Saturday, May 30, 2009

Memory Art #3 - Grenada Waterfront

Memory Art is art inspired by stories or photos from my past.
Back in the mid-1970's, when Ed and I decided to leave our work-a-day lives in Michigan and go cruising on a sailboat, one of the first things we did was read a lot of books about sailboats and the cruising life. We also started looking for a boat. There was a new Taiwanese ketch being brokered in the Detroit area that we went to see, but other than that boat, there didn't seem to be many large sailboats available in our area.
We took to reading the brokerage ads in SAIL magazine. I contacted a broker in Florida and read him our wish list. Ed had put together a shopping list of our criteria - 40-45 feet in length (comfortable size for live-aboards), used boat (cheaper), a steel hull (strength; easily repaired), ketch (two masts with smaller sail area for easier handling), and an aft cabin (best place to sleep at sea). The broker told me that he would mail us paperwork on several boats, some of which would be available in Florida and others in the Caribbean.
One day I was daydreaming about finding our sailboat and I pictured us going down to the Caribbean to see it. My fantasy boat was called "Moonbeam." When the listings arrived from the broker, I leafed through the papers, and with a total lack of appreciation for terms like L.O.A. (length overall), and the number of gallons in the fuel tank, I looked at the pictures and read the boat names. When I saw one called "Tropic Moon," I said, "Ah ha! Here's my Moonbeam!" When Ed later read through the listings, he said that there were only two boats worth following up on. One of them was Tropic Moon.
I checked back with the broker. The second boat was too expensive, and that left Tropic Moon. But the broker wasn't even sure if she were still available - she had been on the market so long. Nor could he tell me where she was located without doing some checking. When he did call back it was to say that Tropic Moon was moored in Grenada, in the southern Caribbean, and was still for sale.

After dealing with all the practical matters, like having the boat surveyed, getting copies of the blueprints from the British designer, and negotiating the sale price, we were finally ready to go down to Grenada to meet Tropic Moon. We were also down for our "sea trial" and Tan Tan (Tropic Moon's charter captain), and a friend of his, took us out. Part of the time that day was spent motoring around the beautiful harbor of St. George's, the capital of Grenada.

We knew from the survey that the steel hull needed extensive work and that the teak deck would have to be replaced. But Tropic Moon fit our criteria - 42 feet in length, steel-hulled ketch with an aft cabin. She was even reasonably cheap because of her poor condition. Ed had said that one of the reasons he wanted an older boat was so that there would be plenty of work to keep him busy. Famous last words!
While most potential boat owners spend months, or even years, looking for the right boat, aside from that Taiwanese ketch back in Detroit, Tropic Moon was the only sailboat we looked at, and the only boat we seriously considered.
Now for my memory art. I was very taken with the beautiful red-roofed buildings on the waterfront surrounding the harbor of St. George's. Using the slide above, I cropped out the part of the town showing on the right side of the picture. Here's the Photoshopped result:
Using my ink-jet printer, I printed that picture onto fabric. I made a mini art quilt with the silk fabric, and then I used magic markers and paint to intensify the colors. That, too, got cropped, and then mounted onto an 8"x10" gallery-wrapped canvas. Here's the mini-quilt before being mounted on the canvas:
We purchased Tropic Moon and moved aboard in November of 1978. The following April, while we were still in St. George's working on the boat, there was a revolution in Grenada. But then that's another story....


Rosa-Munda said...

Hi Jean,
I enjoyed your story about Tropic Moon! Love the art quilt too. Ros

Jean Baardsen said...

Thanks, Ros! I was just at your blog and enjoyed seeing Milton's Cottage. Great photos!

self taught artist said...

technology is amazing, that you can print that and make a reading about the beginnings of that adventure, i'm sure it forever changed your life.