Boat Work in Martinique

The island of Martinique looked different from the islands we visited before. Its less mountainous and steep and has more open green field on it. It reminded me a little bit of Switzerland (although Swiss people would probably disagree with me). People drive around in big private cars, there is Carrefour and Decathlon and we even saw a couple of fat cows!

Marin in the south of Martinique is a big bay with several branches where locals tie up their boats in the mangroves. Many boats are half-sunken or falling apart slowly in the salt water and sun. We anchored quite far into the bay to be close to the marine stores. We were here to do some boat work, after all! We were definitely in a branch of the bay where boats are just left to ‘die’, a sad sight. A very cool eighties Dufour 4800 sank the week we were there. It was so hard to watch this beautiful boat full of potential just sink a bit deeper every day..


After a last day on board we had to say goodbye to Basti and Caro, who had been with us a month already! Time definitely flies. It was great to share the ups and downs of an ocean crossing with these guys! We miss the extra pair of hands on deck, being woken up by the smell of fresh coffee and Caro’s famous cooking 🙂

With that, it was just the two of us again! We didn’t waste any time and got started on our big job list. As I might have mentioned already, things break all the time. As a rule of thumb its one breakage a day. Some days its something small, like a hook coming off the wall or a lost pair of scissors. Some days, its something bigger like a ripped sail or broken gas valve. To stay on top of it, you have to repair also at least one thing a day. If you don’t, well, the list adds up.

  • Have a stainless steel backing plate for the autopilot made
  • Re-center the mast
  • Re-tension the rigging
  • Repair some holes in the dinghy
  • Buy a stainless steel chain to lock the dinghy and outboard
  • Clean sikaflex off the decks
  • Fix the hydrovane mounting
  • Check and refill the batteries with demineralised water
  • Get the ripped genoa to a sailmaker
  • Have the outboard serviced
  • Service the inboard (new filters)
  • Fix our gas pilot shutoff valve (order a new one?)
  • Clean the hull underneath and above the waterline
  • Re-organise provisions
  • Have canvas covers made for the dinghy and mast-boot seal
  • ….

In one week, we made it halfway through the list above and felt pretty proud of ourselves. It always takes a lot longer to get ‘easy’ things done because we have to ride the dinghy to land, lock everything properly and then walk around to find the places to get things done. You can’t just call someone or google stuff*. For example to get a stainless steel backing plate made, which is only about 20 x 20 cm with four holes in it, we had to ask around for a workshop and had to walk all morning until we found someone. We got lucky: he had time and it was affordable. You can imagine it takes a long time to get several quotes around here..

We got a quote to get the mast and rigging done, which would have cost us about 800 euros. Quite expensive, taken into account that we also had this done on the Canary Islands. We expected it to hold for a bit longer than a month.. We waited for hours and hours at the rigging workshop to get quotes and an appointment. In the end they were so busy and not interested in such a ‘small’ job that we decided to do it ourselves. It was actually doable (yay for youtube!) and even fun.


*After we had already been in Martinique for almost a week and gotten the majority of the jobs done, we found out that we could use our phones here as it is EU. We had heard about it from someone a while ago but didn’t believe it as it is just.. too far away. Can you believe I can just use my 5 GB EU internet Martinique and Guadeloupe? And call and text for free?! That’s just so weird.

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