Boat Maintenance | Distant Shores Sailing Newsletters

St Martin/St Maarten

Hi Everyone,

Our Southerly 49, Distant Shores II, is back in the water in St Martin in the Caribbean, after a week of seasonal maintenance on the boat before we continue with a winter season of sailing and filming new episodes for the Distant Shores TV series in the tropics this year. We re-launched the boat on Monday and are now anchored in Simpson Bay Lagoon near Marigot, St Martin (the French side of the island).
Paul and Sheryl at Toronto International Boat Show January 18-20, 2013

We have only been back in St Martin for 10 days since were home in Canada for 3 weeks doing presentations at the Toronto International Boat Show and other events, then flew back from Toronto on Feb 5.
Paul and Sheryl with Toronto sailor, Dave McGuire

Our flight back to St Martin/St Maarten was good on WestJet which has direct non-stop flights from Toronto YYZ to Phillipsburg SXM. There were 5 other Toronto sailors on the plane that we knew, all heading back to their boats after visiting home for the Holidays and Toronto Boat Show, so it was a sociable flight! We all met up again later on the island, at Barnacles, the sailors' bar in St Maarten.
Salt fish cakes or fritters are a traditional snack throughout the Caribbean.

There are lots of great restaurants and varied cuisine on this half-Dutch half-French tropical island. When we were in the boat yard we really enjoyed the Boca Marine restaurant that was on site. The appetizer pictured above is salt-fish cakes (dried salted cod made into fritters) which are a traditional snack found throughout many islands in the Caribbean.

St Maarten Shipyard, where we had hauled out the boat for storage before flying home, is very close to the airport so we just walked to the boat after landing and clearing in!
Sheryl walking from the airport terminal to the boat yard

The yard is right beside the runway so as we worked on the boat all week we had a constant Air Show :-)
View of SXM runway from Distant Shores II in St Maarten Shipyard

There were other sailors working in the yard too and the staff there were all really helpful and nice, so the time in the yard was very pleasant despite working with messy/toxic anti-fouling paint.
See previous newsletter for details and cost of the haul-out.

St Maarten Shipyard has a SeaLift which is like a huge padded forklift that they use instead of a travel lift. The SeaLift could raise us high enough to paint the full height of the keel. It was good to get a close-up look and see that all was well.
We re-launched the boat on Monday February 11 and will spend a few days at anchor in Simpson Bay Lagoon on the French side of St Martin finishing up some projects before sailing on. Mardi Gras celebrations are going strong in Marigot this week with the start of Lent. I've decided to give up "snow" for Lent this year :-)
On the weekend, weather permitting, we'll leave St Martin for the British Virgin Islands where we plan to stay for about 10 days. After that we will work our way slowly south through the island chain filming new episodes for Distant Shores season 9 in Dominica, Martinique, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Grenada.
In May we will probably store the boat in Grenada for the Hurricane Season so will be home in Canada to continue with post-production on the shows in the summer for a change.

Have a really great weekend!

Warm regards,

Paul and Sheryl Shard
Aboard SY Distant Shores II
Marigot, St Martin
West Indies

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Haul-out St Maarten

Lifting out at St Maarten Shipyard on the Dutch side of Saint Martin. We need to do the bottom and a couple of other projects.


Check out the underwater garden!
Did I mention we need to do the bottom?? Corals have grown up quickly since we reached the warm Caribbean waters. Our 8-month old bottom paint was Cruiser Uno and it worked fine in Europe. Not so good for the tropics it seems.

Bottom Corals
We wanted to do the bottom ourselves this time. I always did it myself on our previous boats but had Northshore (builders of Southerly) do it when we went back there to haul out the previous seasons. I wanted to do it at least once to see how hard it was on the new larger boat, and to get a really close look at the bottom.


Working on the Southerly with her keel swung down I am using a scaffold. We are trying out "Seahawk Islands 44 Hard" bottom paint. It was $320/gallon minus a 10% discount at Island Waterworld. It is supposed to cover 400 sq feet/gallon. We bought 3 gallons of it and managed to get 1.8 coats of paint. I think the warm weather meant it went on thicker than normal.

This lift can raise the hull high enough to drop the keel to her full draft so I could paint the whole thing. We draw 10’3 with it all the way down and need a ladder to reach the bottom and finish up the painting. The patch in front of the keel is where we stood on the blocks while hauled. The yard kindly let us sit in the lift overnight so we could paint the last bits of the hull that had been under the stands. Then it could dry properly. St Maarten Shipyard was excellent all round! Highly recommended! Our bill was quite reasonable I think...

Sealift 1

Pressure Wash...............$98
Storage (while home)... $448
Labour (scrape hull)......$105

All very good rates based I think. This is based on our 49 foot boat with 14’ beam. The additional labour was for an extra sanding/scraping of the hull to remove the barnacle bases and make a super-smooth hull.

Sealift 2

The other nice thing about hauling out in St Maarten is the access to the huge chandleries, Island Waterworld, Budget Marine, and other parts/services. These are second to none in the Caribbean.

Sealift 3

Relaunching after a successful haulout... Hank steers the sealift back in with the remote control.
Sealift 41

This device is unique I think. It can lift 90 tons, it can also accommodate quite large catamarans lifting under the wing deck. The boat sits gently on inflated tubes so its also good for wooden hulls.
Sealift 42
Back at anchor...
Sealift 43