The leg from Kurou in French Guiana to Trinidad was about 650 nautical miles and we enjoyed every mile of it. Conditions were perfect, we flew the parasailor night and day. We had 2 knots of current in our favor, and that’s why this route is called “the magic carpet”. What a wonderful sail!
Philippe has been the perfect crew for this passage. So perfect that Yuka and I asked him if he would like to join us for the crossing to the Med next spring!
We were very worried by the fact that we had to sail along the Venezuelan coast, because there were many reports of piracy. Luckily we were sailing together with Plan B: we thought this would be a deterrent for pirates.
Initially we were thinking on turning the AIS to silent mode and communicate only via satellite phone instead of VHF. But after carrying out a research on Noonsite we discovered that we could file a float plan with Trinidad Coast Guard and North Post Radio, and we were advised to leave on the AIS to be visible to the Coast Guard.
We had a tense moment a during the third night night when Yuka spotted something on the Radar moving fast in our direction, but in the end it turned out to be just a squall…
Once we passed Galera Point in Trinidad and we started sailing along the north coast of the island during a moonless night, something unique happened: I heard a sudden big splash on the starboard side that freaked me out. Then another one, and another one. I went below, took my torch light and started scanning the black sea around: It was a pond of dolphins! They were jumping high out of the water and landing flat on the water causing the big noise! The show went on for quite a while, and Yuka and I started to enjoy it so much! What a peculiar behavior! First time in our lives that we saw dolphins at night! And doing this kind of things.
Chaguaramas is paradise for all boat works. After 7 month spent in Brazil where there is no yachting infrastructure and in 2,000 nm of coast we couldn’t find any boatyard with a lift for hauling out a small catamaran, in Chaguaramas Bay you have 3 boatyards side by side and dozen of companies for carrying out virtually any work. After visiting all of them, we opted to haul out for a bottom paint job at Power Boats. The management was very friendly and competent, and the list of contractors and suppliers was very good. We also found a Ullman Sails shop nearby that took care of our sails.
Here’s a video of our hauling out. Instead of a lift, they used an awesome custom made trailer. I was a bit nervous at the beginning, but everything went well.
As antifouling, we decided to use International Interspeed 6400NA, a TBT free, controlled depletion polymer (CDP), self polishing antifouling paint. More friendly to the environment than what is unfortunately broadly used in the Caribbean (Islander 44, totally illegal in the US, nasty stuff).
I also had the opportunity to change the sail drive oil by draining it from the bottom of the sail drive. Unfortunately the Japanese engineers who designed the SD25 sail drive were not applied mechanics and didn’t provide a way to suck the whole 2 liters of oil from the engine room. If you stick a thin oil pump hose into the dipstick channel, you can only suck about 900 ml out of the 2 liters. So my work around was to suck 900 ml, put new oil, run the engine to mix it with the old one, repeat three times. You will use 3 liters instead of 2, but hauling out for an oil change on top of being un-economical sometimes it’s just impossible.
Splashing Oroboro was a piece of cake:
We are now free to begin our season in the Caribbean!!!
⛵️ Sailing around the world on S/V Oroboro
1 ocean crossed 🌍 7 countries visited: 🇿🇦 🇳🇦 🇦🇮 🇧🇷 🇫🇷 🇹🇹 🇬🇩 and counting...