Saturday, June 28, 2014

Update Post to June 28 2014

Hi everyone again,
First of all I forgot to mention that getting third place at Foxy's Classic came with two prizes!
1=dinner for 2 at Molly Malone's in Redhook, and 2= $250.00 us. towards a haul out at Indipendant Boat Yard St Thomas.
So as I needed to paint the bottom of GL, as had no time in St Lucia, and wanted to say hello to everybody there, I took advantage of the prize and hauled out.

Started meeting people as soon as I arrived on Chris and Evelyne's dock on Tuesday. Then 2 days later hauled the boat.

doing catchup 12 at Chris & Evelyne's

Met up with Norma again and had a Sunday breakfast date that lasted all day till 9.00pm.
Also met up with Grace and used the dinner for two prize.
Full Moon, Friday 13 2014, Next one 2049

 On my Itinerary was a trip to Cruz Bay, so after launching and spending a couple more days on Chris's dock, having a proper repair to my jib, and also 2 awnings made, I sailed round to St John. Again met people I knew. After doing a lot of laundry and a bit of shopping, Grace mentioned she was going to Culebra, I volunteered to take her as another gentle introduction to cruising again.
We left Cruz Bay 21st to the Airport at St Thomas, after a nice easy sail anchored there. Sunday we sailed to Ensenarder Honda and anchored there around 3.30pm.
A few views of Culebra

So after Celebrating a local custom 23 June, that everyone on the island takes part in, this at Midnight on Monday Night, which entailed jumping backwards into the sea 7 times. If completed all your sins for the past year are washed away.
We left on Tuesday morning and had a glorious days sail back to the airport.
Grace at the tiller 1

Grace at the tiller 2
We tried to sail back to Cruz Bay Wednesday morning but wind was a bit viscous, so ended up at Water Island Honeymoon Bay. A few views of it follow.
my boat in the background

and of course one view from the bar
So all up to date, next post 14 could be from St Lucia, my next stop to pick up some equipment, before I go to Carriacou.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Update post 12 to 2nd June 2014

Hi  again,
Now in yet another shipyard I had to find out what happened on that 3rd race. My first concern was the engine of course, it had already been playing up since the launch, stopping when least expected, and  now this terrid noise. I had a small leak on the seawater pump too. So to cut a 2 week long story short this is what I found,
1) Noise was because transmission coupling had come loose and slid off the splined drive shaft ! losing all oil from the gearbox because coupling boss is where the oil seal  fits.
2) Water pump oil seal had failed at the same time as water seal, and seawater had been getting pumped direct into engine sump and bilge!
3) Primary fuel filter was completely blocked starving engine of fuel!
Solutions applied
1) With mod. to coupling, I replaced it . At the same time I had to remove the complete and failed shaft geny I had installed. (another story) oil seal still needs to be replaced as now has a slight leak.
2) Water pump seals and bearings were ordered, received and fitted after draining and flushing the engine 4 times.
3) New fuel filters fitted.

After that lot I had to find why water had been coming in, and why I couldn't pump it out.
Extra water from eng. water pump didn't account for quantity of water, but one failed bilge pump, and one pump severely blocked with debris did, and with a slipping belt drive on engine  pump, all compounded to the disaster!      
Solutions applied
I had been so impressed with the rescue boats salvage pump performance, I purchased one of them and fitted it in with all new separate piping, the automatic float switch being set at an emergency higher level position. My normal pumps were replaced for new ones.
A new tensioning screw fitted to engine emergency pump.

I was now able to re launch GL and go round to anchor in Falmouth Harbour, which I did.
after a few days I left and went round to Jolly Harbour for shopping.  In the time scale of the above I hadn't at this time found the engine full of water or the blocked fuel filter.

Unexpected, as I left Falmouth and poked  my nose out with reef one side and evil rocks to leeward, my engine started to fail! there was a huge ocean swell running, 6 to 8 feet at least, I didn't dare to try and turn round as this channel is so narrow and now if my engine stopped I would be on the rocks in seconds!
I nursed the dying engine into clear water and ran foreward and raised the jib, wind too was extra strong like 28+ knts and there had been no warning of that either. 
I clawed my way out against the wind into deeper water for sea room, once clear I then set course for Jolly Harbour down wind. After the water got to 60mtrs the swell increased to over 10 feet! I was then surfing down them doing over 10 knts as they overtook me. All this had happened in about 15 mins from the calm and peace of Falmouth!

Then ....CRACK!..... BANG!..... what the......I turned round to see my dingy  floating  away with the front end missing and sinking!!!  Bloody Hell....what the.....I was flummoxed in total disbelief. I was now bearing down on the Old Road headland the next rocky lee shore, doing 10 knts just about every wave, I knew if I tried any stupid salvage heroics here, GL would be on those rocks!
I watched helpless as the dingy with a compromised fore buoyancy chamber and lovely reliable Yamaha engine on the back, settled down until a wave gently rolled it over upside down and pushed it that much closer inexorably towards those waiting hungry rocks!
After rounding the headland I had a lovely days sail round the coast of Antigua, with calm water inside Cade Reef, doing over 8knts with just the jib up, topped up my sun tan, but my dilemma now was, no engine, can not sail into Jolly, no dingy to get ashore, ??? what next?
Arrived at the channel entrance at 17.15hrs and tried the engine, it started! so I put it ahead and took down the jib, whilst engaged with that, the engine stalled yet again, now with no choice as to position I threw the anchor over the side to await my fate!

I  rang my friend Barry later and gave him this update as to my predicament.
My special thanks go to him and Dr Marks for arranging a temporary berth along side to fix these problems, which I did.
So after the engine flushing, oil and fuel filter changing, purchase of new geny, dingy and outboard motor, I left the dock for trials, then anchored for a few days. This then left me time for my next planned stop at St John usvi.

I left Antigua and departed for St John  USVI. I arrived safely and  I had a few days to meet up with friends, then off to Jost Van Dyke bvi on 23rd May for
the 40th 'Foxys Wooden Boat Regatta'!
This year there were 8 wooden boats taking part, check the Foxys web page for the names and pics.
We all had a magic weekend of parties and really cool racing! I won 3rd place with Karen a very nice girl from St John as my crew!
I came back to St John the following Wednesday which is were I am now, its been my first incident free holiday for quite awhile.
Next on my agenda is St Thomas, to meet up with all I got to know there.
Will keep you posted when I can.
PS You couldn't make this shit up.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Saga Continues post 11

                                  Hi to all The Saga Continues from post 10

So after re starting the engine and being really wary of it, we lifted the anchor and motored out to the anchorage and anchored GL for the night. I did go ashore for a short while, but only to let everyone know GL was here. (they all knew anyway)
Thursday 17 
Morning I went to the skippers meeting and registered GL into the regatta, I didn't enter the single handed race, or the concourse de elegance, I was a bit too tired. We found a berth and moved the boat round into the marina.
Met up with Sara ad Doug, also Barry, and met many friends from previous regattas, in the evening, all parties and festivities were attended by all, with due decorum, as was suitable for the occasion (in my dreams). The two girls were making me proud and impressing everyone, fitting and tuned in on the same wave length!
From my point of view, I was so made up to show my 1st visitors from home, just what I've been getting up too these past couple of years.
Friday 18
1st day racing, all starts at 10.00am for us
We had a great days sailing, joined by Barry and Dr Markes as well, strong winds again this year, but many boats too see, didn't see our competition though. My friends on 'Old Bob' were here again as well.
Early events and again all parties given a good dose of support, we came second in class.
Saturday 19
2nd day, Barry and Dr Markes didn't turn up, and it was beach day for the girls, so with Sara and Doug we went out for the start. Wind was somewhat stronger, and we had a blistering start! 1st over the line with the lee rail buried in the sea! after leading the whole fleet for about 2 minutes there was a loud noise and the boat started slowing down, Sara then found my outer jib had split in two!!! @**><$%! I did have a spare jib but it was buried underneath too much stuff to get out. So instead of retiring we took the jib off and while watching the fleet disappearing got the beer out and carried on slowly round the course. We had a great day! with all pressure off we had time to watch everyone else racing. As we approached the finish on the last leg, as one of the last boats, we spotted 'Old Bob' in the distance, they were on their last tack to the finish line, we still had to put one more tack in, with Doug on the tiller we gradually made up the distance, and just after I took the helm, we tacked about 400 yrds in front of them onto the same tack, as GL climbed into the wind I tried to make a double across the finish, Bang! Bang!  the gun went off as quick as you can say that!! Magic! And we again came 2nd in class.
Sunday 20
3rd day, and the 'Cannon' race,  this race is 6 miles into the Atlantic Ocean and back, Twice! it is also the race where you get to pass and see every boat racing and taking part in the classics, big as well as small. After the race is finished, a 'Parade of Sail' through English Harbour, and past an assembled audience follows. A commentator gives a brief description and history of each vessel as they pass in front of  the crowd.
Oh No
All crew were aboard for this one.
GL had been taking water while racing for some reason. When back at the dock, Nothing.
We had a good start in lots of wind, now flying my spare jib we were sailing sweet and fast, on the third leg water was coming in faster than I could pump it out? even with the engine running its bilge pump! Then in time with the engine revs a sound like a machine gun firing started? water was now over the floor level but I had to shut down the engine in case of serious damage.
A tough decision had to be made, to call out for rescue, mean time, I had the crew using a bucket help me bail the water out! After seeing that that was working, I made the call, everyone heard this call to the committee, "please can you get a salvage pump to GL ASAP! we are sinking and using a bucket to stay afloat as I speak!" "not out here though," "but after we cross the finish line please!"
Just after crossing the finish line 2nd in class again, the ABSAR rescue boat delivered a pump, and as I had no engine took me in tow to the Slipway Shipyard to haul her out right away! This meant I had to go past in the parade being rescued! shame! But as I later found out, not many people in the crowd noticed the rescue boat hidden from view on my  portside. and approx 20 mins later and with a beer, I was in that crowd applauding the boats going past! my boat high and dry in the yard!
As I was now out of the racing and in the yard,  Rowan, Maggs, Sara and Doug had to arrange accomm, so I was left to sort GL out. We did  all the parties again in the evening though.
Monday 20
A day off everything for me.
Tuesday 21
The Girls had another beach day, the rest of us did the gig racing at the Admirals Inn, and in the evening we did the prize giving, and parties.
Even though I didn't race the last day I had come 2nd in class and was on the podium to receive the prize, and this year I received from my peers aboard 'Old Bob' the Old  Bob Trophy!! Truly Magic!
And so ends the tale of Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta 2014
PS I went with the girls to the airport April 24, to see them off, bit sad to see them go, we had had such a good time.