Sint Maarten: Seeing Sideways

Our main objective in Sint Maarten (at least until Jazz’s neck got injured) was to get our rigging checked. The rigging shop wasn’t quite ready for us on arrival, and asked us to check into a marina so they could drop by for an inspection. So we made some calls, and found an open slip at Blue Pearl Marina. It was our first time docking stern-to, and they didn’t have any spare ramps, so we ended up using Dinkus as a drawbridge.

We figured we’d take advantage of the shore power to get some projects done while we waited. But first, we had a lot of laundry stored up.

The other fun thing about marina living is the showers. Free water is nice, even if it’s cold – and with Caribbean weather, cold water isn’t even so bad. But look closer, and you can see that the showers came at a heavy price. In blood, you might say.

At least the sunsets were pretty nice. Also, very good access to Budget Marine.

Anyway, we figured we’d get another project going while we waited for the rigging. So we turned to bimini top. We had been meaning to raise the sides pretty much since our first sail. The protection is nice, but from Captain’s chair (he loves that chair), you couldn’t see the horizon line, which makes keeping a good watch somewhat uncomfortable. It’s kind of hard to see the downward curve in the pictures, but this gives an exaggerated idea of how it felt.

We’d been discussing how best to cut it, given that whatever we did would require updating the enclosure. We’d talked about doing something that would let us keep the old side panels, but ultimately, we decided that visibility was the most important thing, and that we were willing to make all new side panels to have maximum visibility. That sorted, we made some measurements and got to cutting.

Having cut away some fiberglass, we also had to reinforce the new edge. Because of the curve to the front and back supports, we needed longer tubes on the sides. And since we’ve made the mistake of cutting metal on the boat once and only once…

We found a metal shop to make a couple of parts, and with some sewing, drilling, and bolting, we had a stable roof again. This is about where we took a break to get re-rigged, which is a separate story, and then we sat down to do some sewing. Of course, this is also when Jazz’s neck decided to wage a mini-rebellion. So despite her superior sewing skills, Captain had to do a lot of the legwork.

We may have been a little slower than usual, but we got through it all. After the first test, we decided that a couple of holes needed just a little more coverage, so I set to work sewing on Russian earflaps, and Jazz built a strip to fill the hole between the front panels.

Here’s a quick video of the whole thing put together.

With everything finished, the view out the new glass is a major improvement.