05/21/2013, On Passage from Barbados to Puerto Rico
We sailed from Carlisle Bay to Port St Charles this morning and went through the check out process at PSC. They charged us a $100 barbados ($50 US) Port fee. There was no charge for immigration and customs.
There is a wooden dock to tie up to in PSC for yachts clearing in or out and it is close enough to the fuel dock that we were able to run a hose over to the boat and take on diesel. The tank accepted 280 liters which means that the tank is significantly smaller than the manufacturer says. I need to calculate and see if that accounts for all the error involved in our running out of diesel on our way to Barbados
Checking out was easy but there were no customs people in the office. I think they deal with so few boats in this port that the people who work there keep irregular hours regardless of the posted hours. There was a person manning the agriculture desk, the health desk and the immigration desk. The dockmaster takes care of the port charges.
The immigration guy called customs and got permission to process our customs paperwork so we were able to get on our way.
Before we left Shawn ran into the little village area near the port and bought us some good lamb curry for lunch. That included the ubiquitous macaroni and cheese pie (just baked mac and cheese) There was a little restaurant near the office for the port but they wanted $10 US for a hamburger and more if you wanted fries.
While Shawn was off at the food wagons I managed to get on line through a wifi system that must have been in one of the houses on shore. Almost always when the name of the router is the same as the name of the manufacturer it was installed by someone who just took it out of the box and started using it without bothering to set up the security options. If a router says Linksys or Belkin it is almost always available for anyone to use. I managed to get an email off to mom and download a fresh grib file that said our weather should be excellent all the way to San Juan.
We managed to get away from the dock around 1:30. There was a lot of surge in the little harbor today and we were worried about getting away from the dock as the wind was blowing us onto the dock. But we gunned the engine and Shawn pushed us off the dock and we were free. It was a much cleaner escape than I expected.
We are now sailing toward the St Lucia Channel between St Lucia and Martinique we should be on the leeward side of the islands around dawn tomorrow. We are averaging well over 6 kts wing and wing with 1 reef in the main. Our current ETA at San Juan is Saturday morning. The total distance to San Juan is 504 miles.
Its overcast and rainy and I think that is what we can expect on our way to San Juan. But there is supposed to be plenty of wind and moderate seas. With our pilot house the rain is not a big deal.
We spent some time today getting the boat ready to go.
We had originally planned to go into town for some last minute shopping for fresh provisions but the outboard would to run properly when we were ready to go. I think the float in the carburetor is stuck because when the engine runs gas pours out of an overflow hole at the top of the carburetor.
We did not need to go into town so bad that I wanted to take the carburetor apart in the rainy weather we are having so we just put the engine on the stern rail and put the dingy in its sea going position upside down on the foredeck. One nice thing about having the dingy over the forward hatch is that we can hoist it up a little and open the hatch under the dingy and get some ventilation even if it is raining.
We will get started early tomorrow morning and head up to Port St Charles to check out and get fuel. We hope to be on our by before noon.
We are expecting about a 4 day passage with the winds that are forecasted and the clean bottom which should help our speed quite a bit.
We managed to get a slip at the Club Nautico in San Juan. It is right on the edge of old town so we should be able to see a lot of the sights without a car.
We went ahead and reserved our slip for a month because after 9 days the full month rental fee is less than week to week or day to day.
An entire month in the Club Nautico is only $535 which is about what a week cost us in Cairns Australia a couple years ago.
Ill start daily blog posts and posting position reports once we get on our way tomorrow.
05/19/2013, Carlisle Bay, Barbados
I had hoped we were getting to the end of the process of discovering the problems related to manufacturers short cuts on this boat but last night we had an electrical problem that ended up being very easy to fix but was entirely the result of Tayana using the inappropriate type of connector in place where wiring is likely to get wet.
Shawn made a great clam pizza but had problems with the oven going out during the cooking process. He finally got it cooked just as the oven quit and would not relight.
The burners would not light either so it was obviously a gas supply problem.
I turned on the gas to the barbeque and it was flowing fine. I could not detect any clicking in the solenoid valve that turns the gas on and off at the tank so I assumed the solenoid was shot. Its been over 10 years and hundreds of hours of cooking so it would not surprise me to have it fail and I have carried a spare most of the way around the world for just such an occasion.
the solenoid valve is an electrically operated valve that only allows gas through to the stove when we turn on a switch near the stove. When the stove is not in use the solenoid valve keeps any gas from flowing into the line to the stove. This prevents explosive propane gas from building up in the bilge if we develop a lead in the delivery line.
This morning I got out my meter to make sure it was not a problem in the supply of power to the solenoid and when I grabbed the wires to test them I found they were very hot at the crimped connections.
Once I cut off the connectors and stripped some fresh and cut off the corroded wire I stripped some fresh wire and twisted the wires together. It worked fine.
The photo at the top of this blog entry shows the connectors that the builder used for these wires. There are connectors available that can be heat sealed onto the wires to prevent the entry of water. That is what I replaced the connectors with but what Tayana used were not sealed connectors and years of sea water had gotten into the connectors and corroded the wires to the point that they would not pass enough current to operate the solenoid valve.
the photo at the top of this blog entry shows the two connectors I clipped off the wires. You can see the green color of the corroded copper wires.
I wonder how many amp hours of power we wasted through these poorly conducting connections before it got so bad that the solenoid would not operate.
We have had quite a few problems out of this boat over the years but the electrical system has been pretty dependable. This bit of shoddy workmanship came as a bit of a surprise but it was sure easier to fix the connections than it would have been to replace the solenoid.
At least we were lucky that the pizza was cooked before the connections failed completely.