Sint Maarten / St Martin is dual owned Dutch and French even though it’s only a tiny island. It’s an absolute boating mecca as the Caribbean’s two biggest chandlery stores are based here so it’s the best place to stock up on any spare parts etc that you may need. Plus, it’s duty free so all the important need to get items are the cheapest you will find them anywhere.


We stopped here for that very reason, tentatively planning a BIG shop. We needed to get our next lot of pilot books for Central America and onwards. Plus we have a lot of ongoing projects and jobs with running repairs to do.


We have also bitten the bullet and decided to get a new wind generator. The original one that came with the boat was fantastic but, at 22 years old, it proved unfixable when its circuit-board packed up. We have sadly listened to strong winds whistling over our heads without being able to harness that power for too long. But, it’s a pricey item so we’ve be umming and aahing about it for the last few months. The truth is that we know we won’t find the same model this cheaply anywhere else and we still have the old one and hope to find a way of using the parts.


So, we drop the hook in Simpson Bay, having gone through the opening bridge, and whom should we bump into but mister Andy Grant again. Turns out that he had been taking part in the island’s Heineken regatta and was now up for doing some running repairs of his own. Nothing like bumping into a good friend to spur on your energy and the three of us happily spent the next week doing jobs on each other’s boats (Andy’s fractured prop shaft boat sinking issue, our windlass gypsy replacement, the broken stanchion from our Antiguan fender bender, James going up Andy’s mast to help fit his new LEDs, the hard-wiring in of our new inverter, etc).


We actually managed to have a very productive time, not to mention the night at the casino, the Chinese and the strip club…