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In February we travelled to Chaguaramas to make the boat shipshape and go sailing, but unfortunately after one week we had to leave head over heels for Holland because of JW's father. So we returned to Trinidad by the end of April. There were still some jobs to be done (by other people) and Queen's Day-Coronation Day was for us Royal Splash Day!

Escorted by a dozen dolphins (for good luck, we always think) the first hours were sporty sailing with main sheet and traveler in the hand. With two slab reefs in the mainsail and the genua furled in considerably, we sped with the help of katabatic winds (speed 30 to 40 kts) in the direction of Tobago. Influence of the infamous counter current was almost totally negligible! After only 10 hours of sailing we anchored in Store Bay, Tobago, having averaged a speed over ground of over 6 knots; extremely comfortable as this stretch could just as easily have taken 20 hours.

The ice cubes had not yet melted (we buy a large bag every other day) so we had our sundowners in front of the entrancing Coco Reef Resort, after having showered as we were resembled a pair of salt herrings.

Tobago is an ideal base to start from when sailing to Suriname when the wind comes from the right direction, i.e. E-NE. We wanted to wait for that and in the meantime visit some picturesque bays on the leeward side of the island. Local colour in Charlotteville in , and .
Castara Bay is also a lovely spot and we were anchored close to paradise beach right next to a coral reef where we did a lot of snorkeling. But the romance was disturbed abruptly: tick - tick tick - tick. The rudder. The problem was immediately clear: the fingers. They had been broken before and were renewed and re-welded in Suriname a couple of years ago.

Without those fingers the rudder shaft has no connection with the rudder itself and if some play develops, the boat can become steerless anytime.
To cut a long story short: by taxi to the Coastguard in Scarborough and talked to four officials, who promised to be standby. The same afternoon we sailed back to Store Bay, under engine to minimize pressure on the rudder (the more pressure, the more risk of play) and the following day back to Trinidad, where we arrived safely after a dull and unnerving trip - although of course we were nervous as hell and had two grabbags at the ready.

So we're back to START. The boat hauled out, the rudder repaired and by plane back to Suriname, as the wind is now veering to the southeast and that is exactly where we want to go. To be continued in November, when the wind will hopefully return to the northeast...


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