Fabulous 24 Hour Sail from St. Barts...
06 December 2008 | Ordinance Bay, English Harbor, Antigua
When we left St. Barts, we were so exhilarated! Everything, the wind, the fluffy angelic clouds, the fireworks sent off in our honor last night... NOT...just kidding, WAS PERFECT. It looks like we are going to do some sailing! You can never have too much of that! Excellent!!!!
How long, we don't know, but seas are looking mild with 4-6 footers on a beam and the wind was reaching us to our first waypoint, 100 nm away! It's a spot on the west coast of Antuiga called 5 Islands... a bit too high to start with, just a constant reminder as always to stay high on the mark til ya get there! If you can!
What a gorgeous sunset, a phenominal sail, all night long! About l0-15 superb hours of sailing. Well there you have it...that's it...Finito!!! Kaput!!!! No Mas!!! If it could go wrong, it probably did and here it is:
We are always thrilled to be sailing, but we were extra happy about it for this leg because we have a leak from the fuel pump or an injector! The chart plotter beeped at us or stuck it's tongue out every five minutes, how annoying. Resetting, finding the satelittes, etc., like I said, annoying! At about the time we could see Antigua thru the sunrise, it was time to wake my honey up for his watch! "I'm sleepy, and it's your watch"!
I'm still sleepy when I bounded down the steps and splashed in water! "We're Sinking"!That's not a pleasant thought...ever! I'm looking at stuff floating, the printer, stereo, some books, the coin can....coins everywhere....and I immediately reached down to that squishy carpet and tasted it! YES, it's fresh! Thank God! A cruiser's worst nightmare...you hit something, there's a big bad whole in the boat, something hit us! It's bad that it's our drinking water, at least 25 or 30 gallons of it, depending on which one blew--good that it's not salt and our 'home' is not sinking! Yep, hate that word.
That's not it, of course! We are really stuck in that current between Antigua and Monsterrat and we decide to crank up the engine....yes, the sail is over! We needed a tow! Seriously though, the current and wind on the nose joined forces to make sure we got a good shot of the south coast, going nowhere! Four hours of staring at that same spot on the foggy coast! The alternator is screaming at us! It's probably the belt more than liklely, and that happened coincidentally at the same the auto pilot went on hold, or sneezed or said "Piss Off"!
Just at about that time, I'm steering, my amazing captain is down below trying to tighten the belt and the weather decides to squally as all get out now with the wind coming from all directions taking the sun with it! We would love to brave it right into a close haul, screw the seas, we've seen worse! We are going to pull down the sails and motor into everything and just get there! We probably stared at Monsterrat going on nine hours now, and yes, we want to go check out that volcano ....some other time, not today! Dudley went up to the bow to see what's buggering up the roller furling when he noticed the anchor chain hanging overboard off the starboard side of Altair! No way! Way!!!! He managed to retrieve all the rode and chain but not before it took out some of the toe rail; the hull... can't really tell (it's pretty bad to begin with); but the new bottom job is toast for sure! It looks bad for a good long stretch near our water line on that side! Bugger!
As if that's not enough, we have two new salt water leaks! Of course, one is over the storm berth (could be chain plate area, probably not that, too easy right?) and the other is over the galley (the dodger should prevent that, oh.... yeah... it's a boat). We're afraid to look! Higher priority first!
We're going to have a lot of work to do. We've now gotta get another slip, pull that carpet! Get a mechanic for the alternator, fuel pump, exhaust elbow, injector leaks, ordering re- placement water bladders, two now! Yeiks!
You know we'll keep you posted and it sure is beautiful here!