadly he didn’t achieve this and we got towed back to the dock. We did, however, figure it out a few days later and we were both pretty dumbfounded. The story of the outboard engine is a whole other blog.

Not every day is as exciting as that one! Generally, my day starts with a gentle paddle or tender ride into the dock in the dark and watching the sun come up out the window of the gym which has pretty shabby views. That turns into a quick stop at the yacht club on the way to the boat to pretend I’m doing something important and really just use their wifi for any admin that needs doing. After that its back to the boat, either add or delete things to my job list (generally both but always hoping to cross stuff off) in an attempt to have Maiden going fast for the racing to come!

A nicely prepared meal at lunchtime by Moi! I dabble at a little bit of variety in my noodles sometimes and have been reliving my childhood and have rediscovered Spam. I wish I had found the freeze-dried food stash earlier. Then I start looking at the weather for a 15h knock off, as start early, finish early right? If it’s windy, its kite surfing fever! No wind generally means more work, sadly this week has been very still so productivity is high!

And then generally another pretty shabby sunset as I get back out to the boat to try out another of my culinary delights before getting rocked to sleep.