Philipsburg

5th February 23rd February 2020

Here mostly because Technodrive’s agents in the USVIs recommended the boatyard as somewhere we could reliably get the saildrives fixed. It is also excellent for big ship spotting (but not downwind of said “smelly monsters” as the kids call them). There’s a cruise ship dock which had four ships on it the day we arrived, as well as commercial port and several barges/tugs/other things anchored slightly out from us.

We tied up against the outside of the boat-hoist slip. I won’t call it a berth, as that’d be stretching things, although once it became clear we needed to stay for a few days the manager at the boatyard explained we’d have to go and register at the marina and pay full-rate anyway – and it was not like we could move without a tow, far too tight for one-engine or sailing out. So, marina-bound for a week we were. Not the worst of places to be stuck, especially as we were right next to an excellent building site where they were expanding the boatyard – the kids sat out eating lunch watching the cranes and diggers most days, and took evening “tours” to see what the machines had been up to. But, not cheap considering.

Thankfully it was just the bolts that were broken, although the dampener that connects the engine to the saildrive had severely degraded rubber, so we had to wait around for that to be delivered (thanks to a supplier an island over who has an employee who lives on this island who met Charlotte and the boys to deliver the part). All back together and working fine now. I think the dampener had been degraded for some time, and suspect the one on the other side is similar from the relative vibration. We’ll replace that ourselves “at some point” as we know the process now and it was easy enough.

Town itself was fine. Geared towards tourists of the cruise ship variety. We got offered local prices by e.g. the submarine tour guys (I think we look too scrubby to be from a cruise ship). The ice cream shop on the front has a playground outside, mostly constructed from bits and pieces from the owners’ parents’ home which was destroyed by a hurricane, along with some rope donated by cruisers and other bits. Great playground 😊, met lots of locals there and the kids got a bit too at home but all’s good and Arthur didn’t quite get banned for walking along the edges of things (quite).

Check-in/out involved wandering around to the commercial dock and asking around to find the right door to enter. Once you found the right window it was a quick and efficient process.