Monday, June 27, 2011

Repairs Required

This post today is a bit delayed and was supposed to be imparting good news all round, circumstances however have seriously modified the tone, and I have some sad bad news instead. I have even been a bit reluctant to even blog a post in the first place.
Well dear friends the story begins.
After a couple of really enjoyable weeks in Coral Bay, I finally got a good weather window for my planned next adventure. I have been gradually storing up the boat for an extended journey, and as the opertunity to cross the Atlantic this year has not arrived, and as I would still have to go a long way north before I could cross, I made the decision to go up to Block Island RI USA. There are many reasons for that but will talk about it in another post.
To this end then I have been sorting out the boat, mechanicaly, electricaly, maintanence, you name it I have been there.
So after letting all the very good friends here know of my impending departure, and with the intention of suprising everyone who reads the blog today, the last plans were put in place. I have borrowed all the charts I need from Chis aboard 'Principito' and on Saturday night a small party to say goodbye was impromptuly organised. I had a very good time, with a bit of sadness thrown in as well. I was all set to leave, all stored up and route planned.
So early yesterday morning, and after double checking nothing had changed in the forecast I left the mooring. I then went to Water Creek in Hurricane hole, this was to put the dingy aboard and make sure all was lashed down and safe. I then hoisted sail and sailed out of Coral Bay, passing the Shipwreck bar at about 1000hrs. I went south about St John past Cruz bay and out through the middle passage. It was good sailing and as I drew level with Jost Van Dyke I set the waypoint in, this showed 1404 Nm to go to Block Island.
Dajavue, the very same thing happened as I started to leave the Virgins as happened last year leaving Antigua. This time a little earlier at about 1400hrs, a big thunder storm cell bore down on me from the east, wind went from the forecasted 15knts to well over 26-27 with strong gusts, wind backing into the NE from East. It was over soon enough but then another one did the same thing.
The boat was under a lot of strain and even with all sheets eased out the boat was flying along at 8knts, not what I wanted and nothing of this had been forecasted. As dusk aproached I was over 55Nm from the Virgins and they had disapeared into the mists of distance. Then another TS bore down, huge, this one traveling very slow, it caught me about 2000hrs and stayed, not going away. Winds were not as fierce but well over 25knts, lots of lightning, with scary bolts of it hitting the sea all around. With GL on a beam reach she was creaming along, I was checking everything I could think of hoping nothing would fail. Well in steps the dreaded Murphy, and yes folks with the wind now a high F6, at 0300hrs the starboard rudder support struts aluminum casting snapped in half at deck level, it then dropped down into the sea. Hanging on the bottom fitting, 'Fred' with now only one support left, was climbing out of the water, pivoting on the bracket like an aries wind vane does. My home made frame was twisting alarmingly, the mountings stainless steel bending so much I didn't really want to watch. Stange thing was Fred was still steering the boat? Well I knew I had to stop that, but now the wooden cross braces had ripped out the screws of the frame, and I didn't fancy standing on it anymore. With the boat bouncing around like a spring lamb, and re-peating to myself two hands for you, two legs for you, two feet for you, teeth for Fred, I balaned on the bumpkin, I managed to get the locking pin in the vane, it took another 3 or 4 goes to get the pin in the rudder, and the same to remove the vane itself, I was of course heaved too during this irisponsible action. The twisting of the frame although not completly stopped, had reduced to the point were I felt I had time to concider what to do next, so I waited till dawn, with millions of possible solutions going through my head. I had a doze then as all my energy, mental as well had been used up.
Dawn arrived 0445hrs.
Whilst going through the options I realised the rudder had to come off, or, at least out of the water, I was still heaved too. The first of these was impossible as I couldn't reach the locking pin, second one seemed more plusable, so I jury rigged 2 rope purchases around the top of Fred, then I undid the port strut and pushed it down to be the same as the broken one, and after transfering the main sheets to the cleats, I used both winches and winched down Fred to the bumpkin. This has lifted the rudder clear of the sea and all strain on the hull fitting has stopped, also the twisting frame is now quiet again, time now 0630hrs. WHEW!. Of course Murphy hadn't finished with me yet. 0700hrs I went back on course to see if GL would sail herself, whilst I was furkling around doing that I noticed the battery voltage was down to only 9volts?? It didn't take me long to find the reason, the seam so recently repaired in Antigua had water pouring into the boat again? as of this minute I don't know why it is doing that, maybe I didn't do a good enough job on it. but all that aside I was and am faced with a difficult decision again. DO I GO BACK TO THE VIRGINS!
Well yes I do.
With only 150Nm completed with another 1320Nm to go, no self steering, water pouring in yet again, yes. So I have turned the boat round, then the leak stopped? I am close hauled in 20+Knts of wind doing only 3 to 4.5knts and getting chucked about like a cork. So it will take some time. Present Position: 19,27.89N , 65,10.14W. Speed: 4 knots, Course: 167 deg. Local Time: 27. June 2011 17:16. I am in no danger, boat is sailing fine, and hasn't really noticed these goings on at all.
Please read with the intended humour.

1 comment:

  1. Glad you still have your sense of humour, it still sounds worrying, please keep us all posted Roy, love, Carolyn