Saturday, June 19, 2010

Story Part 2

Hi again everyone,
So part 2 of the story.
The Captain of 'Cool Express' told me he had been diverted as the closest vessel to my position, and he had been searching for me since 0900hrs local time! He asked me my distress situation and I told him I had not actually called a distress, it was done by concerned friends, He asked what help I required, I replied 20+Ltrs of petrol, they only carry a small amount for their rescue boat but the Engineer said I could have 2Lts, we decided it was not worth the risks involved transferring such a small amount.
He then offered me passage on board his ship, abandoning GL! well I couldn't do that, so said no to that offer. He then went through the protocol required, asking many questions and relaying these back to the RCC Norfolk, who then advised me to send position reports daily, and should the worst happen I was to use my Epirb to send a distress. We had a good talk together, he was very friendly, and we parted company at about 1800hrs.

Again on my own I went over and over which way I should go, a thousand miles back, or one and a half thousand miles to 'Horta' forward. Such a hard decision, but ended up choosing back. As I know a lot of people in St Lucia, I set course. The weather next day was much improved, the wind on the beam, Gl was up to 6knts again, sun was out so 6knts + sun Batteries were now getting charged. I was maintaining 12.3volts with only a 2hr charge daily from genset. All going well, I was treated to a sperm whale diving down with the classic tail flukes going vertical up in the air.
GL had been taking a bashing, everything inside soaking wet, stupid laptop was now giving me 220v electric shocks when sending messages, I found a nut and washer from the mast on deck, this is holding one of the spreaders on! then another bit fell off, all worrying stuff, I ran out of water and had to use water-maker, using precious petrol, then with only 300 miles to go the wind died. The sails were flapping about and GL was going nowhere, I pulled the sheets in, and then went to bed for a good 6hrs kip, there was nothing I could do even if a ship did come close. I awoke about 5am with GL rolling around and a big banging going on, but still no wind, I came out of the cabin to see 'Fred' jumping 12" into the air and crashing down, again and again, looking over the stern I spotted the fitting holding 'Fred' up was no longer attached to the boat! Oh No!
Part 3 next

Monday, June 14, 2010

Story Part One

Well hello everyone at last,
Were do I begin? ok, lovely sunny evening sailing away from Antigua, a lightish wind so did the Reflections Blog post.....Just finished that and on the far distant horizon, a very dark ominous cloud, heralding a storm cell arrived 1915hrs just as it went dark..Thunder lightening 40+knts and the most torrential downpour experienced yet. This went on for nearly 3hrs, after it had passed there were storm cells all around me with thunder and lightening, and the rest of the night I was going through one after another! No sunrise the next day, and actually no sun for the next 9 days. So much for the forecast, as none of this had been predicted. The wind was zero knts except when a cloud passed by, the boat inside was soaked. The next evening I started to do the blog, I had reopened the foreward hatch and cabin skylight to let some air in when whoosh it rained again, so heavy this rain out here, well by the time I got back in the cabin, water had filled the keyboard on my laptop and that was the end of that!
This is only day 2 but I had already traveled over 150 Nm.
As the voyage progressed and sailing hard on the wind, GL was hammering into the large seas day after day, but only making about 3 to 4 knts, as there was no sun for solar cells and 3-4 knts isn't enough for water geny to charge the batteries, and they were starting to get low. So day 7 I deployed the petrol geny and immediately blew up my 220v shore supply charger, due to water ingress, so used the 12v output from the geny instead. Then I couldn't understand why they wern't charging quickly, something else was taking power, I checked all the systems and found the bilge pump running continuously, water was pouring into the collecting sump like a river! Panic, all the floors came up + saloon table as I searched for the leak, I was led to the chain locker, so the spare anchor, ballast came out, and all the anchor chain, there just below water were two enormous water spouts that spurted every time the boat hit a wave, whoo, so tried to fix and not very successful. This was serious, I had to sit down and review my options, so I had a good think about it. Fellow travelers 'Aleria'(closest) and 'Tatuhla' were ahead of me and reporting weather conditions even worse to come, poor Sue and Andy on 'Spruce' had been heaved too in a gale for 2 days towards Bermuda. Ok, I would tell everyone what was happening, and have the next day trying my best to reduce the flow to a manageable level. All next day from 5 in the morning I spent getting covered in sikaflex ramming cloth into the seams and sealing them up, and by 3 in the afternoon the pump was stopping for over 2 minutes, with only 40 seconds of run time. After doing the sums on power consumption and petrol left, distance to go, and weather prediction, I came to realize I would not make it too Horta, even though I had already done 1000 Nm!. So I tuned the boat round and set course for St Lucia. After cleaning myself up a bit, well enough to use the computer, I sat down to let everyone know. As my sat comms relays any emergency messages issued for the Atlantic to me, as it powered up a emergency call was recieved, I GL had issued a distress call! and a boat had been diverted to attend. Oh heck, they requested information which I responded too, taking forever to assemble the msg (copy paste is not quick) and pressed the send button, this was now 5pm, then suddenly a ships horn blew behind me, I jumped out the cabin like a rocket and there was the 'Cool Express' who had been searching for me since 9 am.
Part 2 Later
Things to do

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Roy's arrival in St Lucia

Photos courtesy of Danielle of the St Lucia Yacht Club

Friday, June 4, 2010

Change of course to St Lucia

Guiding Light changed course on Thursday June 3rd, Roy's new destination is St Lucia. Roy is still unable to update the blog himself. Daily map position updates have resumed.
Latest Update: Roy is due to arrive St Lucia soon, but is making slow progress due to a large Easterly swell. He reports he should be pulling into Rodney Bay and drop anchor Saturday 12/6/10 in the am/pm
Guiding Light Position Map