Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Journey to Rodney Bay Episode 1

Hi everyone,
Well I've had a do with the computer again, This time all my own fault, I spilled a large cup of coffee allover the keyboard !This was just after I arrived in Rodney Bay, the result of that fiasco is I have not had use of the computer for over a month !

I left Jolly Harbour early morning with all systems working 'in the pipe, 5 by 5' it was magic, by 8am I was clearing the south coast of Antigua and in clear wind, boat was sailing beautifully at 8 1/2 knots. I had however had a leaving party the night before and once back on board had watched a movie............and fell asleep!!! The power had really gone low so I was letting the engine stay running to charge up the batteries. eventually I got fed up of the engine running and stopped the noise, and made myself a coffee, boat was now creaming along at over 9 knots..........There were two things left to do as I left, 1 to connect the Hydro Alternator up to charge batteries at sea, and 2 to re-position the engine driven bilge pump and re-install. Both these needed different size belts which I had found already.............So with coffee in hand I went into the cockpit to savor the moment so to speak, and enjoy.
As I climbed up the ladder I thought I'll just check the bilge again and to my horror the level was coming up seriously faster than it should have been, after checking the pump was indeed running and thinking what the hell is going on here, I turned all the other pumps on and pumped the bilge dry in 40 seconds. I stopped them and the water was coming in faster than I have ever seen before !!!!!! I honestly thought another plank had fell off..PANIC...I started the engine to maintain battery voltage and turned the pumps on again, I couldn't switch them off even for a minute......After checking the whole boat and throwing all my beautifully stowed equipment out all over the boat completely trashing it, I was still none the wiser as to were this water was coming from. Kneeling down staring at this level and scratching my head for a bit of inspiration I checked all the hoses new and old alike and could not see any obvious cause......suddenly the engine panel started to my initial PANIC I had forgotten to re-open the engine cooling water valve !!!! water high temp alarm had gone off....... oh my god........I stopped the engine cos I just Knew I had ruined the impeller......the pumps now were flattening the batteries, at that moment I knew I had about 5 minutes to fix it before the boat went down, thats how quick the water was coming in !! to cut a long embarrassing story, and my burnt fingers, I managed to remove the totaled impeller and had the new one installed with engine restarted in less than 4 minutes !!!!.........So I am Kneeling down again staring at the water, again seeking inspiration, it was then I noticed through the brand new clear bilge hose of the salvage pump (biggest hose I have) a tiny bubble traveling from aft discharge overboard to the pump, it was siphoning from the sea though a 2 inch hose into the boat at approx 2500 galls and hour yes 2500 !!!!! The none return check valve had stuck open !!!! rushing aft and shutting the valve stopped the water coming in, all pumps were switched off for a bit, and yes water took almost 2-1/2 hours to activate the pump PANIC OVER, of course during all of this 'Fred' didn't bat an eyelid and had kept the boat on course doing well over 9 knots !!! so I made a cup of coffee and as I climbed out of the ruined cabin into the trashed cockpit  (no steps) I tried to savor the moment once again.
There is another Panic sinking situation that happened on this trip to Rodney Bay, even more embarrassing than that one still to tell.............
More Later

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