Vol. 6 No.2 Jan 28th 2006
Ok, Ok we’re still in Chaguaramas.
We’re now on one of YSATT’s mooring buoys in the bay as we overstayed our booking in
Crew’s Inn Marina and were asked to leave. The marina is now full as yachties have been
waiting for a weather window to sail away. The window has just opened as the giant seas are
calming and the rain appears to have abated. It nearly feels like sailing, bobbing around here.
There are certain disadvantages as we can’t make water here due to the unpredictable oil content
of the bay. Mind you, I collected 6 gallons in the last shower on my aft deck sun awning with
tube. And I dammed the port hand side deck to direct the stream straight into the port tank which
collected another quarter tank. Thanks Nosille for the tip!
Although we haven’t the advantage of the pool surrounded with palms and the bar, the buoy
costs under £3 a day whereas Crew’s Inn charges £18 on B dock.
Pan Pan- Yacht Quadrille!
‘No it’s not an emergency – I’ve bought a Pan!’
‘What do you mean- a new frying pan?’
‘No a real Trini Pan- a musical Pan- a gleaming, chrome, tenor Pan’
‘Where are we going to put that!’
There are quite a few yachties who own Pans and practise regularly. Ami on ‘Caravana’ has been
playing with the award winning ‘Silver Stars’ band for several years, George and Ruth on
‘Makaru’ have 4 Pans and are practising morning noon and night with the ‘Merrytones’ hoping
to get into Panarama for Carnival. Marsha and Bruce quietly practise on board ‘Imajica’ on a
highly prized ‘Guppy’ pan and now have purchased an ‘Egar’ so they can play together.
I casually mentioned to George one evening that I would really love a Pan and hey presto- the
next day one arrived from ‘Boogla’ the wheeler dealer of the ‘Merrytones’. A low Tenor made
by ‘Egar’ aka Laurence Mayers. They’re not small, not even the tenors. Mine has a diameter of
22.5 ins. with height 7ins. The note arrangement is fascinating and very clever. The outer 12
notes have all the chromatic notes of the 12 semitone scale but ordered in ascending 5ths. That’s
C,G,D,A,E,B,F#,C#,G#,D#,A#,F and back to C. This pattern is repeated an octave higher in the
inner ring. The 5 notes in the centre section, another octave up, are C,D,E,C#,D#. Playing a
chromatic scale on the piano is a piece of cake compared with the technique the Pan players have
Bruce drove Marsha, George and me to pick up ‘Boogla’ at ‘Merrytones’ yard somewhere in
Diego Martin. Boogla is a big man of large girth and has a constant banter with George. His
wicked sense of humour included a reference to his cleaning and sanding a rusty pan as ‘ethnic
cleansing’! ‘Boogla’ took us to the Pan ‘factory’. Not exactly a factory as we know it but a yard
where the purpose made drums are beaten with heavy lead hammers to make the notes, then fired
and tuned. There ‘Egar’ waited with a gleaming brand new ‘Pan’ for Marsha. She was enthralled
and head down, enraptured, played her favourite tune ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’ and she
certainly was! Then somehow ‘Boogla’ slipped into the front seat with the new ‘Pan’ on his
ample belly! I’m surprised that Marsha didn’t insist on a seat belt around it- the pan not
We then drove into the hills to a house where cases and sticks are made. Amazingly the black
cases seem to be most popular. A bank of sticks was suspended dripping their newly acquired
paint onto a covering which could have been sold as an interesting modern art work. Purchases
completed, we admired the view (stunning workplace) and drove back to ‘Merrytones’ where
‘Boogla’ showed his prowess at playing all the instruments in the band including the cow bell.
Brake drum, double tenors and quads.
Well, I’m practising hard now but due to the size of our yacht, I’m obliged to play it, in its case,
on my bed- not ideal. After Carnival is over I’m hoping I’ll find someone prepared to teach an
aspiring ‘Pan’ player, the basics.
‘The Red Snappers’ snap ‘The Barbed Wire Boob‘! By Christine
Webster Sailing Yacht Quadrille II
It’s Thursday 12th Jan. and the first outing of 2006 for the ‘Red Snappers of Trinidad and
Tobago‘. This is a branch of the world- wide Red Hat Society, a women’s organization
whose aim, as the members approach middle age, is to have fun. The movement adopted a
delightful English poem by Jennifer Joseph, which begins: ‘When I am an old woman I
shall wear purple with a red hat ….’ The sentiment being, that as we age we will learn to
behave as we wish (within limits!) rather than as expected.
Well, the reasons for our outings are easy to understand; we wish to get off the boat, see
something interesting, shop till we drop, have lunch and discuss issues of a cultural,
intellectual and interesting nature.
Today we did just that. Ronald, one of Jesse’s maxi taxi drivers, took us to the CLICO
gallery to see an exhibition of Caribbean women’s art. Unfortunately it had just been
replaced with ’The History of Calypso’ - a little disappointing but the Calypso exhibition
gave us an interesting insight into the reception of Calypso around the world, particularly in
America where it was regarded as pure entertainment rather than a vehicle for social
comment and serious political rhetoric.
But then, at the end of the display we came across one remaining woman’s exhibit: two
hinged wood cut-outs of a female form, sandwiching a large, protruding, barbed wire boob
with central light! How exciting! What could it mean? Could it be -‘Danger-don’t touch’ or
’We are imprisoned by our sexuality’? We dutifully posed for several photos beneath this
puzzling objet d'art then proceeded to the reception desk with our questions. Here we were
given a display of the women’s art, page- by- page from a large calendar. We discovered
that ‘Barbed Wire Boob’ was created by Belkis Ramirez of the Dominican Republic. It was
entitled ‘Entetejidas’ which means interwoven and represents the aspirational conflicts of
women, with the idea of breast, womb and cage interwoven.
It was then we were approached by a tall, smartly dressed man who engaged us in general
conversation before declaring that he could get us 7% on a dollar deposit at the bank,
subject to a few conditions. He also expressed an interest in horse racing, but I believe
there was no connection!
The next stage of the outing was a shopping trip to the ‘Ellerslie Plaza’ at Maraval. Here
we were in our element drifting slowly from souvenir shop to dress shop and commenting
that due to the persistent driving rain our men would be getting frustrated being unable to
do those little welding and sealant jobs on deck. Several of our members purchased bright
red Trini ’We going to Germany’ Soccer ’T’ shirts for our men -to show that we care, and
one member actually searched out and purchased a bucket for the boat.
Next, for the highlight of the day- we were whisked off to the pleasantly cool Verandah
restaurant in Rust Street St. Clair. Here we indulged in delicious Mahi-Mahi and buttered
garlic prawns followed by homemade coconut ice cream. One of our members, who shall
be nameless, realizing the chocolate gateau was in short supply, ordered hers immediately
upon arrival and guarded it throughout her main course of salad. Our leader and organizer,
‘Queen Snapper Sue’ from Stardust, gave us a delightful rendition of the Jennifer Joseph
poem: also appreciated by fellow diners!
We took the opportunity over luncheon to discuss world affairs and other topics of a more
personal nature. We discussed and deplored body piercing, which seems to be prevalent
amongst our younger relatives. We learned that one in our midst has an unusual name that
means Banana in Hindi. So I suppose that ‘Kismet’ must be a banana boat! Another
amongst us relayed an interesting story of ‘how to get your man on a ski slope’. Having
pretended to be a competent ski-er she had to quickly book lessons to enable her to stand
upright when the offer of a trip was accepted. I suppose lying flat on ones back would have
sufficed! One amongst us- my lips are sealed- admitted that she was accused by her
daughter of being ’anal’ i.e. that she was exceptionally tidy. But the wonderful thing is- so
is her husband…dream on girls!
We all agreed that although we love our men, the most annoying thing about most of them
is that they can never, ever replace a tool in its rightful place but leave them littered about
the yacht! Not necessary boys! Put them where they belong and keep the main saloon table
It was an interesting enjoyable day and we would like to say thank you to ’Queen Snapper
Sue’. The prize for the most innovative red hat goes to Suzanne on ’Cashitin’ whose
delightful creation of striking red horns with floating red netting drew gasps of admiration
from the passing population of Port of Spain.
We’re still here because we’re waiting for the generator to be fixed. Dockyard Electrics have
sent away the injector and we expect it back any day. They are also examining our Airmarine X
wind generator which has failed after only ONE season’s use.
The self tailing winch is on the main mast at last…how many years has that taken!
Upper guard wires have been replaced with a minor glitch that they wouldn’t go through the
stanchion tops without modification to the ends.
Main winches in cockpit have been stripped and greased by the Admiral.
Adrian has installed new instrument panel, new Raymarine chart plotter and new Furono GPS.
Adrian wants new Radar equipment and is threatening to have the mizzen mast taken down!!
New fore hatch and aft hatch has been fitted and sealed…
This is never ending.
‘Ian Taxi’ usually collects Propane bottles Tuesday morning and now takes Butane bottles for
refill to San Fernando on Saturdays. We dutifully left ours out at the appropriate time to find that
Ian had rejected them for being too rusty. Not easy to find replacements here so I had to set about
cleaning the nasty things. I managed to persuade Triple Weld’s workers to attack two empty
bottles with sanding discs but while the sparks were flying I got a bit worried. I had to finish
them with phosphoric acid wash and dry them then find a quiet grassy spot in the heat of the
midday sun to spray paint them. Ian thought they were new and happily took them off and
refilled them. It’s about time we’re allowed to buy butane in aluminium bottles.
The Admiral interviews Leven Brown for channel 6! ( and the Boca)
I met single-handed Atlantic rower Leven Brown at Tropical Marine as Ch 6’s TV camera
recorded his reception. No one seemed to be asking questions for the TV channel so I happily
carried on recording with my Sony videocam asking the most obvious yachtie questions. Later
Jack from ‘the Boca’ (the Trinidad yachting publication) asked if I would write him a piece
about Levin which I did easily by transcribing his answers on my video.
Rowing toTrini. By Christine Webster S/V Quadrille II
Tropical Marine was buzzing with excitement, to the accompaniment of Scottish music
from the bar and shots of Ardbeg smooth scotch malt whisky.
We don’t usually start drinking at 11 am but this event was something to celebrate:
Scots rower, Levin Sinclair Brown, had just rowed the Atlantic single handed in 123 days,
seven hours and 1 minute! Can you imagine it, sitting just one foot off the water in huge
waves, alone, for that length of time?
Levin’s mum & dad were busily unpacking the sponsor’s polo shirts, whilst one of the
team handed round more of that oh- so- smooth malt.
32 year old Leven, who is a distant descendant of Columbus, gave up everything he owned
to follow the route Columbus took when he discovered Trinidad in 1498. And he’s made it!
He grinned at the press and TV camera and declared how glad he was to be here. The
yachties bombarded him with questions.
What were the worst moments? During the voyage he experienced three tropical storms, he
was rammed by a fishing boat in Spanish waters and he was hit by a freak wave. The wave
crashed over his head and damaged the bow but amazingly his boat stayed upright. It’s
designed to be self righting in the event of capsize but fortunately he never had to test it
out. He said that was a ‘scary moment’ but declared the lightening storms the most
Did he get depressed being on his own for so long? He said it was particularly tough during
the first month when wind and tide were against him and he would row for perhaps 10 or
20 hours and only make 3 miles! There was compensation in the final month with wind and
tide helping him to ‘a tremendous pace’. Although at the end he got swept north to Tobago.
There were a mass of barnacles hanging from his boat and I wondered if he regularly
scraped them off. Well, he did for the first two months but then he was followed by a blue
shark for about a week and he decided to stay on board after that!
How about sleep, did he have a regular sleep pattern? He tried to keep sleep to less than 20
minutes at any time, but he did sleep in occasionally. He said that when you see a large
hand coming out of the sea and a long piece of bamboo flying by with 6 wings- you know
you’ve overdone it!! He was off to spend the night in a real stationary bed in coral Cove
Now on Terra Firma, Leven has decided to try and put back some of the 3 stones he lost
during the trip by indulging in some delicious Trini food, helped by Petal and her family
who have supported him throughout his campaign.
Boat Name of the Month
I think ‘Silicon Dream’ wins the yacht category this month with ‘Dammit Janet’ and ‘Bitchen
Itchen’ tying for the small tug category.
Soon we shall leave Trinidad for Grenada…………
Christine ‘The Admiral’ Webster & Adrian ‘I can fix it’ Hartley.