Helping the Neighbors

Written by Pieter Jan on Jun 15, 2020 — 2 min read

At: Hog Island, Grenada

On one of our trips over to the Hog Island beach, we noticed a boat tied to the mangrove had sunk. It half capsized and its mast was now resting on three other boats. When we came back, we saw two people climbing around the wreck. I dinghied over.

“Hello there, do you need some help?”

“Ow yes please. We’re going to try to right her tomorrow.”

“Alright, I’ll drop by tomorrow morning.”

The boat had been left there for a long time and the steel hull had finally rusted through. In its fall, the mast had destroyed the forestay and ripped out the pulpit of the small boat next to it. Luckily, the small boat has been abandoned too. But the two boats next to it weren’t, so they wanted to get the mast away from the other boat’s stays as soon as possible, before they would get damaged by the tilted mast in strong winds.

Something's amiss here
Something's amiss here

Nikola, an old Austrian sailor, who has been on the water for over 50 years, watches over the boats in the mangrove while the owners are away. Gilmore, a young South-African adventurer, also has a boat in the mangrove and helps out Nikola.

When I arrived the next morning, they had tied a rope around the mast of the sunken boat and attached a heavy metal cable to the rope.

A cable tied to the mast
A cable tied to the mast
Gilmore resets one of the chain hoists
Gilmore resets one of the chain hoists

We set up a system of two chain hoists tied to a strong-enough looking tree in the nearby woods.

Over the course of three days, after some creative solutions and a few liters of sweat, we managed to get the wreck freed and safely leaning to the other side. Great success!

That's better
That's better

Nikola thanked me with a free meal, but really, I enjoyed the work and just getting to know new people. He hopes to sell the mast and the engine scrap metal for a few thousand dollars, so I guess it’s a win-win.